Broccoli Scacciata is a rustic Sicilian savory pie made with a super thin pizza dough that is filled with broccoli, onions, tomatoes, and olives. It bakes up to have the most crispy and delicious crust. Perfect for lunch, dinner, or even a snack!
This delicious Sicilian recipe is meat free for the vegetarians (and vegans…no dairy + no cheese!).
A Sicilian Scacciata is also known as a “scaccia” or even as a “schiacciata”. The filling can vary from broccoli or cauliflower, sausage and potatoes, or cheese, tomatoes, and eggplant. Here is my Sicilian Scacciata with Cauliflower (also, simply delicious!).
They’re very popular in Sicily during the holidays, but a scacciata can be enjoyed any time of the year.
It could even be baked in the shape of a calzone, but this version is baked as a giant pie the size of a large baking sheet. Scacciata means to flatten or to squashed. Sicilians call it a scacciata, and in Italian, “schiacciata” means to flatten or to crush.
You could even come across it being called a “mpanata” or even a “scaccia”.
What are the origins of a Sicilian scacciata?
A Scacciata originates in Catania, Sicily (which is about 2 hours from my dad’s hometown) and it has a long history.
It goes way back to around the 17th century and the House of Paternò Castello. The humble scacciata was put together as a peasant meal, filled with whatever ingredients were on hand or even leftovers.
So the legend goes that in 1763, Prince of Paternò asked his cooks to make a scacciata for a Christmas meal. And the story goes that since then, it is found all over Sicilian bakeries during the holidays.
Like with any Italian recipe, the ingredients could vary from town to town, even from family to family.
Why this recipe works:
- The recipe comes together with a simple pizza dough recipe. You could use the dough for so many other recipes! It truly is a no-fuss dough.
- You brush the crust with olive oil before baking, which makes the crust so nice and crispy. It’s truly addictive!
- Fill it with broccoli or cauliflower. Use whatever olives you love (even spicy olives would be great!). Add cheese if you like it cheesy!
How to fill a traditional Sicilian scacciata?
If you happen to be in Sicily (lucky you!), you’ll find a scacciata typically filled with anchovies, tuma cheese, olives, and then broccoli or cauliflower (typically purple cauliflower, which in Sicilian dialect is called “u bastardu”).
The Sicilian purple cauliflower grows at the base of Mt. Etna and has a different flavor than other cauliflower or broccoli. The volcanic ash in the soil is what gives it a distinct flavor.
Scacciata’s in America
I’ve researched scacciata’s in the States, and I discovered they’re pretty famous in Middletown, Connecticut. They are baked for Christmas and Easter.
The recipe was brought to Middletown when the immigrants passed through Ellis Island in the early 1900’s.
The story goes that four Sicilian families that settled in Middletown brought over the recipe from the Catania region of Sicily. The scacciata’s that are famous in Middletown are made with pizza dough that is wrapped around spinach or garlicky broccoli, sausage, potato, and topped with mozzarella.
Sicilian Food Memories
It’s been 9 years since my Sicilian dad passed. He just loved to cook and even was quite the pizza chef (my parents even owned a pizzeria when I was a kid)! He used to make different scacciata’s and other amazing creations. He and my mom were always busy in the kitchen, and especially during the holidays.
When he passed, I started here a #ProjectSicilia where I would share Sicilian recipes that he made and loved. I was just in Sicily again a few weeks ago, and it was definitely a soul journey. I spent splendid days with my family and my dad’s siblings that are still alive and I felt very connected to him.
Baking and cooking Sicilian food helps me keep my dad’s memory alive, and I hope you enjoy the recipes, too!
What ingredients are in a broccoli scacciata?
Here’s all you need to put it together:
For the dough:
For the filling:
- sea salt
- onion (I used a sweet onion, but use whatever you have on hand)
- cherry tomatoes, sliced in half (or whatever tomatoes you have on hand)
- garlic (optional)
- extra-virgin olive oil
How to make a Scacciata
The dough is pretty easy to put together. You could even use a ready made pizza dough to keep it even more simple.
The first step is, in a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and salt; set aside.
In a separate small bowl, stir together the yeast in water. Let sit for several minutes until foam forms on top.
On a clean work surface, place the flour and make a well in the center of it. Use a wooden spoon and stir until combined, or use your clean hands to combine the ingredients. Add in the extra-virgin olive oil and combine.
You could also use your mixer with the dough hook attachment. You could make the dough completely by hand or using a hook attachment on your electric mixer.
Knead for about 10 minutes, or until the dough is soft and elastic.
As soon as the dough is ready, add a tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil to a large bowl. Add the dough and swish it around the olive oil.
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rise for about 90 minutes, or until the dough doubles in size.
While it’s rising, prep the filling. You could sub cauliflower for the broccoli (or even your other favorite greens, like spinach or escarole).
Filling directions are below in recipe card. Here are the filling ingredients gathered together.
This is how the broccoli filling looks when it’s cooked up and ready.
Prep your baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper and drizzle some extra-virgin olive oil on top. Roll out half the dough and add to the baking sheet. Gently stretch it out to reach the perimeter of the baking sheet.
Spoon on the filling and add the olives.
Roll out the other half of the dough and carefully place it on top of the filling, gently stretching it to reach the ends of the bottom layer of dough.
Roll the edges of the dough together to and seal it to close around the filling. Poke the top of the dough with a fork.
Brush on some olive oil mixed with a little bit of water and bake about 30 minutes until golden brown.
How to serve scacciata:
A scacciata is delightful right out of the oven, nice and hot! It’s even great warm, or even cold. It’s hard to resist taking a bite of it!
Perfect for an aperitivo, lunch, or dinner. Take it along on a pic-nic.
Even better the next day, as the filling ingredients flavors meld together magically.
Can I add sausage and cheese to my scacciata?
Yes! This version is meat-free and cheese-free, but you could cook up some sausage (mild or spicy) and sprinkle some cheese on top of the filling before you add the second layer of dough.
How to store Sicilian scacciata with broccoli?
Any leftovers could be wrapped with plastic wrap and placed in a zipped lock freezer bag or an airtight container. Stays fresh in the fridge for a few days, or freeze for up to 2 months.
It will stay fine on the counter for one day. I would definitely put in the fridge the next morning whatever you didn’t devour!
some other Sicilian recipes to enjoy:
- 3 ½ to 4 cups bread flour plus more for rolling
- 1 envelope instant dry yeast 1/4 oz. or 2 1/4 teaspoons
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 ½ cups water 110 degrees F
- 3 tablespoons olive oil plus 4 teaspoons
- 2 pounds of broccoli chopped–to yield 6 heaping cups
- 1-2 teaspoons sea salt to your taste
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper to your taste
- 1 large onion sliced thin (I used a sweet onion)
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes sliced in half (or whatever tomatoes you have on hand)
- 4-5 cloves of garlic minced (optional)
- 4 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil to coat the bottom of a large saute pan, reserving 2 Tablespoon to prep your baking pan and to brush the scacciata before baking
- PREP THE DOUGH
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour and salt; set aside.
- In separate small bowl, stir together water and yeast. Let sit for several minutes until foam forms on top.
- Make a well in center of flour and add the yeast mixture; stir until combined. Add in the 3 tablespoons of olive oil and knead or mix with dough hook to combine.
- If using an electric mixer, add hook attachment and knead for several minutes until dough pulls away from the sides and has an elastic texture. If kneading by hand, roll out on to floured surface and knead by hand for 10 minutes.
- Add 4 teasopons of olive oil to large bowl. To that same bowl, add the dough and roll to coat dough in olive oil.
- Cover top of dough with plastic wrap and then cover the top of the bowl with a clean towel.
- Let rise for a least 90 minutes, until dough has doubled in size.
- Once the dough has risen, punch dough down and divide into two even pieces. Cover the dough pieces with a clean towel while you prep the baking sheet and the filling.
- If using right away, let rise another 30 minutes on counter covered while you prep the filling.. If using at a later date, place in greased plastic ziplock and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
- Fill a large sauce pan with water and add a teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil. Add the broccoli and cook for about 5 minutes. Drain the broccoli.
- In a large skillet, add the olive oil. Add the onion, stir until translucent. If using garlic, add in when the onions are translucent and stir to combine.
- Add in the broccoli, tomatoes, and salt. Stir to combine. Cook until softened. Check the seasoning and add more salt to taste (if needed). Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool down while you prep the baking sheet with the dough.
- ASSEMBLE THE SCIACCIATA
- When ready to make the sciaciatta, heat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and drizzle on about a tablespoon of olive oil. Spread the olive oil all around the parchment paper.
- Roll out both pieces of dough on a lightly floured clean work surface.
- Place the first piece of dough on the bottom of the baking sheet. Stretch it out to fit the perimeter of the baking sheet. It’s fine if some of the dough is hanging over (you’ll be folding that with the top pieces to seal the edges of the scacciata).
- Spoon the broccoli filling over the dough. Add the olives on top of the filling.
- Place the second piece of dough over the filling, stretching it to reach the edge of the pan.
- Pinch the two doughs together to seal in the filling, rolling the dough pieces to form a crust around the perimeter of the scacciata.
- Poke the surface of the top layer with a fork every few inches.
- Brush the top of the dough with some olive oil mixed with a little bit of water (you could also brush it with a beaten egg).
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the top gets golden brown. Let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
- A scacciata can be stuffed with a different combinations of ingredients, like potato and sausage; broccoli and sausage; and even tomato, eggplant, and cheese.
- Sometimes I add anchovy fillets. If you enjoy them, add some into the broccoli filling.
- Store any leftovers in an airtight container (or large zipped lock bag) on the counter for up to a day. Keep refrigerated for up to 3 days.
- Easy to reheat on a baking sheet in a 350F for about 10 minutes.