Sgabei is something that reminds me of my grandmother Emilia. She was really good at preparing them. Thanks to her I got my first Sgabeo when I was about 4 years old at my first Festa dell’Unità during the 80s. It was the typical food for the popular feast. The Sgabei, for me, still means having fun with friends during summer nights and having family love.

Cold Cuts and Sgabei Tuscany

Sgabei is a specialty of Lunigiana and is really simple to prepare. You need just some strips of raised dough (the same to prepare bread or pizza), 1-1,5 inches in height and 6 to 11 inches in width. The strips of dough have to be fried in peanuts oil until they become brown and then salt them on the surface. Frying the dough strips, they rise rem but remain empty on the inside. So sgabei can be eaten plain, or filled with cold cuts or cheeses. If you like a sweet taste, fill them with Nutella cream and put sugar instead of salt on the surface of the sgabei. My favorite stuffing is stracchino cheese and raw ham.

Italian Food Tradition Merenda Nutella

The Story of Sgabei

Sgabei are originating from Valle del Magra in Lunigiana, a boundary area between Tuscany and Liguria. In the past, women created a kind of fried bread, frying the left-over dough prepared for backing bread using pork lard. Sgabei was the lunch for men who were working all day long in the fields. Originally the bread dough was prepared using corn flour, to make it more crunchy and wet.

Nowadays in Lunigiana, it is common to find Sgabei as typical food for countryside festivals, or as an antipasto in specialty restaurants. They may serve them in the place of bread together with ham and cheese.

Useful resources

Sgabei, the specialty of Lunigiana

Difficulty level: easy Cost: cheap
Prep Time1 minute
Cook Time5 minutes
Total Time7 minutes
Course: Antipasto, Appetizer, Breads, Side Dishes
Cuisine: Lunigiana and Apuan Area, Tuscan recipes
Servings: 30 sgabei
Calories: 1866kcal
Author: Edoardo Pucciarelli


  • 4 cup weat flour
  • 0.18 oz sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon brewer’s yeast
  • 1.5 glass water
  • 2.5 cup peanut oil


Kneading Dough

  • Pour the brewer’s yeast in a ½ glass of warm water, add a teaspoon of sea salt and mix to dissolve it.
  • Pour the flour on the work surface. Create a shape of a volcano with the flour and create a hole on the center top.
  • Pour the water with brewer’s yeast and sea salt in the hole and start to knead well till the mixture become smooth and soft.
  • When the mixture is done, cover it with a rag to make it rise for an hour, in a warm place, so the dough can double its size.

Cutting the dough

  • Later, when the dough rised, roll the dough and cut it into strips of 1-1,5 inch of width and approximately 6-11 inch of length.
  • Make the strips rise for other 30 minutes.

Deep Frying Sgabei

  • Take a pan and pour peanut oil on it.
  • When the peanuts oil reachs an high temperature, put the dough strips in deep-frying. Let them fry first one side, then turn them on the other side. Strips have to be completely fried till they are golden brown and crispy.
  • Finally drain Sgabei on paper towels and season with salt. Enjoy them hot with cheese and cold-cuts, or with nutella (in this case use sugar instead of salt).

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12 thoughts on “How to prepare Sgabei, the specialty food of Lunigiana

  1. Patty says:

    That looks so delicious, I always make sure to have some stracchino in my cheese box, one of my favorite cheese spreads!

  2. Emely @ The Blush Fig says:

    They look so yummy, I definitely love the suggestion of adding nutella. My kids will devour these I am sure!

  3. Tiffany Alexandria says:

    This actually reminds me of a snack/bread we call “twins” in Taiwan. It looks a lot like a sgabei but squared and with two sticking together. It’s YUMMM!

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