Piadina Romagnola

29 Aug

Piadina (in English “flatbread”), is one of the most popular dishes of the Emilia Romagna region, and it is certainly appreciated all over the country. It looks like a pastry disk, made of flour, lard, salt and water, and it is traditionally cooked either on a terracotta dish or metal griddle over hot coals. Piadina has an ancient history dating back to the Etruscans, who prepared a batter of cereals similar to piadina. For many years, this flatbread was considered a peasants’ meal because the ingredients are simple and easy to find. The traditional piadina is filled with Parma ham (prosciutto crudo), squacquerone or crescenza, fresh and tasty cheeses, quite soft and mild tasting, and of course with arugula (rocket) which gives the sandwich a zesty taste to munch on! It is also delicious when it is spread only with cheese and arugula, and a perfect foil for cold cuts or grilled sausages too; actually the choice is unlimited. It is up to you to decide how you prefer to enjoy it. It is an ideal dish for lunch, for a quick snack during the day. It can also be consumed as a substitute for bread to accompany various dishes. It is an excellent cookout bread. The homemade piadina, of course, has a distinctive flavor and aroma, but nowadays it is very common to consume pre-cooked piadina which is then heated on a griddle and then filled at the moment.

Preparation time: 40 minutes          Cooking time: 5-6 minutes          Servings: 4

Piadina Ripiena

500 g (3 cups) all-purpose flour
65 g (2,5 oz) soft lard
2 g (½) baking soda
6 g salt
200 ml (¾ cup) lukewarm water
200 g (7 oz) Prosciutto crudo
100 g (3.5 oz) squacquerone or crescenza cheese

1. Mix flour and baking soda in a bowl. Dissolve salt in the water
2. Make a volcano with the flour on the work surface, making sure to form a “crater” big enough for holding the lard. Mix well by slowly adding lard and water. Knead to a smooth and homogeneous dough
3. Cover with a cotton cloth and let rest for about 30 minutes at room temperature
4. Divide the dough into 4 balls of equal size. To roll out the dough flatbread you need a wooden rolling pin – about 80 cm (32 inch) long and 4 cm (1 ½ inch)in diameter. Sprinkle with flour and roll out the dough to a thickness of about 5 mm (⅛ inch) and make 4 discs of 23-25 cm (10 inch) in diameter. To obtain smooth edges use a wheel cutter with a smooth blade following the contour of a circular plate
5. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, wait until it is hot and place a disc of dough on the pan. Punch with a fork and cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side. It may puff up. If it does gently press the bubbles with a spatula
6. Spread with a thin layer of cheese, cover with a few slices of ham and garnish with arugula
7. Fold in half and serve warm.

Note: You can substitute lard with olive oil – about 110 ml (½ cup). The result will be a lighter piadina. You can also substitute water with milk; I personally prefer the taste of water. It is also possible to freeze piadina. Wait until it is completely cool, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze.  Remove from the freezer, thaw and heat on a non-stick skillet.   -Paola


6 Responses to “Piadina Romagnola”

  1. Majella Home Cooking August 30, 2013 at 1:50 am #

    I love piadine, Paola. I bought an iron “testo” (or “panaro”) in Gubbio last year that works beautifully for flatbreads. Thank you for this wonderful recipe. A presto! Michelle

    • Passion and Cooking August 30, 2013 at 6:10 pm #

      Thanks Michelle! Your piadina certainly tastes delicious! A presto, Paola

  2. Domenica Marchetti August 31, 2013 at 8:13 pm #

    Ciao Paola ~ this is one of my favorite foods to eat for lunch. I have a recipe for piadine from Le Marche. It’s from Fabio Trabocchi’s cookbook. It looks pretty similar to the version from Emilia Romagna. The only thing I changed when I made it was that I used butter instead of lard in the dough. The piadine actually came out quite good. I was surprised! You chose my favorite fillings, by the way ~ prosciutto, cheese & arugula. I’ve never seen crescenza here in the U.S. Would be great! Thanks for this post.

    • Passion and Cooking August 31, 2013 at 8:55 pm #

      Ciao Domenica, Thanks for your sweet message and suggestion. I love piadina too! I will try it with butter. I tried once to use olive oil but I actually prefer lard. I will let you know how I like it! A presto, Paola

  3. Rhea September 3, 2013 at 7:33 pm #

    Hi Paola,
    the picture looks appetising and delicious !!
    A presto 🙂

    • Passion and Cooking September 3, 2013 at 11:14 pm #

      Thanks Rhea! Piadina is delicious! Next time you visit us I will make a special piadina for you 🙂 Arrivederci presto!

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