Scaciatta, a Sicilian Family Heirloom

Scaciatta?  What’s that?  You are quite justified in asking that question, because unless you are of Sicilian heritage  or grew up in Middletown, Ct, you most likely are unfamiliar with this ethnic food.

I associate this food  with the city of Middletown as that is where I first knew of it, and where it was baked and served in many of the small family owned bakeries and restaurants.  In the early 1900’s four families from Sicily  settled in Middletown.  Thereafter, other families followed, and soon the population of Middletown was two thirds Italian American.   Scacciatas seem to have originated with those families.  So even though the exact origin of this dish is unclear I call it a family heirloom.  If you were to travel away from this locale,  not many people know what scaciatta ( ska-cha-ta) is.

Basically scaciatta can be likened to a stuffed pizza or calzone.  Essentially it is a pizza dough filled with all sorts of savory things like crumbled sausage, sauce, garlicy broccoli, spinach, potato, and mozzarella cheese. The combinations are many, but the primary ingredients in most are the sausage, sauce and cheese with the vegetables varied.

Everyone who loved this delicious Italian specialty, and depended on having it for Easter and Christmas Holidays have not been able to find it because so many of the well-known Middletown bakeries and restaurants are no longer in business. That was true up until recently, that is.  I discovered it again just last week.  Not too far from where I live is a farm market called Gotta’s Farm, where I stopped to buy some fresh vegetables.  As I entered the store an over powering aroma of something wonderful baking caught my attention.  There in the farm market bakery, scaiattas were just being taken from the oven. Warm, flaky and tender dough enveloping all those fantastic ingredients, and oozing with melted cheese.  Who could resist?  Certainly not me.  I bought several pieces to bring home.  Oh, heaven!  The lost is now found and folks from all over the area are finding their way to Gotta’s to savor once again the wonderful flavors of scaciatta.

Scaciatta with Spinach and Potato