Traditional Sicilian ‘Seasoned Bread’ Pane Cunzato

A Sicilian Lifestyle Blog

What is pane cunzato or pani cunzatu?

Pane Cunzato in Sicilian dialect and Pane Cunzato in Italian, is a typical poor man’s meal, ‘cucina povera’. It was known once as the ‘bread of misery’,  stale bread that somehow had to be turned into a meal. To enrich and season the bread, spices and herbs which were easily accessible to all were used to add flavour. Over time, like most traditional Sicilian recipes the pane cunzato evolved with the addition of richer ingredients like anchovies and cheese.

The seasoned bread is perfect for an aperitivo or to take on a picnic or to the beach.

Traditional Sicilian bread 

Stroll through the towns and villages of Sicily and you will discover the local bakers ‘la panetteria’, where every morning you go early to collect your ‘Pane Siciliano’ or in Sicilian ‘Pani Sicilianu’. Fluffy and rich yellow inside, the bread is made from 100% Sicilian Semolina flour. The flour has been milled twice ‘farina di semola rimacinata’ to produce a fine golden dust which is mixed with honey, salt & water to create the most flavoursome bread.

To accompany the fluffy centre is a crisp crunchy sesame seed crust. It’s common for Sicilians to use sesame seeds in their cooking; Sesame seeds came to Sicily during the Arab ruling and like many a historic movement has left its mark in the local cuisine.

Typical ingredients to make pane cunzato:

Pane Siciliano – Traditional Sicilian sesame seed bread, usually a day old.

Extra virgin olive oil – We use our moresca olive oil as it is fresh with grassy tomato notes.

U Capuliatu Sicilianu – A typical Sicilian condiment of minced sun dried tomatoes often marinated in olive oil and seasoned with basil and garlic.

Anchovies – A staple in the Siclian pantry, anchovies or ‘acciughe’ which add depth, sweetness and saltiness to any dish.

Pecorino Cheese – Typically a younger pecorino cheese ‘primo sale’  is used as it can hold the rich deep flavours of the capuliatu and anchovies. We personally love to use mature pecorino cheese too.

Oregano – Adding herby and fragrant notes to the seasoned bread, Sicilian oregano brings the flavours of the pane cunzato together as one.

The essence of Scilain flavours in one bite!

Discover the recipe for our Pane Cunzato and the story of our first time trying it in Sicily!

Photo taken by Charlie Dailey