Friday, 10 October 2014

Piadina Romagnola - Italian flat bread

Sweet memories come to my mind every time I decide to make it as it was he first recipe I learnt from my grandmother!
Nothing was weighted, she made it with experience and tradition…. My grandmother used to ask me to help her so I make the work; she prepared the flour, the lard, the baking soda and the salt, but I think that her secret ingredient was the milk of her cows, which made every preparation even more tasty! And cooking on a round terracotta tray (testo) was quite an experience.
And in those times wearing a white apron was compulsory!
When my grandmother had guests in the Sunday afternoons she did not offer tea and scones, but a nice, warm piadina stuffed with cheese, prosciutto o salame. Of course with a glass of good red wine, just opened in the cellar. Women chatted in the kitchen, men sat in the shadow under the big tree and we kids played with the dogs and cats, nothing more simple and nothing I miss more…
In my area, Romagna, from Imola to Rimini and in the neighbouring Marche, each town has its own traditional recipe, and the piadina becomes more and more thin moving from the land towards the sea.
This is a authentic Italian street food, a flat bread you must enjoy when it is still warm.
You can eat it as a bread, but  my favorite is with prosciutto, rocket salad and fresh cheese, like our squacquerone.
Squacquerone is a 2 day old cheese, impossible to find abroad I think. But any fresh, bitter cheese will go, stracchino as well... (my grand mother would not approve!).
If you want to change, try an Italian salame or hot grilled Italian sausage... Very rich!
Cut the piadina in halves or quarters, put the prosciutto or any cured meat inside, while it is still hot!

Ingredients for 4 flat breads

500 grs.1.1 lb Flour 0 plus a little bit to dust your surfaces
120 gr. /5.3 oz. Lard
200 ml - 1/2 pint Milk
9 grs./ 0.3 oz Salt
3 grs. 0.1 oz Baking soda

To garnish

12 slices of Parma ham (Prosciutto)
250 gr. /1/2 lb fresh cheese (if you are in Italy ask for squacquerone or casatella)
Rocket salad

Put the flour on a clean surface (better if made of wood) and make a well in the centre. Mix in all the other ingredients and pour the milk little by little to get a firm dough. If you feel more confident, make it in a bowl…

Work the dough very well and let it rest for at least 30 minutes covered with a tea-towel or a cloth.

Divide the dough into 4 pieces and make 4 small balls. Press them down with your hand and start to roll the first dough. You should obtain a round about 20 cm (8-9 inches) wide.


I am quite sure you do not have a “testo" - nor have I – the best way to cook this bread is to bring a heavy large pan to high temperature over the high heat and put the piadina on it. The pan must be very hot so that the bread does not stick to bottom.
Make small holes with a fork to break the bubbles. 

Turn the flat bread upside down after about 2 minutes or when you see light brown spost like these.
Cook for 2 more minutes or longer if necessary.

Garnish with Cheese, rocket salad and prosciutto and eat immediately.

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