Crunchy crushed focaccia are how some people describe Abruzzo’s pizza scima (silly pizza), as they use its golden crust in the autumn to mop up some juicy sausage and broccoli rape dish or arrange the smoky red flesh of the peppers they’d grilled and bottled in the summer onto.
In its most basic form, it requires just 3 ingredients that you’d find in the back of any kitchen cupboard; you let it stand for 30 minutes, bake for 30 minutes and you have wonderful fresh bread if you have unexpected guests.
It’s a quick bread due to it being unleavened, azzimo in Italian means unleavened/without yeast, and in dialect it’s ascime. In a world mired by prejudice, this is a scrummy bread that illustrates how well food breaks down barriers. The bread’s history lies in the Jewish immigrants that settled in the region between the 13th & 17th centuries, and is now just like the filigree jewelry of the region regarded as ‘Abruzzese’ throughout Italy – it even has its own August festa in Casoli (CH). Traditionally it would be baked directly on the hearth, covered with lid onto which the embers would be pushed around so that it cooked evenly, but this alternative to bread works well in a modern oven.
Here are 2 pizza scime recipes from Abruzzo’s finest!
Nonna Pasqualina is famous in Tagliacozzo for her pizza scima, which you can enjoy during its 3 day October open cellar festival, Cantine nella Roccia (October 11-13th October). Here you can savor the best from the local harvests as you are led through the town, choosing a nature based or and cultural and historical route whilst learning how to make old recipes from the town’s grandmothers.
1 kg of flour and a good pinch of bicarbonate of soda
- Add water little by little and knead until a balanced dough is obtained, not too hard or too soft!
Divide into 2 and with your hand and spread it evenly into a round shape, 2 cm thick and leave it to rest for 30 minutes.
- Bake on a non-stick baking sheet at 200 C for 30 minutes.
Oil & Wine Pizza Scima
A slightly different recipe is more common in the southern Chieti towns of Casoli, Roccascalegna, Altino, Lanciano, San Vito Chietino, characterised by adding extra virgin olive oil and wine. Here is Nicola Salvatore’s version, a famous Pizza Chef of the region!
- 500 g 00 soft wheat flour (Solina) or regular 00 flour
- 75 g Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 75 g Water
- 100 g of Trebbiano d'Abruzzo or Pecorino wine
- 1 Good pinch of salt
- On a pastry or large chopping board sift the flour
- Add the salt, mix together the extra virgin olive oil and white wine and gradually work into the flour.
- Slowly mix it all together & if necessary adjust with extra flour and water, it should be a soft and pliable dough. At this point if you fancy you can work in a sprinkle of fennel seeds and knead for 5 minutes.
- With a rolling pin, roll out the pizza dough to a thickness of 1.5 cm
- Make diamond shaped incisions with the knife along the whole surface of the dough and we go to form a diamond shape, this helps make the pizza easier to portion when serving. Prick each diamond a couple of times with with a fork
- Add a little oil and a pinch of salt on the surface and cook on a non stick baking sheet for 30 minutes in a 180 C preheated oven.
Watch the Video How to Make Pizza Scima!