The Real Sicilian Pizza
Do you like pizza?
For many Italians who grew up in Little Italy–their pizza was/is sfincione.
You’re thinking huh? Sfincione–-what is that??? Well–most of the Italians in Little Italy, San Diego were/are Sicilian. Sfincione is a thick Sicilian pizza, topped with a sauce of tomatoes, onions, a few anchovies or salted sardines and evoo. The cheese–is NOT mozzarella–if that was your first guess. Sfincione has grated caciovallo cheese, a stretched-curd cheese made out of sheep’s or cow’s milk, that dates back to 500 BC. Or the recipe calls for primo sale, a mild Italian sheep’s milk cheese. Sometimes the primo sale cheese is stuffed into the crust. Take that Pizza Hut! The pizza is sprinkled with breadcrumbs, a tiny bit of oregano according to certain recipes (some omit) and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.
“Sicilian pizza” is thick and sfincione translates as “thick sponge” and is the kind of pizza consumed especially in the western part of Sicily. The spongy crust is an inch thick. Sfincione is more like bread than pizza –which in Italy usually has a thin crust–think Neapolitan style–it’s circular cousin. The tomatoes are key of course, but the real flavour–the secret to it’s unique flavor of sfincione comes from the onions––sautéed in olive oil before baking.
By tradition, Sicilians serve sfincione on Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve and Good Friday. In warmer months it is served at room temperature. I still remember heartily eating it with my family on paper plates and the olive oil soaking through the plate! Soooo good!!!
Sfincione is baked in a square tray and cut into square or rectangular pieces. This is old school pizza. Would you like to try some and see what all the fuss is about? You can go all around Little Italy, San Diego and not find it. Sicilians make it at home. But we know where we can order it special for you and you can taste some if you come on the Little Italy Pizza Tour with us. Your tummy will be so happy!