Right before this gem began circulating Evan and I had embarked upon a Nicolas Cage binge. It started with ConAir and progressed through Red Rock West and Lord of War before culminating with Face/Off. Though I won’t presume causality this period did coincide with a steep decline in our standard of living. Dirty dinner dishes languished in the sink overnight and we began eating in front of the television. In our pajamas.
But if you are going to eat in front of the TV it might as well be something crispy, cheesy, charred and handheld, like the scaccia we had for dinner two nights running.
Scaccia (ska-chuh, basically) is sometimes referred to as a stuffed focaccia and it also bears a resemblance to calzone. I made a straightforward tomato and cheese version that came from Saveur magazine’s “Soul of Sicily” feature, but it may be filled with just about anything you’d put on a pizza. Next time I’ll try ricotta and sausage.
With salad and wine, scaccia would make a nice lunch. But it tasted just fine eaten from a plate balanced on my knees, in front of a Nicolas Cage movie.
from Saveur magazine
Serves about 4
The trickiest part of this is getting the proportions of sauce and cheese right on each layer. Once you start folding, you can’t go back and add more. Plan to use about half of your tomato sauce and half of your cheese on the first layer, then eyeball it from there.
The first time I made this I didn’t take seriously the directions to season each layer with salt and pepper – but following that advice the second go-round made a significant improvement.
1 3/4 cups durum wheat flour
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing
1/2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 clove garlic, minced
1 14-oz. can crushed tomatoes
fresh basil to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
6 oz. Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
Place flour in a large bowl and make a well in center. Add 1 tbsp. oil, salt, and 1/2 cups + 2 Tbsp water, then stir until a dough forms. On a floured surface, knead dough until smooth and elastic, 6–8 minutes. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Add tomatoes and basil, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Discard the basil and then remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool.
Heat oven to 500°. On a large floured work surface, roll dough into a rectangle 1/16th inch thick, with the long sides of the rectangle parallel to you. Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce over dough and sprinkle with about half of the cheese; season with salt and pepper. Fold left third of dough toward center, spread top with a thin layer of sauce, and sprinkle with cheese; season with salt and pepper. Fold right third over center to meet left edge, and repeat with sauce, cheese, and salt and pepper. Fold in top and bottom so they meet in center; spread top with remaining sauce and cheese; season with salt and pepper. Fold top half over bottom half, like closing a book, and transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 400° and continue baking until dough is set and slightly charred, about 60–65 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.