Monday, April 25, 2011
The piadina is an Italian flatbread which comes from the Romagna region of Italy. It is sort of like an Italian version of fast food, as they are often sold at kiosks or roadside stands. They somewhat resemble a tortilla or pita bread, and are filled with a variety of delicious ingredients. Traditionally, it would be filled with prosciutto, salame, tomato, squaccherone cheese, the possiblities are endless . The piadina dough is quite easy to make, and then it can be cooked on a griddle or on a stone. Piadine lend themselves well to entertaining, because it fun to spread out a variety of toppings, and let your guests try different combinations. As the host you'll have to keep them coming for a while, but the magnificent aroma that will fill the air, and the happy diners with be worth the while. I suggest you serve them with a nice dry Lambrusco from Emilia Romagna. Just when everyone is just about full, it is time to break out the Nutella for the final dessert piadina.
4 1/4 cups of flour
2 tsp of salt
1 tsp baking soda
6 tbsp. high quality lard (I make my own, you can substitute olive oil if you want, not the same though)
1 cup warm water
Your favorite cold cuts, soft cheese, or tomato, arugala as accompaniments.
A note about lard. Some people don't like the idea of eating or cooking with lard, but it really is an essential part of the piadina. Since in the United States it isn't so easy to find high quality lard, you are best off making your own ahead of time. Just get about a half pound of bacon, and cook it in a saute pan until it is crisp. Take the bacon grease it has rendered and put it into a small container. Let it cool, refrigerate if you wish. You will have delicious lard.
I use a stand mixer to make the dough, but you can certainly do it by hand. Combine all of the dry ingredients into your mixing bowl. Crumble the lard into chunks, and knead a little bit by hand. Next add the water, and combine the ingredients with a paddle attachment or a dough hook. The dough should be smooth and elastic. At this point you want to put your dough into a bowl, and cover it with a kitchen towel. The dough needs to rest for at least 30 minutes. If you are making it ahead of time, you can refrigerate it for a few days, but be sure to let it come to room temperature before rolling out.
When you are ready to make the piadine, divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll teach piece into a ball. Then with your rolling pin, roll out the dough into a round shape, about 7 inches in diameter.
I usually end up cooking my piadine on a griddle. It is best to let it get nice and hot, at least about 10 minutes over medium high heat. Then cook each piadina for about 45 seconds on each side. If it becomes too crispy, then your heat is too high. It should remain pliable, not hard. Serve immediately, and keep them coming. You may want to have multiple griddles going simultaneously, depending on the number of people you are cooking for.
As soon as the piadina is done, fill it with your favorite accompaniment, like prosciutto and mozzarella, or bresaola, brie, and arrugala. The possibilities are endless. ENJOY!!!!