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Sgabei: recipe of a Lunigiana delicacy

This recipe is typical of the Lunigiana area, a historic region halfway between Tuscany and Liguria that offers an endless choice of local gastronomic delights.

In fact, the “sgabei” take different names both within Liguria and Tuscany (in La Spezia they are also called “morseleti”, in Versilia “panzanella”) and outside the borders of this area (just think of the famous gnocco fritto emiliano!).

But what are these sgabei?

They are strips of pasta that, thanks to frying in olive oil, become golden and fragrant. The shape is not always the same, on the contrary! They can be eaten just as they are with the addition of salt or stuffed with cheese (for example with soft “stracchino” cheese) or with cold cuts. For those with a sweet tooth, sgabei are now often prepared with the addition of nutella or jams.

This variegated use allows this traditional recipe to be an appetizer, a unique dish or a delicacy of the local street food together with genoese focaccia and farinata.

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Like many recipes in the area, sgabei are of popular origin and were basically a reuse of bread leftovers.

What was left over after the production of the bread was reused to create these little delicacies by adding a pinch of yellow flour to make them crisper and then fried in lard to make them more substantial as they were mainly consumed by those who worked in the fields.

Today the yellow flour is no longer added and sgabei are no longer fried in lard, but the taste and goodness have remained unchanged!

Seeing is believing, or in this case “tasting is believing” if you pass through La Spezia join our gastronomic tour and taste the real sgabei.

If instead you want to try to reproduce this delicacy at home here is the recipe for you.

Sgabei recipe


  • 600 gr of sifted white flour
  • brewer’s yeast
  • salt
  • water
  • olive oil


Mix the flour, water, salt and yeast previously dissolved in warm water.

Let it rise for about two hours. Then, roll out the dough until it is about 1 cm thick, and cut it out to form the stools, depending on the shape you prefer.

Put them to fry in very hot oil, a few at a time. After frying, add salt and serve with stracchino cheese and cold cuts.

Enjoy your meal!

For other Lunigiana recipes (and not only!) take a look at our blog.