The Erbazzone Pie has been a constant presence at birthday parties, when I was a child and my mom used to serve it cut into squared slices. Everyone loved it warm and greased, with little salty bacon crumbs on top of it. It tasted like the countryside where it came from and where we loved to play. It still tastes that way to me, even now that I’m thirty!
If you’re looking for traditional Italian recipes, Erbazzone Pie is a great dish to start your research. Moreover, it’s not very well known and I think that this anonymity guarantees its authenticity even more. In fact, no variations have altered the antique recipe, that goes back to the farming roots of Emilia Romagna. More specifically, Reggio Emilia. When poverty deprived the families of nourishing meals, Erbazzone Pie was a way to put something on the plates anyway. The ingredients are quite simple indeed: chard, spinach, water and flour for the dough and some lard to give flavor. That’s it. The presence of Parmesan cheese was a very rare addition, to be used only to celebrate special occasions.
This aspect hasn’t changed that much. Erbazzone Pie is still a way to celebrate, to spend lovely moments with friends and to eat a sinful dish without regretting it too much. Cut into small slices and accompanied with sweet Prosciutto di Parma and arugula salad, Erbazzone Pie will give the best of itself. Give it a chance!
Traditional Erbazzone Pie
For the filling:
1 kg. chard
400 gr. spinach
80 gr. minced bacon
1 small onion
1 clove of garlic
100 gr. Parmesan cheese
extra virgin olive oil
1 pinch nutmeg
2 tbsp parsley
For the dough:
300 gr. whole flour
1 tsp sea salt
50 gr. butter
1 tsp lard (if you like the idea)
80 gr. extra bacon for the crust
LET’S DO IT!
To begin with, carefully wash chard and spinach, then put them to boil in salty water. Boil the vegetables for 5 minutes, then let them drain thoroughly. In the meantime, thinly mince garlic and onion, and put them in a large pan with the minced bacon and some extra virgin olive oil (or butter). Let them gently cook for 5 minutes, then add the vegetables that you have previously squeezed and grounded. Brown the mixture for 10 to 15 minutes, then add salt, pepper, nutmeg and fresh parsley. When it’s almost completely cold, add the grated Parmesan cheese and stir.
Let’s prepare the dough. Process flour, salt, butter, lard (option) and slowly add the warm water, until the dough is elastic and smooth, as you can see from the picture above. The quantity of the water depends on the humidity of the flour, so add it drop to drop. Let the dough rest for half an hour, then divide it into two parts, one a bit bigger than the other.
Take the biggest piece of dough and roll it very thinly – about two millimeters thick – on a floured surface with a rolling pin. Put the dough in a 23 cm wide baking tray, then add the filling. Cover it with the second piece of rolled dough and close the edges. Punch the crust with a fork and spread the minced bacon on it.
Bake the pie at 220°C (425°F) for 30 minutes. Serve it warm or cold, it’s delicious anyway!