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Sicilian Sfincione

Sfincione, which kinda translates to “thick sponge”, is a specialty Sicilian style pizza distinguished by an onion and anchovy sauce with a caciocavallo and breadcrumb topping. It’s a common Sicilian tradition to serve sfincione on holidays, particularly Christmas Eve and New Year’s. I’ve been making one every New Year’s day for the last 6 or 7 years and it’s become a pizza I look forward to all year. I typically make the sauce the day before, New Year’s Eve. I cook the sauce, transfer it to a glass bowl, let it rest to room temperature, and put it in the fridge overnight. I take it out of the fridge first thing in the morning so it comes back to room temp because it’s hard to spread cold sauce onto the dough. There’s no issue making the sauce the same day, but there is a lot of stirring and simmering involved so give yourself plenty of time before topping. You can’t rush a good sauce. Finally, my Sicilian style dough recipe can be found in my Forza Pizza profile and over on the blog. Ok, here we go…

Ingredients
  • 0.25 cup Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1.00 C Large white onion
  • 2.00 tsp Oregano
  • 0.50 tsp Red pepper flakes
  • 12.00 C Anochovy fillets (1 jar = about 12)
  • 1.00 C Can of whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1.00 cup Grated caciocavallo or pecorino romano cheese
  • 1.00 cup Panko breadcrumbs
Steps
  1. Heat the olive in a large sautée pan and add the diced onion. They should be sizzling the whole time. Add oregano and red pepper flakes after 10 mins and keep stirring and cooking the onions until they are all golden. This should take about 20 mins.
  2. Add the chopped anchovies and continue to stir and mix for only a couple minutes.
  3. Add the can of tomatoes and, using a wooden spoon, keep stirring and smash all the whole tomatoes as you combine. You don’t want any medium/large pieces of tomato, but it’s ok for them to be a little chunky.
  4. Keep stirring, bring the sauce mixture to a simmer, and allow it to reduce. It will take at least 30 mins to get a nice dark red and thick sauce. It should not be watery at all.
  5. Taste the sauce and add a little salt if you think it is needed. Stir again.
  6. Get your dough stretched out to fill the pan – all the way to the corners (!) – so we can begin topping.
  7. Spread the sfincione sauce
  8. Then sprinkle the grated caciocavallo or pecorino romano
  9. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs – Yes, you can make your own breadcrumbs if your Martha Stewart or something, but I don’t make loaves of bread so I’m not gonna buy a loaf just to blend it up. I’ll just buy the crumbs and ignore all the breadcrumb shaming. Besides, there’s always breadcrumbs in my pantry for one reason or another.
  10. Hit it with a light drizzle of olive oil
  11. And that’s it! You’re ready to bake!
  12. I bake my Sicilian pizzas on convect at 500F, but every oven is different. Do whatever you gotta do to get a nice bake like the title photo and don’t forget to share your sfincione pictures here!