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Sicilian Cheese Pie - Scacciata

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Sicilian Cheese Pie, or Scacciata: This is a Sicilian specialty that calls for Caciocavallo, a firm, well aged fairly sharp cow's milk cheese; since Caciocavallo and Provolone are quite similar either cheese will work in preparing the recipe. To serve 6 you will need:

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • About 1 4/5 pounds (800 g) freshly risen bread dough (either make your own or buy it from your baker)
  • 1/2 pound (250 g) mild Caciocavallo or Provolone, cut into thin strips
  • 1/4 pound (100 g) very fresh rendered lard
  • 3 ounces (75 g) salted anchovy filets, rinsed and boned
  • 3 ripe plum tomatoes, blached, peeled, seeded, and cut into strips
  • An onion, thinly sliced
  • 10 black olives, pitted
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A 10-inch (25 cm) diameter cake or pie pan

Preparation:

Preheat your oven to 380 F (190 C).

Briefly knead the dough and divide it into two pieces, one somewhat larger than the other. Roll the larger one out and use it to line the pan. Lay the strips of cheese over the dough, followed by the tomatoes, anchovies, and olives. Lay the sliced onion over all, dot it with half the lard, and season lightly with salt and pepper.

Roll out the second piece of dough and use it to cover the pie, tamping down the edges with a fork so they stick. Dot the top of the pie with the remaining lard, make a few holes in the crust with a fork to let the steam escape, and bake the scacciata for about 40 minutes. Serve it hot.

A note about the dough: Italian bakers and supermarkets commonly sell freshly mixed dough to those who want to make something that calls for dough (e.g. pizza or this scacciata) but don't want to make dough from scratch. If you start from scratch you will want 6-7 cups flour (6-700 g), live yeast, a pinch of salt, and about 1 1/3 cups (330 ml) warm water. Make a mound of the flour on your work surface, scoop a well into the center, and put the salt in it. Dissolve the yeast in the water, and pour it into the well, a bit at a time, working the flour into it. Knead the resulting dough for 15 minutes, put it covered in a warm place to rise until doubled in volume, and it will be ready.

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