Italian Lasagna Bread

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This Italian Lasagna Bread is a fun crossover between bread and pasta!  Crispy like flatbread on the outside, chewy like pasta on the inside…and 100% delicious!

Sometimes the bear is a friendly bear.  Sometimes the bear is a mean bear.  Either way, you never quite know when the bear is going to show up in our house.  This is entirely make-believe, of course.  We don’t actually have bears living in our house.  Instead, we have a 3-year-old with a very active imagination.  Oh, and speaking of imagination, sometimes the bear shows up with his friends Lion and Crocodile.  (Don’t worry…they’re almost always friendly lions and friendly crocodiles.)

This past Christmas, my sister decided to play up the bear angle.  She sent me a pair of oven mitts that look like bear paws!  I just busted out laughing when I opened that gift.  Now those bear paw mitts hang near the stove in the kitchen.  (Truthfully, I think I use them more in playing with Robbie than I do for actually taking things out of the oven.)  However, I did use those mitts to reach in and pull this delicious Italian Lasagna Bread out of the oven…with my “bear hands,” of course!

Italian Lasagna Bread

What exactly is Italian Lasagna Bread?  It’s actually really cool!  Pasta is traditionally made out of durum semolina flour.  Semolina is made from a type of wheat called ‘durum wheat,’ and it’s a bit courser than traditional flour.  In fact, it often has a bit of a golden color, so it looks like a cross between cornmeal and regular wheat flour.  Semolina is most commonly used to make pasta as the high gluten count in semolina helps pasta hold its shape once cooked.

To make this Italian Lasagna Bread (called Scaccia in Italian), you simply make a dough out of semolina flour.  That dough rests for a bit and then gets rolled out into a huge rectangle.  Add fillings, fold it up, add some more fillings, fold it up some more and then tuck the whole thing in a bread pan.  Here comes the fun part though: the top layer gets crispy while baking but the middle layers stay soft…and you would swear the middle layers are pasta.  In a way, they kinda are pasta.  After all, that semolina dough is the base for making pasta.  Talk about a fun recipe!

I kept this version of Scaccia fairly classic in terms of ingredients.  Tomato sauce, ricotta, provolone and spinach.  You could certainly add cooked Italian sausage, sauteed eggplant or any other combination of your favorite lasagna fillings.  This is just a different and unique way to serve a favorite Italian comfort food!

One interesting note is that this bread is often made with caciocavallo cheese.  Caciocavallo is a stretched-curd cheese common in southern Italy.  I’m sure there are Italian markets or specialty cheese shops that sell caciocavallo.  I just couldn’t find ’em.  I did make one stop at a specialty store here in town, but no luck.  I just used additional provolone cheese to replace the missing caciocavallo, and it worked just fine.

If you’re a fan of baking and pasta, then this Italian Lasagna Bread needs to be on your baking list.  Just don’t let the bear catch you when you go to take this bread out of the oven!  (Unless it’s a friendly bear.  In that case, you have nothing to worry about.)  Cheers!

Italian Lasagna Bread

This Italian Lasagna Bread is a fun crossover between bread and pasta!  Crispy like flatbread on the outside, chewy like pasta on the inside…and 100% delicious!

Prep Time:2 hours 30 minutes

Cook Time:1 hour

Total Time:3 hours 30 minutes

Servings:  slices 

Calories: 367kcal

Ingredients

For the Dough

  • ¾ tsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp active dry yeast
  • ½ cup + 2 Tbsp warm water
  • 2 cups semolina flour
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp kosher salt

For the Sauce

  • 1 15-oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp Italian seasonings
  • 1½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¾ tsp black pepper
  • ½ cup basil leaves chopped

For the Filling

  • 6 oz. whole milk ricotta
  • 4 oz. caciocavallo cheese grated (see note)
  • 3 oz. provolone cheese grated
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp Italian seasonings

Instructions

For the Dough

  1. Using the bowl for an electric mixer, add sugar, yeast and water; stir until well combined. Let mixture sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Add semolina flour, olive oil and salt; mix on low speed until mixture comes together into a dough.
  3. Increase speed to medium-low and mix for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Transfer dough into a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours.

For the Sauce

  1. Using a small saucepan, add olive oil and place over medium heat. Once hot, add garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes, stirring often.
  2. Add tomato sauce, sugar, Italian seasonings, salt and pepper; stir until well combined. Bring mixture to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in basil leaves; set sauce aside.

For the Filling

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Line a 9”x5” loaf pan with parchment paper; set pan aside.
  3. Transfer dough onto a well-floured surface. Roll dough into a 26”x18” rectangle. (Note: Dough will be very thin.)
  4. With one of the longer sides facing you, imagine the dough is divided into 3 long rectangles. Spread half of the sauce down the middle third of the dough. Sprinkle half of the ricotta, caciocavallo and provolone cheeses on top of the sauce. Finally, sprinkle half of the spinach on top of the cheeses.
  5. Fold the top and bottom thirds of the dough over so that they overlap in the center.
  6. Spread the remaining sauce over the left two-thirds of the dough. Sprinkle remaining cheeses and spinach on top of the sauce.
  7. Fold the right third of the dough (unsauced portion) back on top of the sauce. Fold the left third of the dough (sauced) on top. Finally fold the entire dough in half crosswise and place into prepared loaf pan.
  8. Using a small bowl, combine olive oil and Italian seasonings. Brush this mixture on top of the dough.
  9. Bake for 60 minutes. (Tip: Tent the top with foil after 40 minutes to prevent burning.)
  10. Remove the bread from the oven and place inverted onto a cooling rack. Remove the loaf pan and parchment paper. Let cool upside-down for 15 minutes. Flip bread over and let cool for at least 15 more minutes before slicing.

Notes

Caciocavallo is a type of stretched-curd Italian cheese.  If this specialty cheese isn’t available in your area, substitute provolone cheese instead.


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