Food and Recipes · Lifestyle

Cooking stories | Erbazzone recipe (traditional italian chard and cheese pie)

Every once in a while, my mom and I like to take out our family’s big recipe book and prepare something very traditional and very tasty. Even though we now live in the North-East, we are originally from Parma, in the region of Emilia-Romagna, the land of all the best things in the world (read: parmesan cheese, prosciutto di Parma, you know what I’m talking about). Cooking is relaxing and fun, and it brings me back to where I was born.

erbazzone_recipeAs the vegetable garden in our backyard produced way too much spinach this year (yes, I know the title says chard, and that’s what the original recipe uses, but… we cheated… blame our garden!), we decided it was the right time to make one of my favourite treats, the super tasty erbazzone. Originally from the city of Reggio Emilia, erbazzone is a savoury pie filled with chard, pancetta (italian bacon) and parmesan cheese.

Mom and I agreed on spending Sunday morning preparing it so we could eat it for lunch, but things didn’t exactly go as planned. Mom and dad decided to go visit their friends on the coast and spend a day at the beach, while I stayed home enjoying the first cool day in over two months, with a nice cup of tea and book opened on my lap. I naturally thought that are our cooking day was cancelled, until my dad texted me at 5.30PM saying “Hey, we’ll be back at about 7.15PM, mom says to prepare the base for the erbazzone!” Immediately I closed the book, rushed to the kitchen and quickly prepared the dough so that it would have enough time to rest in the fridge. All seemed to be going well: as soon as mom got home, we finished making the filling, put the spinach and pancetta inside the pie and got ready to put it in the oven. However, as soon as we turned it on, the oven quite literally… exploded. Sparks flew and the power went off in the entire house. It had been showing clear signs of being at the end of its life, and I guess on Sunday night it just gave up 😦 I thought “that’s it, we’re gonna have to eat cheese toasts for dinner”, but luckily mom managed to turn on the old oven we still have in the basement. I had to sit in front of it for 30 minutes to make sure the old guy was actually cooking the pie, and I sort of squealed from happiness when the room started to fill with its amazing smell. Despite all, and despite now having a broken oven, the pie came out so well (I might have had a bit for breakfast the next day too… and as an afternoon snack… and for dinner…).

Here’s the recipe for everyone who wants to try make it!


For the dough:

400gr of flour

30gr of olive oil

200gr of lukewarm water

8gr of salt

For the filling:

700gr of chard (or spinach, if you’re a cheater like me)

50gr of green onion

100gr of pancetta

80gr of parmesan cheese

To prepare the dough, add the salt to the flour. Slowly, start adding the olive oil and the water, mixing everything together to form a nice smooth ball. Let it rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. In the meanwhile, cut the green onion and the pancetta in small pieces, and lightly fry it in olive oil for a few minutes. Boil the chard in hot water, and, once it’s tender, add it to the rest of the filling. On a baking tray, roll out half of the dough, spread the filling evenly on top of it and add some grated parmesan cheese. Cover everything with another thin layer of dough and cook in the oven, preheated at 180°C, for 35 minutes. Eat and enjoy! 🙂

Let me know if you decide to try the recipe (and if your oven survives – I will pray for it!)

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