Piadina Romagnola authentic Italian recipe and history about this typical Italian flatbread

One of my all time favorite quick italian dish is Piada or Piadina Romagnola (pron. pee-uh-dee-nuh), one of the most characteristic italian flatbread, known and loved in Italy and all over the world both as a street food and a comfort food. I researched for you the best authentic recipe because how Piadina is made varies from town to town, village to village so I kinda put myself as a judge and choose the winner for you. :)


best authentic piadina romagnola italian flatbread

Piadina is no doubt a typical product of the Romagna, a portion of the Emilia-Romagna region (Ravenna, Faenza, Forlì, Cesena and Rimini), but it’s also widespread in the areas of Ferrara, Pesaro e Urbino province, Montefeltro and the Republic of San Marino.

It’s usually made with wheat flour, fats (extra virgin olive oil and/or lard=rendered pork fat), water and/or milk, salt and some optional leavening agents and traditionally cooked on a clay dish from Montetiffi, a village near the town of Forlì, although nowadays flat pans or electric griddles are commonly used but the flavour would be less aromatic (video of the making of Montetiffi pan here or international online shop here).

teglie montetiffi pan

Creation of the Montetiffi pan. Old traditions handed down from father to son.

“Prema u s’fa e’ pianèl, pu dop u s’fa l’arvel pu dop u s’fa l’avrecia… ech fat la tégia!”. (Romagna dialect)

(tr.: EN. “First you create the flat base, then you make the border and then the indentation… that’s the pan!” – IT. “Prima si fa il piano, dopo si fa il bordo e poi l’orecchia… ecco fatta la teglia!”).

Once cooked, these delicacies are usually stuffed with either sweet or salted and savoury ingredients such as cured meats (salumi), cheeses, greens, or Nutella cream, but one of the most popular and best-selling combination is Parma ham + Squacquerone (a fresh and soft spreadable cow’s milk cheese with a typical tart flavour) + arugula/rocket, mmmm yummy!

best italian piadina flatbread prosciutto

Wow it makes me hungry every time I think about it! Not to mention the classic “winterly” stuffing with sausage and roasted/caramelized onions… 8).

History

Up to 100 years ago, Piadina was a poor man’s food because was considered to be a bread substitute to which people resorted weekly between a batch of bread and the other (bread was usually cooked once a week) but during the 60s women from the countryside started to prepare and sell it on the roads of the town with a hand-cart and a beach umbrella, therefore Piadina became a real meal.

Nowadays you can find Piadina in food stands all along the Romagna coast or Romagna towns.

Casa-Piadina

Pay attention that those store-brought Piadinas that you can find in supermarkets are nothing like those you can make at home or find in Romagna!

So, have you ever had the fortune to bite into a rich, crispy but soft steaming piadina filled with every kind of delicacies??? If not, well, find some time to make that at home, it’s easy! or visit Romagna and let me know if you like it!

“Delicious with every filling,                 “La j’è bona in tot i mud,
delicious even served plain:                 la j’è bona énca scundida:
if you haven’t already understood,       sà n’avì ancora capì,
I’m talking about piadina.”                   a scor propri dla pida.”
                                          (Folk poetry)

Here I’m writing several Piadina recipes along with my favourite one because I always heard or read strong and intense discussions around the “real” or the “perfect” recipe for Piadina but the perfect recipe for Piadina does not exist.

As I’ve already explained you before, every family has their recipe so the real recipe is that one that you’ve eaten in your lifetime, the one that makes you connect to your relatives or friends.

So, in order to make you choose the right one for you, I want to explain better the differences to whom that less know the local traditions.

THE SHAPE

Starting from the south of Romagna coast Piadina is very thin (up to 3mm-1/8in) and with a large diameter (from 23cm-9in to 30cm-12in) while proceeding north along the coast and to the inside towards the hills, the flatbread become thicker (from 4mm-1/6in to 8mm-5/16in) and smaller (from 15cm-6in to 25cm-10in).

THE INGREDIENTS IN THE DOUGH

The fats: people use extra virgin olive oil for a lighter and crispier piadina or lard from rendered pork fat (called “strutto” in italian) for a more rich and soft piadina or they use a combinations of both.

The liquids: people use water or whole milk or a combination of both.

Other optional ingredients: some people use baking soda or baking powder to make the dough rise a bit or more while cooking.

If you want a crispier Piadina, choose the one without lard and no leavening agents.

I like the Piadina to be a bit thick, soft, easy to fold without cracking with a great buttery richness, so I use lard instead of olive oil, a mix between water and milk and baking powder to make it less heavy.

authentic soft piada piadina cold cuts arugula

Piadina Romagnola authentic italian recipe

Difficulty: easy
Preparation: 40 minutes Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 5-6 servings

Ingredients for my favourite Piadina dough (a bit thick, soft, easy to fold without cracking with a great rich and buttery taste):

  • 500 grams / 18 ounces / 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 75 grams / 2.70 ounces lard from rendered pork fat (called “strutto” in italian)
  • 8 grams / 2 tsp baking powder
  • 8 grams / 1 full tsp salt
  • 150ml / 3/4 cup / 5.00 Us fluid ounces whole milk
  •  ≈ or a bit less than 100ml / 1/2 cup / 3.40 Us fluid ounces water
General ingredients to make every kind of Piadina dough:
  • 500 grams / 18 ounces / 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 50 grams / 1.80 ounces / 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    OR
    75 grams / 2.70 ounces lard from rendered pork fat (called “strutto” in italian)
    OR
    a mix between them
  • 8 grams / 2 tsp baking powder
    OR
    1 tsp of baking soda
    OR
    no leavening agents
  • 8 grams / 1 full tsp salt
  • 250 ml / 1 1/4 cups / 8.5 Us fluid ounces of liquids (whole milk, water or both)
Instructions for all the Piadina recipes:

Combine lard (if used), flour and salt, then mix in water and/or milk, olive oil (if used), baking powder or baking soda (if used).

Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until quite smooth, uniform, soft but no sticky (if it’s sticky add more flour).

Make a ball and cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rest at least 30 minutes at room temperature (if the dough is being prepared more than 1 hour in advance, you can keep it in the fridge and when needed remove 1 hour before using it).

Heat Montetiffi pan or a non-stick pan over medium-high heat if you’re eating piadina immediately.

testo teglia montetiffi pan piadina

My used Montetiffi pan. Brown spots after using it are normal and they don’t affect the cooking process.

Divide the ball into several pieces (I suggest 5 – about 140-150gr each ball).

piadina romagnola dough balls

Roll out the dough into a circle with a rolling pin on a floured surface to the desired thickness (I like it thicker, 4mm-1/6in).

piadina piada rolled out circle

If you want the circle to be perfect, use a round cutter large enough.
As you can see I don’t mind! (so people know that are home made)

If you’re making large quantities of this recipe or want to rolled out piadina few hours in advance, I suggest you to stack up the rolled out dough by putting a baking paper sheet between each piadina until you’re ready to cook.

Once the pan is hot, add raw piadina, prick it all over with a fork to avoid air bubbles and cook for about 1-2 minutes for a thin piadina, 2-3 minutes for a thicker one or however until forming brown spots onto the bottom.

piadina flatbread pan testo montetiffi

Then flip and cook for about the same time.

piadina cooked testo montetiffi pan

Remember that piadina should be served hot, so it’s recommended to have your fillings ready.

Once cooked you can serve piadina immediately by placing your desired filling on a half and then close to a half moon or cutting it as is into triangles to use as a bread-substitute.

authentic italian piadina half moon

If you don’t serve piadinas right away, you can stack them up, put into a well-sealed plastic bag, and put in the fridge for about a week or in the freezer for a couple of months and when you want a quick meal just put cold or frozen piadina onto a pan until it’s hot enough (do not over cook).

piadina squacquerone parma ham salumi

Here I give you some ideas of ingredients to put in your piadina:

piadina salame parma ham mortadella speck

The savoury:

  • Parma ham or other cured meats (salami), soft cheese (the original squacquerone or cream cheese, or ricotta) and arugula/rocket;
  • roasted/caramelized onions and sausage;
  • cooked ham, fontina or taleggio or asiago cheese and mushrooms mayonnaise;
  • porchetta with onions;
  • smoked cheese and ham;
  • bell peppers and sausage;
  • cooked ham, mozzarella, mushrooms;
  • Parma ham, mozzarella and tomatoes;
  • mortadella (not baloney of course);
  • wurst and mustard (hot dog style);
  • sausage, pepperoni, onion and hot sauce;
  • sausage, onion, bell peppers and beans;
  • bacon cooked with balsamic vinegar and radicchio;
  • squash/pumpkin, sausage and mozzarella;

(sorry for the amount of pork meat choices but I was born and live in Emilia-Romagna region and as for every real Emiliano, we cannot live without pork meat, we will be seriously ill! :D)

  • roast-beef, mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato;
  • roast-beef, arugula/rocket and shredded Parmigiano Reggiano cheese;
  • roast-beef and roasted potatoes;
  • roasted potatoes and smoked cheese;
  • good quality canned tuna, mozzarella, tomatoes, oregano and mayonnaise;
  • mozzarella and grilled vegetables;
  • smoked salmon, dill and mayonaise or sour cream;
  • smoked salmon and cream cheese;
  • tomatoes, aurugula/rocket, mushrooms and shredded Parmigiano Reggiano cheese;
  • roasted/caramelized onions and gorgonzola cheese (or blu cheese);
  • sliced turkey breast, fontina or taleggio or asiago cheese and mushrooms mayonnaise.

Or the sweets:

  • Nutella or Nutella and mascarpone or Nutella and banana;
  • fruit jam or ricotta and fruit jam;
  • honey and cheeses;
  • white chocholate and shredded coconut.

best italian flatbread piadina closeup

So what’s your favourite recipe for piadina? The crispy, the soft, the thin or the thick? And what stuffing would you like to put in there?

As you can see, Piadina is a very simple recipe, tastier than other flatbreads, and you can fill it with a lot of ingredients to make it as a real meal. So that’s why piadina has earned its place in the gastronomic hall of fame, becoming one of the most loved and enjoyable italian foods.

Piadina Romagnola authentic Italian recipe and history about this typical Italian flatbread
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Authentic Italian Flatbread recipe for Piadina Romagnola and his history.
Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 5
Ingredients
Ingredients for my favourite Piadina dough (a bit thick, soft, easy to fold without cracking with a great rich and buttery taste):
  • 500 grams / 18 ounces / 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 75 grams / 2.70 ounces lard from rendered pork fat (called "strutto" in italian)
  • 8 grams / 2 tsp baking powder
  • 8 grams / 1 full tsp salt
  • 150ml / ¾ cup / 5.00 Us fluid ounces whole milk
  • ≈ or a bit less than 100ml / ½ cup / 3.40 Us fluid ounces water
General ingredients to make every kind of Piadina dough:
  • 500 grams / 18 ounces / 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 50 grams / 1.80 ounces / 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • OR
  • 75 grams / 2.70 ounces lard from rendered pork fat (called "strutto" in italian)
  • OR
  • a mix between them
  • 8 grams / 2 tsp baking powder
  • OR
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • OR
  • no leavening agents
  • 8 grams / 1 full tsp salt
  • 250 ml / 1¼ cups / 8.5 Us fluid ounces of liquids (whole milk, water or both)
Instructions
  1. Combine lard (if used), flour and salt, then mix in water and/or milk, olive oil (if used), baking powder or baking soda (if used).
  2. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until quite smooth, uniform, soft but no sticky (if it's sticky add more flour).
  3. Make a ball and cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rest at least 30 minutes at room temperature (if the dough is being prepared more than 1 hour in advance, you can keep it in the fridge and when needed remove 1 hour before using it).
  4. Heat Montetiffi pan or a non-stick pan over medium-high heat if you're eating piadina immediately.
  5. Divide the ball into several pieces (I suggest 5 - about 140-150gr each ball).
  6. Roll out the dough into a circle with a rolling pin on a floured surface to the desired thickness (I like it thicker, 4mm-1/6in).
  7. If you want the circle to be perfect, use a round cutter large enough.
  8. Once the pan is hot, add raw piadina, prick it all over with a fork to avoid air bubbles and cook for about 1-2 minutes for a thin piadina, 2-3 minutes for a thicker one or however until forming brown spots onto the bottom.
  9. Then flip and cook for about the same time.
  10. Remember that piadina should be served hot, so it's recommended to have your fillings ready.
  11. Once cooked you can serve piadina immediately by placing your desired filling on a half and then close to a half moon or cutting it as is into triangles to use as a bread-substitute.

Asparagus with onion and white wine

Here May is the season for asparagus so why not talking to you about a simple but delicious versatile recipe!
In fact, this recipe can be used as a vegetable side dish or as a sauce for pasta or as a filling along with ricotta for Tortelloni or Ravioli.


asparagus onion white wine italian best

Asparagus are really healthy vegetables and have detoxifying and diuretic effects. They are low in calories, loaded with vitamins and minerals, a good source of folic acid, vitamin A, B vitamins and vitamin C and are also a fair source of calcium and fiber.

So a lot of reasons to eat them!
bunch asparagus

The following ingredients are what I used for a bunch of thin asparagus but this is a recipe so simple that you can adapt it easily to your liking and to the amount of asparagus you have.

Asparagus with onion and white wine

Difficulty: easy
Preparation: 5 minutes Cooking Time: 8-20 minutes
Yield: ≈4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of asparagus (about 40 thin)
  • 3/4 medium onion
  • 1/4 cup butter and 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2/4 cup – 120 ml white wine (no bubbles)
  • ≈ 2/4 cup – 120 ml water
  • Salt and/or pepper to taste

Instructions:

Clean asparagus very well under cool running water to remove dirt and sand (the following first photos refer to larger asparagus).

asparagus colander

Remove the woody root ends of asparagus. If you don’t know how much you have to cut, a good trick is to just take the end of the asparagus between your thumb and forefinger and bend it until it breaks (you can save the woody roots to make an asparagus soup).

cut asparagus spear

Sometimes asparagus can develop a tough outer skin (especially the larger ones) so I like to peel it away too with a knife or a vegetable peeler.

peel asparagus outer skin

Here I leave the spears whole but you can cut them into smaller pieces if you like.

Halve the onion and cut it in really thin slices.

cut onion half onion cut slices

On a medium-high heat, put the butter or olive oil into a pan.
Add the sliced onion and let sauté for a minute.

onion sliced pan butter oil

Add the asparagus, salt and pepper to taste and mix a bit (here I used a small pan so it was a bit overcrowded, use a larger one if you can).

asparagus pan with onion

Add white wine and let it evaporate.

asparagus pan onion wine

Then add a bit of water and let them cook on a medium heat (adjust with some more water if the asparagus stick to the bottom of the pan).

The cooking time depends on the size and the thickness of the asparagus and of course to your taste! So you can check them by piercing the spears with a fork or a toothpick. They should be tender but still a bit firm (mine were thinner so they took about 10 minutes to be fully cooked).

asparagus pan cooked

Keep in mind that if asparagus are undercooked they’re not easy to chew while if they’re overcooked they become flabby.

So the best test would be to take a bite into one! 😉

The next picture shows large asparagus that I like the most because they are juicer, tender and less fibrous (once you peel away the outer skin, of course).

large asparagus dish onion

As I told you before you can cut them into little pieces, saving some tops for the garnish, and toss as a sauce over your favourite pasta.

If you use them as a Ravioli or Tortelloni filling, you need to cut them in very little pieces (along with the onion), put them in a colander to drain any liquid in excess (or pat with a towel) then in a bowl and add to almost equal part of drained ricotta and some grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
If the mixture is too wet, add some finely grated bread crumbs (not too much though!).

triangle_ravioli

So this is my favourite (healthy) way to eat asparagus instead of just boiling them, what’s yours?

asparagus dish

Asparagus with onion and white wine
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Delicious, easy and healthy Asparagus Italian style
Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 bunch of asparagus (about 40 thin)
  • ¾ medium onion
  • ¼ cup butter and 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2/4 cup - 120 ml white wine (no bubbles)
  • ≈ 2/4 cup - 120 ml water
  • Salt and/or pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Clean asparagus very well under cool running water to remove dirt and sand (the following first photos refer to larger asparagus).
  2. Remove the woody root ends of asparagus. If you don't know how much you have to cut, a good trick is to just take the end of the asparagus between your thumb and forefinger and bend it until it breaks (you can save the woody roots to make an asparagus soup).
  3. Peel away outer skin with a knife or a vegetable peeler if desired.
  4. Halve the onion and cut it in really thin slices.
  5. On a medium-high heat, put the butter or olive oil into a pan.
  6. Add the sliced onion and let sauté for a minute.
  7. Add the asparagus, salt and pepper to taste and mix a bit.
  8. Add white wine and let it evaporate.
  9. Then add a bit of water and let them cook on a medium heat (adjust with some more water if the asparagus stick to the bottom of the pan).
  10. Check them if they're done by piercing the spears with a fork or a toothpick. They should be tender but still a bit firm.

 

Roasted Potatoes Secrets – Soft Inside but Crunchy Outside (Patate Arroste)

HOW TO COOK ROASTED POTATOES WITH ITALIAN HERBS

Roasted potatoes can be very delicious if cooked perfectly, but sometimes it’s really a mess with soggy potatoes.
This is due to the high amount of starch contained in them, so you have to remove most of it.


roasted potatoes rosemary garlic italian best patate arroste soggy

Roasted Potatoes (patate arroste pronunciation: puh-tuh-teh urrost-a)

Difficulty: easy
Preparation: 15 min./1 hour Cooking Time: 65 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:
garlic rosemary

  • 1 kg / 2 lbs potatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves cut in half
  • 4 rosemary sprigs
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 200°C / 400°F / gas mark 6.
Rinse well and peel potatoes.
Cut them in about 1 inch/2.5 cm pieces.
potatoes cubes

Now choose one of the following procedures.

1° (the best)

Put water into a pot, large enough to contain the potatoes, then bring it to a boil.
Add 2 pinch of salt and 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar.
Add potatoes in the pot and cook them just for 3-5 minutes then drain thoroughly in a colander. Let them cool.

OR

Put potatoes in a bowl, cover with cold water and 2 tbsp of white wine for at least an hour. They will release all the starch in excess.

HOW TO COOK

Grease a pan with extra virgin olive oil, add the potatoes, sprinkle with rosemary and garlic cloves.
Sprinkle again with some extra virgin olive oil, mix and DO NOT add salt at this point.
rosemary garlic pan roasted potatoes crunchy soft italian

Put the pan in the oven and cook for at least an hour. Halfway in the cooking process give a stir.
10 minutes before cooking point, adjust with salt and/or pepper to taste.

You can cook potatoes on the stove, just halve the cooking time.

roasted potatoes best italian rosemary garlic

Roasted Potatoes (Patate Arroste) - soft inside but crunchy outside
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Secrets to make authentic Italian roasted potatoes, soft inside and crunchy outside.
Author:
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 kg / 2 lbs potatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves cut in half
  • 4 rosemary sprigs
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 200°C / 400°F / gas mark 6.
  2. Rinse well and peel potatoes.
  3. Cut them in about 1 inch/2.5 cm pieces.
Choose one of the following procedures.
  1. Put water into a pot, large enough to contain the potatoes, then bring it to a boil.
  2. Add 2 pinch of salt and 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar.
  3. Add potatoes into the pot and cook them for just 3-5 minutes then drain thoroughly in a colander. Let them cool.
OR
  1. Put potatoes in a bowl, cover with cold water and 2 tbsp of white wine for at least an hour. They will release all the starch in excess.
How to cook
  1. Grease a pan with extra virgin olive oil, add the potatoes, sprinkle with rosemary and garlic cloves.
  2. Sprinkle again with some extra virgin olive oil, mix and DO NOT add salt at this point.
  3. Put the pan in the oven and cook for at least an hour. Halfway in the cooking process give a stir.
  4. minutes before cooking point, adjust with salt and/or pepper to taste.
  5. You can cook potatoes on the stove, just halve the cooking time.