For hundreds of years, various kinds of rustic breads covered with tomato sauces and other toppings have been made all over Italy because they are a food that is filling and can be eaten on the go.
One such pizza is sfincione, a Sicilian style pizza, which is an inexpensive and delicious treat to enjoy at any time of the day.
Sfincione Sicilian pizza starts with a yeast that is activated by sugar or honey and warm water and is then left to rise for several hours, creating a spongy, slightly sweet pizza base.
The base is then loaded with savory toppings like tomato sauce, onions, anchovies, oregano, cheese and a sprinkling of bread crumbs before being baked in the oven and enjoyed. Delicious!
If you’ve ever eaten sfincione, you’ll know that the toppings are really what makes it special, so be sure to use only high-quality and carefully chosen ingredients in order to make the perfect Sicilian pizza.
Recipes for making the dough for this authentic Sicilian pizza may vary slightly depending on the sfincione recipe you use, but this recipe is sure to produce a light, airy pizza everyone is sure to love.
In a large bowl, combine the yeast, water, and sugar. Set aside for 10 minutes, the yeast should begin to froth and activate (photo 1).
Now add the flour and salt and stir until incorporated (photo 2).
Remove from the bowl and knead the dough on a lightly floured flat surface (photo 3), such as a cutting board, until the dough is smooth (photo 4).
Optional use of stand mixer: you can do step 2 using a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook if desired, mixing the dough on medium for several minutes.
Place the dough back in the bowl (photo 5), cover with clean towels (photo 6), and set aside in a warm place to rise for three hours.
While the dough is rising, heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Sauté the onions until soft, stirring occasionally for about 5-8 minutes (photo 7). Set half the onions aside to use as toppings and keep the remaining onions in the pan (photo 8).
Add the tomatoes and garlic to the pan and cook for about 20 minutes (photo 9). Smash the tomatoes with a spatula to make into a thick sauce (photo 10). Add the dried oregano and remove it from the heat to cool.
Once the dough is ready, lightly press it into a rimmed sheet tray or baking sheet with sides that has been covered with a little olive oil. Preheat oven at this time to 450° F.
Place the anchovies on the dough then sprinkle the top with the cooked onions (photo 11).
Spoon sauce onto the pizza evenly until you have used all the sauce and then sprinkle on the grated cheese (photo 12).
Add the breadcrumbs over the entire surface of the pizza (photo 13) then place it in the preheated 450° F oven.
Bake for 15 minutes or until the pizza dough has risen and the breadcrumbs are golden (photo 14).
Slice into large rectangle pieces, serve hot and enjoy!
Since the dough needs time to rise, it can take some time to prepare. It will not take longer than the typical pizza, so don’t be scared! You can opt to use a prepared pizza dough but it is so much more fun to make your own.
While we absolutely love the combination of flavors on the original sfincione Sicilian-style pizza, we recognize that not everyone (especially kids) will be cheering about the anchovies or onions. The amazing thing about this recipe is that it works with pretty much any topping, you can experiment and get creative all you like!
Other street food recipes to try:
Sfincione is best consumed hot right out of the oven, but it will still taste good kept for 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator. It should be stored on a paper towel inside a plastic bag with the air squeezed out.
If stored in the fridge, we recommend heating it up again in the toaster oven or regular oven for several minutes before eating as a leftover. It can also be frozen for several months, but do not defrost it. Instead pop the frozen sfincione wrapped in tinfoil right in a hot oven and cook for 4 minutes and then uncover and cook for another 4 minutes or until it has warmed up and the cheese is slightly melted and then enjoy while still warm.
Sfincione most likely got its name from the word spongia which means sponge in Sicilian dialect because it is a spongy, light and airy focaccia-like pizza.
Sfincione was initially prepared around Christmas time in the Palermo area. It became widely popular and was often eaten on New Years and for the Feast of San Giovanni. Now, however, the pizza is made year-round and can be purchased from the street food vendors in Palermo, especially in the Alberghiera district.