The main dishes of Modica’s gastronomy are characterized by their simplicity, since they originated in all those manor farms that, in the past, used to fill all the surrounding countryside areas.

For their everyday life, manor farmers created recipes for single course dishes, such as broad bean or chickpea or lentil or bean soups, which were considered their evening meals. Some special kinds of homemade pasta, such as “cavatieddi” or “pasta che padduneddi”, were eaten for Sunday lunches.

In this culinary tradition, bread used to hold a place of honor: dressed with oil, salt, pepper and oregano, it was eaten, still hot, with olives and different types of cheese, such as ricotta. Once a week, the manor farmers, in addition to bread, used to make scacce, focaccia breads that were prepared with different fillings: seasonal vegetables, ricotta, sausage, tomatoes and onions (which is the typical Modica’s recipe) or eggplants.

Scacce are, still nowadays, a typical specialty of Modica’s gastronomy and, in general, of the Ragusa area’s cuisine: they make a perfect afternoon snack if you are taking a walk through the streets of downtown.

INGREDIENTS (for 3 scacce)

For the dough:

  • 500g re-milled durum wheat flour
  • 220g water
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 7g brewer’s yeast
  • Salt

For the filling:

  • 800g tomato sauce
  • Grated caciocavallo (approximately 4 spoons)
  • 1 white onion
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • A pinch of sugar

DIRECTIONS

Place the flour on your worktop, and make a well in the middle. There you put the brewer’s yeast, after dissolving it in a bit of water.

Add two pinches of salt and three spoons of oil to the dough and mix together until you have a smooth paste. Divide the dough into four pieces and let them rise for about one hour.

Make the sauce: let the tomato sauce cook in a saucepan with two spoons of oil, salt and a pinch of sugar. Let it cook on a low fire for about 20 minutes until the sauce gets thick. Turn off the heat, add the grated caciocavallo and let it get cool.

Finely chop the onions and get them to soften in a pan with oil. Cover with a lid to keep them warm.

After the initial rise, take the dough pieces, join them together and knead them again for a little bit. Divide the dough again into three pieces and stretch each piece out into a thin rectangle.

Cover each rectangular piece with tomato sauce, leaving a bare border all around. Place the onions on the tomato sauce and fold each dough piece: fold the two long ends into the middle, add another layer of filling, fold the two other ends into the middle again and then fold in half. Press the borders to seal and keep the filling in place.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper, place the scacce on it and bake at 220 °C for about 20 minutes or until golden. Scacce are great if eaten hot, but they taste delicious even served cold!