Ranza e Sciura | Stuffed Sicilian Flatbread “Pizza” Recipe
This Italian flatbread recipe comes from a poor Sicilian tradition where the “ranza” and “sciura” of flour (the “wheat” and the “chaff”) were mixed together for an economical food. Nowadays, it’s made in the town of Chiusa Sclafani with semolina flour, which does a pretty good job of replicating the hardy texture of the original mix.
This recipe uses a very unique technique for creating a flaky texture with bites of savory ingredients mixed in. The dough is first pressed out into the large sheet, the fillings are added on top, then the dough is rolled up and pressed out yet again into its final shape. This method yields an unusual and wonderful layering of dough and yummy fillings!
Filling Variations to Try
Below, we’ve given a recipe for some of the most traditional fillings, which include Sicilian caciocavallo cheese, anchovies, and marjoram. You can really get creative with what you add into your own Ranza e Sciura, though. We really enjoyed using sun-dried tomatoes and olive, for instance!
Tips for Making the Best Flatbread
The amount of water needed can vary substantially, depending on the conditions. Don’t be surprised if you need to adjust the amount listed below. Add just enough to achieve a dough that is soft and pliable, but not sticky. You can always dust the dough with some flour if you accidentally add a little too much water.
When you press the dough out after filling it with “toppings,” don’t worry at all if some of the ingredients break through the top and are visible from the outside. This is not only fine, but expected.
Watch the Pasta Grammar video where we make Sciavata here:
RANZA E SCIURA RECIPE
Cook Time: Up to 5 hours, largely unattended
For this recipe, you will need:
4 1/8 cup (500g) semolina flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp (5g) active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups (300g) water
2 tsp (10g) salt
3/4 tbsp (10g) extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling and brushing
3 1/2 tbsp (50g) lard
4 oz. (115g) chopped Sicilian caciocavallo cheese, or to taste (the closest substitute would be a sharp provolone)
~10 anchovies under oil, chopped
Dried marjoram to taste
Grated caciocavallo, pecorino or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese to taste
Large mixing bowl
Medium baking tray
Mix the flour and yeast together in a large bowl. Gradually add half of the water while continuing to mix by hand. When a rough dough has formed, add the salt, olive oil and lard. Knead these ingredients in.
Continue to add the remaining water, a little bit at a time, until you achieve a soft, pliable texture that isn’t sticky. Transfer the dough to a clean work surface and knead it until it is very even. Place the mixing bowl over the dough, let it rest for 10 minutes so the gluten can relax, then knead it for a minute or two longer. Place the dough back into the bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and let it rise at room temperature for 2-3 hours or until it has doubled in size.
Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and use your hand to press it out into a big circle, about 16 inches (40cm) in diameter. Evenly top the dough with chopped cheese, anchovies, and a generous sprinkling of both fried marjoram and grated pecorino.
Starting from one edge, roll the entire dough sheet up like a carpet. Next, roll this tube up horizontally into a tightly-wound spiral; it should look like a big cinnamon roll. Brush a medium baking tray with olive oil and place the dough roll into the center.
Use your hand to press down on the dough and spread it out the fill the tray. No need to be super gentle, here! Mash it down, press it out, and make some interesting layers. Don’t worry if some of the ingredients, like the cheese, burst through the dough.
When the dough is spread to fill all the corners of the tray, cover it in plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature for 20-30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat an oven to 430 degrees F (220 C).
Brush the top of the dough with a drizzle of olive oil and cover with a light grating of caciocavallo or pecorino cheese. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until golden on top. Ideally serve the flatbread warm and fresh, but cold is also yummy!
If you enjoy this flatbread recipe, you might like the classic Piadina Romagnola! Want to try more Sicilian food? Check out this cauliflower pasta that's more delicious than it has any right to be!