Focaccia Ragusa Style  

Impanata Ragusana 

Mpanata Rausana 

 

Focaccia Ragusa Style, also called Mpanata Rausana, is a specialty made without any specific rules and it varies from season to season, according to holiday, location and from family to family and the local ingredients used. 

 

The mpanata is a round or rectangular focaccia. It contains diced and grated local cheese and is stuffed with vegetables or meat—either pork, beef or lamb. It can be baked in a round pan or in an oven pan and shaped round or rectangular. 

 

 

  

  


Ingredients for Dough 

 

The Dough 

·       2 lb bread flour 

·       2 oz fresh active yeast or 2 envelopes of dry yeast 

·       3 tablespoons olive oil 

·       1 tablespoon baking soda 

·       Pinch of salt 

 

Or buy 2 lb. of bread dough in your local Italian bakery. 

  

Preparation  

 

 

The Kneading
In a bowl, mix ½ cup of warm water and the yeast. Add the sugar and ½ cup of flour and mix until it is well blended and a soft dough is formed. If it is too dry, add some water; if it is too watery, add flour. Set aside, covered, in a warm place.

 

      Mixing dough

 

After 45 minutes to 1 hour, combine risen dough with remaining flour and add some lukewarm water, the oil and a pinch of salt and knead to obtain an elastic dough similar to bread dough. Make a ball, cut across the top to allow it to rise again, cover and put in a warm place until it almost doubles in size, 1 to 2 hours. 

 

  M'panata with Cauliflower

 

 

Serves 8

   Ingredients for Stuffing 

 

·       3 bunches broccoli, trimmed and washed, or 1 large head of cauliflower 

·       3 tablespoons olive oil 

·       2 garlic cloves, chopped 

·       1 lb pitted black olives 

·       ¼ lb young Caciocavallo cheese, cut in ¼-inch cubes 

·       Salt and pepper    

  

 

Preparation 

 

Cut the broccoli or cauliflower into florets and blanch in boiling, salted water for 2 minutes. Drain and mix all ingredients except the cheese and set aside. 

 


  Broccoli garlicPitted olives

 

  Caciocavallo



Assembly of the Mpanata 

When dough is ready, split it into 2 pieces. Briefly knead each piece, roll one into a round shape and place in a greased pan. 

Spoon the filling over it; add the cubed cheese, making sure to leave the edges free of filling. 

Knead the other piece of dough and roll it into a round shape. Moisten the edges of the mpanata with water and place on the top of the dough with the filling. Seal well, pinching around all edges.

Cut 2 or 3 slits on top to allow the vapor to escape. 

 

The Baking 

·       2 tablespoons olive oil for washing 

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, bake the focaccia for 15 minutes, remove from oven and wash top of mpanata with the olive oil. 

Return to oven for an additional 15 to 20 minutes or until light golden brown. 


Serve hot.
 

                                        Impanata baked in pan

 

Variations:  

 

The Spinach Stuffing (Classic Specialty from the Town of Modica) 

  

Ingredients  

 

·       3 lb of spinach 

·       3 tablespoons olive oil 

·       ½ cup of capers 

·       1 cup breadcrumbs 

·       ½ cup dry currants 

·       ½ cup shelled walnuts 

·       Salt and pepper 

Preparation  

 

The Spinach Stuffing 

  In a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a boil about 2 quarts of water with ½ tablespoon of salt. Dip spinach in the boiling water to blanch them and remove as soon the water returns to a boil. 

 

Spinach

Drain and set aside. 

In a 4-quart saucepan, over a medium flame, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil, add the walnuts, capers and currents and sauté for a few minutes (3 to 5). 

Spinach Impanata

 

 

Add breadcrumbs and cook for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, turning continuously until the breadcrumbs are lightly toasted and turn a light golden color. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

Remove from flame and mix in the blanched spinach. 

 

Proceed with the Assembly of the Mpanata as per above directions. 

  

  

The Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Stuffing 

  

Ingredients 

 

       

·       2 bunches broccoli rabe, washed, trimmed, with tough stems removed 

·       3 tablespoons olive oil 

·       2 garlic cloves, chopped 

·       1 lb sausage, casing removed 

·       ¼ lb young Caciocavallo cheese, cut in ¼-inch cubes 

·       Salt and pepper 

 

Preparation 

In a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a boil about 2 quarts of water with ½ tablespoon of salt. Dip broccoli in the boiling water to blanch them for 2 minutes. Drain and set aside. 

Broccoli RabeSausages

 

In a 4-quart saucepan, over a medium flame, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil and the garlic. Add broccoli rabe and sauté for 5 minutes, until tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.  

 
Remove from flame and, using a slotted spoon, place in a colander to drain. Set aside. 


Using the oil and liquid left from the broccoli, cook the sausage meat over medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from flame using a slotted spoon and place in the colander with the broccoli rabe to drain. 


In a bowl, mix the sausage and the broccoli rabe until they are blended well. Add the cubed cheese last. 


Proceed with the Assembly of the Mpanata as per above directions.
 

 

*****

 

The Lamb Filling (Typical Easter Specialty) 

 

Ingredients 

 

·       2 lb boneless milk-fed lamb or spring lamb, cut into small chunks 

·       4 tablespoons olive oil 

·       2 medium onions, finely chopped 

·       1 cup dry red wine 

·       1 cup diced tomato or 2 tablespoons tomato paste diluted in water 

·       Salt and pepper 

 

Preparation 

 

In a 4-quart saucepan, over a medium flame, heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil with the onions and lamb. 

                 OnionsTomato

 

Sauté until the onions are light golden in color and the lamb is scorched on all sides. Add wine and increase to a high heat to allow the alcohol to quickly evaporate. Lower heat to medium and add tomato paste and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for an additional 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

This recipe calls for the use of red wine; I prefer to use a dry white wine.

 

Proceed with the Assembly of the Mpanata as per above directions 

                                      Easter Mpanata