Cassone Romagnolo (or Piadina Romagnola) dates back hundreds of years, some say even to Roman times. Traditionally, in the central Italian region of Emilia Romagna, a thin layer of dough made of flour, pork fat, water and salt is rolled out, filled with field herbs, folded in half to form a large pocket and cooked in a pan. There are local variations related to the thickness of the dough and the size of the cassone (more commonly known around the world as piadina) as well as less traditional but other common fillings such as mozzarella and tomato, potato, sausage or pumpkin.
Cut these ancient Italian flatbreads in half and serve with a crisp white wine.
- 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 1 tsp salt
- pinch of bicarbonate soda (baking soda)
- 200 ml (7 fl oz) full-cream (whole) milk
- 120 ml (4 fl oz) olive oil
- 2 large bunches spinach or other greens
- 4 spring onions, white part only, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp parsley leaves, chopped
- ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 30 g (1 oz) grated parmesan cheese
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Resting time: 30 mins
To make the dough, place the flour in a mound on your work surface, scatter over the salt and bicarbonate of soda, then make a small well in the centre of the mound. In a small jug, combine the milk and olive oil, then pour this into the well. Work the liquid into the flour using your fingers, a little at a time, until it all comes together. Work the dough for about 5 minutes, until it is smooth and homogenous. Wrap in plastic wrap and set aside to rest for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Trim the roots and stalks from the spinach and discard any wilted or damaged leaves. Thoroughly wash the spinach leaves, rinsing several times to remove any remaining grit and dirt. Plunge in the boiling water and return to the boil. Immediately drain the spinach and refresh in cold water. Squeeze the spinach as hard as you can to remove any excess liquid. You should have about 300 g (10½ oz) cooked spinach. Chop finely, add salt and pepper, to taste, and set aside.
Divide the dough into four equal-sized pieces. Roll out each piece to a 30 cm (12 in) circle, covering each circle with a clean tea towel while you roll out the rest. Divide the filling ingredients evenly among the flat breads placing them on one side of the dough and leaving a 1 cm (½ in) edge. Fold the dough over to form semicircles and push the edges together with your fingers to seal.
Heat a large non-stick frying pan with a lid over medium–high heat. Place one or two cassoni (depending on the size of your pan) in the pan and reduce the heat to low–medium. Cover, and cook for 3–4 minutes on each side, until the dough starts to become golden and crisp. Repeat with the remaining cassoni. Cut each cassone in half to serve.
This recipe is from Italian Street Food. (Smith Street Books). Photography by Paola Bacchia.