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Rachel Roddy’s recipe for Sicilian-inspired bread with vegetables and cheese | Food

A a few summers ago, on our way back from a morning at the beach in southern Sicily, we stopped to get pizza for lunch. I remember this for several reasons. Because as I got out of the car, the Y-strap pulled out of the base of my blue thong – a little thing with huge effect. For as I waited in front of the pizza cabinet, still thinking about my foot, a tray of freshly baked Cornish pasties was brought out and placed on a crate by the door to cool. But most of all, I remember because, as we were driving home and I pulled one in half so we could share it, a little greenery and cheese fell on my lap. And despite talc and stain remover, it left a faint but unmistakable mark on a serviceable dress. A cool souvenir from Sicily.

All over southern Italy you’ll find small members of the extended family of stuffed sandwiches: warm bread with a soft and tasty filling. In addition to the cheese and vegetables that day, there was sausage and broccoli, and another slightly larger version filled with tomato and olives. On the same trip we would return to the same place, Le Signorine Spasciamaronna (so called because their brother, who owns the shop next door, also unpacks the Madonna for the annual procession and is known as spasciamaronna† We often bought the individual, sometimes a large filled loaf of bread to share, or slices of deep Sicilian pizza with anchovies, tomato and breadcrumbs. Then, along with a car full of sand, we took the recipe home and made it our own.

The bread portion of the recipe is similar to focaccia and is also accommodating. I recommend plain and strong flour, but feel free to substitute some of both for semolina if you like. While I’m superstitious about activating both dried and fresh yeast by first mixing it with a little water, flour, and a little sugar, I’ve been told it’s not necessary at all, so I’ve omitted it from this recipe. The key is to evaporate (or pour away) any liquid extruded through the greens as they wilt.

The most important recipe instruction, however, is to make the filling as tasty as possible: taste, taste again and season enthusiastically, possibly with extra chili, cheese, capers or pieces of sausage. Serve and eat while the stuffed bread moons are still warm, with a cold beer and a bag of chips.

Ready to shrink.
Ready to shrink. Photo: Rachel Roddy/The Guardian

Sicilian-inspired bread with vegetables and cheese

Preparation 25 minutes
rest/get up 2 o’clock
Cook 20 minutes
makes 10

200 g flour
200 g strong bread flour
1 t
sp (7 grams) fast acting dry yeast (or 15g fresh)
10
g fine salt

Extra virgin olive oil
12 spring onions
trimmed and coarsely chopped
800 g mixed vegetables
– spinach, chard, escarole, borage
100
g pitted olives
200
g ricotta
50
g parmesangrated
1 egg
beaten, to polish

Place the flour, yeast and salt in a bowl and stir together. Add two tablespoons of olive oil and 300 ml of warm water. Stick one hand in and use it as the dough hook of a stand mixer until all the flour is incorporated. Beat the mixture until smooth, cover and let rest for 15 minutes. Don’t worry if the dough feels sticky – you’ll be fine.

Rub olive oil on a work surface and place the dough on it. Gently flatten it and fold the dough from the edges to the center. Do this a few times, cover with the upturned bowl and let rest for 15 minutes. Repeat folding, then return the dough to the bowl and place in a warm place for an hour until it has doubled in size.

In a large saucepan, saute the scallions in olive oil until softened, then add the greens, a little at a time if necessary, and tame them until they wilt. Press down with a spoon to make the water come out and let it evaporate. Place in a bowl, chop with scissors, then add a little more oil, the red pepper, olives and cheese.

Cut the dough into 80 g pieces and place on a floured surface in saucer-sized circles. Place a plum-sized amount of greenery in the center of each leaf, then fold into crescents and pinch closed. Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper, let rest for another 30 minutes, brush with egg and bake for 20 minutes.