Hey, today my good friend, baker Luigi Moscone, invited me, old Don Tano, to his bakery to talk to me about mentioning his delicious products on my Palermo blog.
The bakery is just a little place, and considering how big (around the middle) Luigi is, I don’t see how he manages to work that wonderful antique oven without scorching his fabulous mustachios.
But this isn’t really about Luigi. I’ve already talked to you about sfincione, so today I have to tell you about another mouthwatering piece of the most amazing and one of the finest Sicilian street foods you can find: the inimitable pezzo di rosticceria.
All over Italy many bakers and even Italians in other countries do try to make pezzo, but I gotta tell you they don’t have much success. For some reason, while the ingredients are simple and inexpensive, the preparation seems to be too complex for anyone who wasn’t born and raised right here in my Sicily.
For a good description — hey, I wish I could give you a taste of the pezzo I’m holding in my hand right now — but since I can’t do that, I’ll do my best to describe it. Pezzos are baked or sometimes fried brioche dough made from a simple list of ingredients: flour, sugar, salt, lard and yeast. Once that part is finished, comes the infinite variety of fillings and shapes.
Here I’m gonna list some of the most famous pezzi di rosticceria you can find where great cooks reside in all of Sicily.
Calzone: this is a baked brioche stuffed with ham and mozzarella. Very flavorful and popular. Sure, calzones are to be found all over, even in America, but they never seem to be quite the same.
Rollò with Vienna sausage: This is a baked brioche stuffed with Vienna sausage. (I mean the real thing; not the American Vienna sausage that comes in little cans and consists of tiny hot dogs made from pork and chicken.)
Rollò with ham and mozzarella: This baked brioche comes stuffed with ham, mozzarella and a béchamel sauce.
Pizzotto: Ah, this is a baked brioche stuffed with ham and mozzarella with tomato sauce on top.
Spiedino: Here you have a fried brioche stuffed with minced meat, peas and tomato sauce.
Ravazzata: a baked brioche stuffed with minced meat, peas, and pepper with tomato sauce.
And there’s the Pizzetta, a small pizza with tomato sauce and mozzarella. But unlike traditional pizza, the pizzetta comes with a thicker, softer dough.
Don’t worry about the time. You can find these culinary wonders in any cafeteria all over Palermo at any time. People here eat them for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even for a late night snack. For the younger people coming out of clubs late at night, this is the preferred food they need to help their stomachs absorb all the drinks they had.
Pezzi come in two different sizes, small and large, but they both taste the same. And of course, according to Luigi, and I agree with him, the chef’s hand plays a major role in bringing up the perfect pezzi. As I stop at one place and another, I notice that the taste can change noticeably. And I have to be truthful: in some places the pezzi are uneatable and as any experienced tourist already knows, the touristy place are known for throwing out indifferently prepared pezzi as they do with most everything and they save their love for their mistresses.
If you’re a Vegan, you’ll be happy to know that there are plenty of pezzi without meat and low on calories too. Usually, one pezzo is plenty for a lunch or dinner, but only too often, people can’t resist going for another…and another until they’re about ready to explode.
Don’t try it, because you don’t want to blow up before you save room to try some of the many other Sicilian delicacies.
Here’s a bit of home-made Sicilian advice: If you really want to know where to get the best pezzos or need any other information about what to eat and where to get it, just contact me (Don Tano Bongiorno) or type a comment in the box below. I’m gonna be here as your official host and guide to Palermo and I’m happy to give you all the information you need. Ciao!