Pitta china Calabrese – Calabrian stuffed pitta

  • medium
  • Serves 6–8
  • 45 minutes
Not yet rated

This pitta recipe is just one of the many stuffed breads baked across Calabria. Also known as pitta chjina or pitta chiina, it contains a delicious mix of cheeses, cured meats, capers, Tropea onions and egg. Part-pizza, part-pie, part-bread, it's one of the tastiest things Calabrian bakeries rustle up on a daily basis.

First published in 2019

This delicious stuffed pitta is packed with the best of Calabrian produce; soppressata, Tropea onions, basil and ricotta salata. It's best enjoyed fresh out of the oven, and you can of course play around with the filling to include whatever you like (although the ingredients listed are what is usually included in a pitta china Calabrese).

There are many different pittas made throughout Calabria, with the name changing depending on the shape and filling. Some are sweet, others savoury, and some aren't filled at all. It was originally seen as inferior to bread, as it tended to be baked just to use up leftover dough as the oven was cooling, but today it is a strong icon of Calabrian cooking and can be found in bakeries across the region.





  • 300g of strong white bread flour
  • 7g of fast-action dried yeast
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 175ml of water, lukewarm
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil



Place the yeast in a bowl with 25g of the flour and the sugar. Stir in 50ml of lukewarm water until the mixture is smooth, then leave to activate for 30 minutes
After this time, the mixture will have grown in size and will be light and airy. Place the remaining flour and salt in a bowl then, using a wooden spoon, stir in the activated yeast mixture, followed by the remaining 125ml of lukewarm water
Once the dough has come together in the bowl, tip out onto a floured surface and knead with your hands for 7–8 minutes, until the dough is nice and smooth and springs back when prodded
Oil a clean bowl and place the dough inside. Oil the top of the dough and cover lightly with cling film. Leave to prove in a warm place for 2 hours
In the meantime you can prepare your fillings. Boil the eggs for 8 minutes, then chill in cold water. Peel, roughly chop and set aside
Sweat the onions down in a little olive oil until soft and season with salt and pepper
When the dough is ready, it will have doubled (if not tripled) in size. Tip out onto a lightly floured surface and knock back the dough by folding it back on itself until the large air bubbles have all gone. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
Divide the dough into two pieces. Roll out one piece into a 5mm thick circular pizza base
Arrange the toppings equally over the dough, then roll out the second piece of dough to the same size
Place the second piece of dough over the filling and crimp the edges together with your thumb and fingers. Use a small knife to pierce a hole in the centre of the lid and dust with a little flour
Bake in the oven for 15–20 minutes, or until light golden brown. Serve hot

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