a A few summers ago, on our way back from a morning on the beach in southern Sicily, we stopped in to get pizza for lunch. I remember this for several reasons. Because when I got out of the car, the Y strap ripped off from the bottom of my blue slipper – a little thing with a massive impact. Because while I was waiting in front of the pizza cabinet, still thinking about my feet, a tray of just-baked pasties was pulled out and placed on a box by the door to cool. But I remember it mostly because as we drove home and pulled one in half so we could share, a few greens and cheese fell into my lap. And despite the talc and stain remover, it left a faint but not-to-miss stain on the useful dress. A greasy souvenir from Sicily.
Small members of a wide family of stuffed bread can be found throughout southern Italy: hot bread wrapped around a soft, delicious filling. In addition to cheese and vegetables, there was sausage and broccoli that day and a slightly larger version filled with tomatoes and olives. During the same trip we will return to the same place, Le Signorine Spasciamaronna (so named because her brother who owns the shop next door also removes the Madonna for the annual parade aka Spaciamarona). We often bought singles, sometimes a large filled pancake to share, or deep-fried Sicilian pizza slices with anchovies, tomatoes and breadcrumbs. Then, with a car full of sand, we brought the recipe home and made your own.
The baking portion of the recipe is similar to the focaccia and similarly appropriate. I suggest the regular and strong flour, but feel free to substitute the semolina flour for some if you’d like. While I’m superstitious about activating both dry and fresh yeast by first mixing it with some water, flour and some sugar, I was told this was not necessary at all, so I left it out of this recipe. The key is to evaporate (or discard) all of the liquid as the greens wilt.
However, the most important rule of the recipe is to make the filling as tasty as possible: taste, taste again and savor with enthusiasm, adding as much chili, cheese, capers or sausage pieces as you like. Serve and eat while the stuffed bread moon is still warm with a cold beer and bag of chips.
Sicilian bread stuffed with vegetables and cheese
Prepare 25 minutes
rest/stand 2 hours
cook 20 minutes
200 grams plain flour
200g strong bread flour
1 tonsp (7g) Fast Action Dry Yeast (or 15g fresh)
10J good salt
Extra virgin olive oil
12 green onionsTrimmed and roughly chopped
800 grams of mixed vegetables Spinach, Swiss chard, escarole, borage
100J Pitted olives
50grams of parmesan cheesegrated
1 eggto be beaten
Put the flour, yeast and salt in a bowl and mix together. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 300 ml of warm water. Dip one hand and use it like a dough hook in the food processor until the flour is completely combined. Dab the mixture into a shaggy mass, cover and leave for 15 minutes. Don’t worry if the dough feels sticky – it will turn out fine.
Rub a work surface with olive oil and spread the dough on it. Roll out the dough a little, then fold the dough from the sides towards the middle. Do this a few times, then cover the upside-down bowl and let it rest for 15 minutes. Repeat the folding, then return the dough to the bowl and leave in a warm place for 1 hour, until doubled in size.
In a large skillet, saute scallions in olive oil until softened, then add vegetables, a little at a time if necessary, and saute until softened. Press with a spoon to release the water and allow it to evaporate. Put them in a bowl, cut them with scissors, then add a little oil, red pepper, olives and cheese.
Cut the dough into 80gm and roll it out in plate-size circles on a floured surface. Place a plum-sized amount of greens in the center of each leaf, fold into crescents and pinch. Transfer the mixture to a baking tray lined with parchment paper, leave to rest for another 30 minutes, then brush with eggs and bake for 20 minutes.