Pitoni messinesi street food siciliano

The Messina pythons , whose recipe can be easily made at home, are one of the staples of the city's gastronomy. If you know them you can't help but adore them; if you don't know them and you don't have the slightest idea of ​​what they are (you are justified, in fact - in the rest of Italy - the name is misleading), they are traditional stuffed calzoni ubiquitous in the takeaways of Messina and its province. But also on the tables of Messina on Christmas Eve, when they are tasted together with fried cod in batter (but that's another story).

What's so special about them? First of all they are fried (and already here we could open a long parenthesis made of crunchy and golden crusts that hold a tasty and stringy filling). Second, then, their stuffing, which is strictly imposed by tradition , as we will see further down. Finally, they are practical to taste and can be proposed as part of an informal dinner with friends. But it is not only this that makes them so acclaimed.

Before moving on to the in-depth analysis, however, we must clarify how these Sicilian street foods are also known as pidoni alla Messina . No mistake: place you go, name you find... Pidons or Messina pythons it doesn't matter, what matters is biting into one that has just been drained from the frying oil, but watch out for burns, they are incandescent inside.

The original recipe of Messina pythons

The recipe for making them is quite simple. Starting with the ingredients of Messina pythons , which are common, easily available and quite cheap. So much so that they can be prepared without any difficulty. Here is all there is to know about this, which certainly deserves a place of honor among the recipes of the Messina rotisserie .

Pasta for pidoni Messina style

Let's start with the pidoni pasta : the traditional recipe is yeast-free and has lard puff pastry as a base. However, the variant with leavened dough is quite widespread, as are versions with alternative fillings.

Stuffed with Messina pythons

A brief insight into the filling . Beware of imitations, the traditional one that is meant, in fact, when it comes to Messina pythons , includes curly escarole, cheese (in particular tuma or primosale , Sicilian products which, don't worry, you can find on Sicilyaddict ), anchovies and chopped tomatoes.


  • 1 kg of durum wheat flour
  • 80 g of lard
  • 2 level teaspoons of sugar
  • 1 heaping teaspoon salt
  • 1 small glass of white wine
  • 1 head of curly endive
  • 400 gr of ripe tomatoes (optional)
  • 400 gr of tuma or primosale cheese
  • 1 jar of anchovies in oil
  • black pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil to taste
  • peanut oil for frying


  1. Pour the flour, salt and sugar into a bowl and mix. Add the glass of wine and 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil and start mixing the ingredients.
  2. Now add the lard and work for a long time, until you get a smooth, dense and soft dough.
  3. Let it rest for 30 minutes covered with a cloth.
  4. In the meantime, prepare the ingredients for the filling : wash and cut the escarole into small pieces. Cut the cheese into cubes and chop the anchovies. Combine them in a bowl and season with oil, salt and pepper.
  5. If you use tomatoes, cut them into cubes but squeeze them very well: in fact, in this version with puff pastry, the humidity of these vegetables risks compromising the final result.
  6. Take the dough again, knead it for a few more minutes then roll it out into a thin sheet. Get 9-10 discs of about 14 cm in diameter. Stuff them on one side with the filling and close them like a book, sealing the edges well with the prongs of a fork.
  7. Fry them in deep and boiling peanut oil until golden brown. Drain them on absorbent kitchen paper and enjoy them just warm.

With lard or without?

To answer the probable question: " can I prepare them without lard ?" The answer is yes: in addition to being able to be replaced by the same amount of butter, lard can easily be eliminated from the recipe. To make up for its lack, you can add a tablespoon of extra oil and add as much water as needed to obtain the desired consistency.

Pythons Messina recipe Thermomix

Making them with the Thermomix is ​​just as, if not easier. Simply pour the white wine, sugar, salt, lard and flour into the mixing bowl and mix for 2 minutes at Spiga speed until you obtain a dry and soft dough (if necessary, add a little water). Then proceed as above.

The recipe for baked Messina pythons

The same goes for cooking. If their death is frying, nothing prevents them from using the oven. However, given the nature of the dough, they could be too dry. If you really feel like baked pythons you can opt for those with leavened dough or give up on the idea by falling back on Messina focaccia . Which, in case you didn't know, is equally typical and delicious.

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