I had a great post ready for today. Something wonderful, but it will have to wait, because I realised this morning, after dropping my son off at school and noticing that there is a weed almost as tall as me in the front garden that I have been incredibly self indulgent and lazy.
I get focused on minutae. Having a clean bench, scacciata made weekly so my husband feels loved, a painting on the go, clean clothes, a updated blog……
In the meantime I havn’t had a proper haircut for m-o-n-t-h-s, I am due for a vitamin B shot – which is why I am sooo tired lately, and our garden has run to absolute ruin through a combination of not watering in the drought and summer rain. Things have died, left space for weeds to take hold, and when the rain came it was party time. You know – I didn’t even notice, I just thought the front looked nicer a bit green, even if it was covered by a horizontally spreading weed…..
So, I am resolved to spending a bit of heavy duty time in the garden for the next week or so, to exorcise some demons and hopefully the neighbours will start talking to me again.
In the meantime here is my recipe for scacciata in true sicilian style.
First you need to make the dough.
- 2 cups wholemeal flour
- 2 cups plain white flour (4 cups if you don’t have wholemeal flour in the cupboard)
- 1 potato cooked, and mashed
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 + 1/3 warm water
- 1 packet (tandaco) instant yeast (7g)
- big pinch of salt
- decent slosh of olive oil (2 tablespoons?)
Dissolve sugar into warm water, stir in instant yeast and leave for 10 minutes until the top of the bowl is covered with foamy yeast.
Put flours, potato, salt, olive oil in a BIG mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the prepared water/yeast mix. Stir, then get stuck in with your hands, and knead until a springy dough is formed (about 10 minutes). At some point once it is coming together, put it on the bench and you’ll find the kneading easier. The dough should feel firm and elastic but soft. It took me a few tries to get this part right, but once you do – it’s yours for life.
Splash some olive oil in the empty bowl and run it around with your hands until the bowl is well coated. Toss your ball of dough in, cover with cling film and put in a warm spot to rise. Sometimes I put it outsidein the sun, sometimes near the heater. My sister in law makes the dough in the morning, wraps the bowl up in a blanket and puts it in her bed.
The dough will rise to 3 times its original size depending on how well the yeast activated. Speed of rising will also be affected by the warmth of the spot you have chosen. It takes 45 mins – 1 hour for me most times.
Step 2 – Filling it.
In the Giacobello family, the filling of choice is broccoli, spring onion, parmesan cheese, and marinated olives (lots of chilli). Another good filling is tomato and onions (cooked together until soft), cheese, salt and pepper and sliced cooked potato. Experiment and find your own great version.
Divide dough into 2 balls.
Roll one ball into a long rectangle and place on baking tray.
For the filling you’ll need:
- 1 large head of broccoli cut into florets
- 5 spring onions chopped
- big handful of pitted, marinated olives
- big handful of parmesan cheese, cut into small chunks
- salt and pepper
- BIG sploshes of olive oil (my husband loves his olive oil……..)
Distribute all of the above over the rectangle – leaving a border around the edge. Salt and papper to taste. Splash olive oil over.
Roll remaining dough into a large rectangle, lay over the top of your base and filling, and press around the edges to seal. Lately I’m bringing the bottom edge over the top of the top edge by rolling and tucking it, and it works a treat.
Using a sharp knife, puncture the top in lots of places to let steam escape as it cooks.
Cook in a low to moderate oven (I set mine at 150 c) for about an hour, depending on the thickness of your final creation. It is done when you are able to lift it (or slide something under it), and you will see the bottom is cooked in the middle.
You can eat this hot from the oven and it is fantastic, but we tend to cut it into 6 portions, and package them up to be eaten cold for lunch for the week.
Scacciata is a sicilain dialect word that means slipper…. Go figure. 🙂