Piadina (peeyah-deena) is a flat bread very similar between a tortilla and pita bread. It’s typically found in the Romagna region of Italy but you will find it all over the North. The most common way a piadina is prepared is folded in half like a taco or rolled up simply filled with some cold cuts, fresh greens and cheese. BUT that does not mean you HAVE to eat it that way.
Making fresh piadina’s are a perfect opportunity to put any of your favorite ingredients together. This version is one of my favorite combinations because you get this really awesome umami experience. With the classic flavors of Italian sausage, there’s the slight bitterness of the escarole, the sweetness of the apples, sour and salty from the kalamata olives along with the light creaminess of the ricotta to balance it all out. It’s so good and so easy to make fresh that you’ll be inspired to make your own versions.
You can save the leftovers and reheat. The escarole holds up perfectly without wilting.
Vic and I spent some time in Italy visiting around Veneto where we stumbled upon this simple place called Bar la Specola where like most parts of Italy is hard to decide what you want off the menu. Here’s one of their more traditional Piadina’s that was addicting.
FOR THE PIADINA
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour (or 00 flour)
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature (or extra-virgin olive oil)
2/3 – ¾ cups water, room temperature
In a large bowl combine the flour, baking soda and salt with a whisk. Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment and turn on low. Add the room temperature butter letting it mix for at least a solid three minutes then start slowly adding the water a little at a time until the dough forms around the hook. Remove the dough and knead for several minutes on a floured surface until the dough is smooth. Cut the dough into four equal pieces and wrap each with plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Roll out each piece of dough to an 8 – 10 inch circle and about 1/8in thick on a floured surface. Brush the top of each piadina with olive oil. Cook the piadina olive oil side down on a flat skillet or grill pan for about 3 minutes over medium heat. While that cooks brush the top with olive oil. Flip over to cook the other side for another 3 minutes or until the sides are golden like a tortilla. Set aside on a plate to cool. Repeat for the remaining ones.
2 cups whole fat ricotta cheese
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 small lemon, juiced
4 Italian sausages, out of its casing
2 golden delicious apples, peeled & sliced
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 bunch escarole, rough chopped to 1 – 2in. pieces (you can use baby arugula or spinach)
25 – 28 pitted black kalamata olives, chopped (jarred is fine)
In a large bowl mix together the ricotta cheese, crushed garlic and lemon juice. Set side.
In a large skillet drizzle the bottom with some olive oil and use a wood spoon to break apart the Italian sausage into small pieces. Then add the onions and apples. Stir and cook for about 12 minutes or until the sausage is fully cooked. Turn the heat off and move the skillet aside to cool.
Spread the ricotta cheese mixture onto each piadina (about ½ cup each). Lay the pieces of escarole on top of the ricotta cheese and then lay the Italian sausage mixture evenly on top of that. Garnish with the chopped kalamata olives.
NOTE: To make it easier to serve and eat, cut each piadina into fourths but still keeping its circular form and then place the remaining ingredients on top.