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Nino’s kitchen: Sciusceddu

By March 21, 2016October 4th, 20224 Comments

The Sciusceddu is a typical dish of the Sicilian city of Messina, made of meatballs poached in broth and baked with a topping of whipped egg and ricotta cheese. This dish is rarely served in restaurants since it is mostly a home-style preparation which is served by tradition on Easter Sunday. If you are from Messina then you have to eat at least one bite of it on Easter. It is mandatory like eating cotechino e lenticchie on New Year’s Eve!

There are two theories about the origin of the name ‘Sciusceddu.’ According to the first, the word derives from the Latin “juscellum” which means ‘soup’, while the second theory maintains that the name comes from the Sicilian word “sciusciare” which means ‘to blow cool air.’

I love this dish because it reminds me of my childhood and the Easter Sundays spent at the dinner table eating the delicious food cooked by my aunt for our extended Sicilian family made of uncles and aunts, cousins, grandparents, great-aunts, and lots of friends.

Sciusceddu is made with mini-meatballs poached in broth, then covered with a ricotta-yolk-eggwhite-Parmigiano mixture and baked until golden brown. In each bite you get a plethora of textures: the hot liquid broth, the soft egg-ricotta mixture with a lasting Parmigiano finish, and the firmness of the meatballs.

It is a joy for the palate!

Now for the recipe, since most of the traditional home-made recipes are usually made by Sicilian mothers and grandmothers who have learned to cook from their own mothers and grandmothers, there is no such a thing as a measured recipe. You just have to taste and adjust quantities to your personal taste. The amounts below are indicative of how I make Sciusceddu.

Sciusceddu in the making ·

Ingredients for 6 servings

For the meatballs (36 mini meatballs)
1 lb of meatloaf mix
1 egg
2 tbs of ricotta cheese
¼ cup parsley, finely minced
1 cup plain bread crumbs
1 large clove garlic, finely minced
1/3 cup of Parmigiano, grated
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 quart unsalted chicken stock (or your favorite type of stock)

For the mixture
6 egg yolks
1 lb of ricotta cheese
6 whites
1/3 cup Parmigiano, grated
¼ teaspoon of cream of tartar


Put the ingredients for the meatballs in a bowl, except the stock. Mix together with your hands, and chill in the fridge for about 1 hour. Form small meatballs and cook partially for a few minutes in the broth. Set aside. Save the broth.

Beat the egg yolks with salt until they change to light yellow in color. Fold in the ricotta cheese and mix until incorporated. Add Parmigiano and stir for a few seconds. Whip the egg whites with a pinch of salt and the cream of tartar until firm peaks are formed. Fold them very carefully into the mixture.

In a baking dish or in individual ramekins put the cooked meatballs. Pour the broth over the meatballs finishing at the halfway mark. Cover with the mixture and bake at 350°F for about 30 minutes or until it gets golden brown. You can also use the last 3-4 minutes to broil them and give a browned touch to the dish. Serve hot.

Buon appetito!

Sciusceddu, completed ·


  • Rose Marie Trapani says:

    I Love that I found your post purely by chance while researching the answer to a question from a follower of my food page, Our Sicilian Table. I posted your recipe on my page. I’m looking forward to cooking it.
    Grazie Mille,
    Rose Marie

    • Hi Rose Marie,
      thank you for your comment.

      We are flattered that you like the recipe and that you will cook it. We’d greatly appreciate it if you didn’t post the recipe on your page, however.

      Google doesn’t approve of duplicate content and will regard both posts – our original and your replica – as spam, thus effectively annulling the SEO value of our writing. I’m sure you understand that this translates to commercial damage for us.

      That said we greatly appreciate your enthusiasm. You can certainly link to our site instead of posting it.

      Casa Mia Editorial Team

  • Laura Garafalo says:

    My grandmother born in 1901 made sciussceddu every Easter, her mother, Catherine Mollica, was born in Messina. However the sciussceddu she made was quite different. It was started with chicken soup with the pieces of chicken staying in with the broth, broken up into small pieces. Then, the meatballs were added. There was no ricotta at all. The topping was a mixture of breadcrumb, herbs and grated cheese along with the addition of a dozen and a half eggs. The bread crumb mixture was layered onto the pot of soup and baked in the oven. This was one of my favorite dishes of all time and for all of my life, I am now 59, I have never met anyone outside of our family, who ever heard of this dish or anything that sounded like a similar recipe. It is interesting to finally see recipes for sciussceddu on the internet, and to see how different it was and how, I guess, my family changed it. Like you mentioned there was never a recipe, except for the dozen and a half eggs. I’m guessing that someone in my family broke an egg somewhere along the line, because I can remember my mother and her 3 sisters always bragging that it had 17 eggs in it, and of course the arguments about who made the best sciussceddu. Happy Easter and enjoy!

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