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Erbazzone

Erbazzone
  • Snack
  • medium
  • 4
  • 60 minutes, plus 1 hour to rest the dough

PT1H

PT1H

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Originally from Emilia, erbazzone is a savoury pie typical of the summer months. In its more basic form, it consists in a filling of mixed cooked greens enclosed in a thin, flaky crust. The crust, called fuiada, is traditionally made with lard (the fat of choice in the Emilia Romagna region), though olive oil is an acceptable replacement.

Silverbeet (chard) is normally used for the filling. Nothing is thrown away as both leaves and stalks make their way into the pie. Spinach or a mix of wild herbs can sometimes be part of the total volume, so as to mellow down the earthy notes of the beet.

As the simplicity of its ingredients might suggest, erbazzone is a dish of humble origins, apt at making the most of the host of greens grown in the region from June to September. In its original intent, it was meant to feed the large crowd of hungry fieldworkers busy in the seasonal harvest. But erbazzone is still very much in vogue today, and consumed as a snack, quick lunch or to as part of a picnic spread.

I make erbazzone on a regular basis – pretty much every time I have lots of greens on hand and want to make something other than the usual stir-fry. I normally opt for olive oil in the crust, but tend to include pancetta as well as grated Parmesan in the filling. That said, you can skip the meat and use cheese made with vegetable rennet for a vegetarian-friendly version.

Ingredients

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  • Dough

  • 350g of plain flour
  • 1 pinch of sea salt
  • 5 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, (or lard) plus more for brushing
  • Filling

  • 1kg spinach, chard or a mix, washed and trimmed
  • 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • 100g of pancetta, cubed
  • 1 onion, or 3 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 100g of Parmesan, grated
  • sea salt
  • black pepper, freshly ground
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Method

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1
Begin by preparing the fuiada dough. Stir together the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the oil (or lard) and three quarters of the water and knead it all together into a ball of dough (it should be soft and elastic but not not sticky; add more water or flour to reach the right density). Wrap the dough in cling film and place it in the fridge to rest for an hour
2
Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Chop the silverbeet and flash-blanch the stems in salted water. Drain, squeeze out any liquid and set aside. In a large skillet, heat the oil over a medium flame. Add the pancetta and render the fat, then stir in the chopped onion (or salad onions) and stir-fry until soft and translucent
3
Next, add the spinach, beet leaves and stems and stir to coat in fat. Reduce the heat, cover with a lid, and allow the greens to wilt. Remove the lid, season, and carry on cooking until all the liquid has evaporated. Remove from the heat and let them cool completely
4
Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6 and line a baking sheet with parchment
5
Unwrap the dough and split it in half. Dust a working surface with flour and roll the first half, as thinly as possible and ideally as large as the baking sheet. Roll it on the rolling pin and unroll it on top of the lined baking sheet
6
Fold the Parmesan cheese into the spinach mix, then spread the filling all over the bottom sheet of dough. Roll the other piece of dough and ease it on top of the filling. Fold the edges towards the centre to close the pie. Pierce the whole surface with a fork and brush it with oil
7
Bake the erbazzone for 30 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Serve warm or at room temperature
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