Hailing from Sicily, this lasagna bread, also known as Scaccia Ragusana, is layered with sauce, cheese, herbs and even eggplant. We’re in love with it and you will be too.
In the Sicilian hilltop town of Ragusa, among the Baroque buildings, churches, and other UNESCO World Heritage landmarks, one of the highlights of any visit is a ubiquitous street food known as scaccia.
Scaccia is perhaps best described as a cross between a calzone and lasagna—a stuffed bread full of thin layers of dough. When scaccia emerges from the oven, the outermost layer is completely crispy, nicely browned, and charred in spots, yet the inner layers have a tender, noodle-like texture to them from the absorption of moisture from the tomato sauce and cheese. So, you get the best of both worlds, the crispy (and, according to some, the best) parts of lasagna and the al dente-ness of properly cooked pasta (hence the term “lasagna bread”).
The noodle-like consistency comes as the result of the combination of durum semolina and water. I’ve come across recipes for scaccia that substitute 00 flour, a type of soft wheat with a high protein/gluten content, for some of the semolina.
As with many Italian dishes and many street foods, scaccia has an inherent rusticity to it. The beauty of this is that when you’re rolling out the dough, you don’t have to be overly concerned if it’s not the perfect shape or size. You want the layers fairly thin, and from there it’s just a matter of layering the fillings, folding, and repeating.
When choosing a filling, your options are endless. Typical fillings range from a straightforward combination of tomato sauce, garlic, basil, and cheese to fresh ricotta with onions, sausage, tomatoes. My favorite (so far) is pan-fried eggplant with fresh ricotta, grated Parmesan, and basil. The flavors remind me of an eggplant Parmesan, but instead of breaded eggplant, the eggplant is encased in layers of “noodles.”
As for baking, a pizza/baking stone is ideal, as it retains heat and, to an extent, mimics a wood-burning oven. A stone absorbs and radiates intense heat to create a flavorful, crispy crust.
No matter how it looks when it comes out of the oven, your Lasagna Bread will be a delicious carb fest. It’s best eaten hot out of the oven.
I like my Lasagna Bread on the saucy side, so I scaled up the amount of sauce. Any leftover sauce is ideal for dunking the scaccia. I divided the dough in half and made one version with tomato, basil and cheese, and a second version with tomato, pan-fried eggplant, fresh ricotta, grated Parmesan, and basil. Use this as a guide, but definitely feel free to swap in your favorite fillings.
Linda Schneider is the blogger behind Wild Greens and Sardines, an homage to her love for all things food and [Mediterranean] travel. What she enjoys most is seasonal, farm-to-table recipes that highlight local ingredients, farmers, and food artisans. She loves going to local farmers’ markets, seeing what’s in season, and sharing recipes with others.