Piadina Romagnola (Thin, Rustic Italian Flatbread)

August 12, 2015

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: The humble piadina is a round, rustic, tortilla-like flatbread that is much-loved all over Italy. Although she doesn't give a recipe for it, Carol Field, in her fabulous cookbook The Italian Baker, calls it an ancestral flatbread and cites it as the predecessor of the focaccia and pizza we eat today.

It's best to eat a piadina right after it's made (some say no more than three minutes after it has come off the hot plate)—good thing that they're a cinch to make at home in almost no time.

Small balls of dough are rolled out thinly (less than a millimeter by the coast of Rimini and ranging up to to 5 millimeters further inland) and then cooked quickly, just a few minutes each side, at most, so they are still pliable. You'll use a fork to poke at the bubbles that appear while cooking and a long knife to flip the piadina over. These are the essential, simple instruments used to make this beloved peasant and street food.

This recipe is based on the guidelines set out by the "official" recipe of the real piadina romagnola for I.G.P. (Protected Geographical Indication) status.
Emiko

Makes: 4 piadine

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (250 grams) flour
  • 2 tablespoons (30 grams) olive oil
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup water (or as much as needed)
  • Fillings of your choice: prosciutto, fontina, Stracchino, arugula, Nutella, etc. (optional)
In This Recipe

Directions

  1. Combine the flour, olive oil and salt in a bowl. Mix a little by hand until you have an evenly crumbly mixture, then begin to pour in the water, little by little, until you have a soft, pliable dough that's not sticky or dry. You may not need all of the water or you may need a touch more, so this is good to do by hand rather than with a mixer so you can feel the progress of the dough (plus, it only takes a few minutes). Leave the ball of dough to rest for 30 minutes under a tea towel or wrapped in plastic wrap. When ready, it should be as elastic, soft, and smooth.
  2. Cut into 4 even portions (about 85 to 100 grams or 3 to 3 1/2 ounces each). Roll out on a lightly floured surface until about 2 millimeters thick (or up to 3 millimeters or 1/10 inch) and roughly 25 centimeters (10 inches) wide.
  3. Heat a flat nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium heat and when hot, cook one piadina at a time, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until bubbles begin to appear on the surface. Poke the bubbles with a fork to let the air escape, and then flip over. You want the piadine to be cooked but still very pliable and neither dry nor crunchy (you should be able to fold these without them breaking).
  4. Transfer the cooked piadine to a plate and then fill them with your chosen fillings (classic examples are prosciutto and fontina; Stracchino cheese and arugula; Nutella), fold in half, then heat again on a hot skillet until the fillings are warm. Serve immediately.
  5. Note: Although the piadine are best filled and eaten right away, you can make these ahead of time. Once they have cooled down to room temperature, keep them stored in an airtight container or well covered in plastic wrap. Eat them within a couple days (but like any bread, they are best when eaten fresh!).

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Reviews (7) Questions (0)

7 Reviews

Alex March 25, 2017
I have made this recipe 3 times and each time it's been great. I’ve tried several different types of flours (all purpose, bread, etc.) They all work but last night we used 00 or Pizza flour and it was the best yet. Also when I make it the dough never gives me confidence until I start to roll it out and voila - it’s great. THANK YOU for this recipe. We ate Piadina at our favorite Seattle restaurant and then moved 7 hours away. Now we make it at home. Wonderful!
 
Elaine S. August 19, 2015
Could you make one or two and save the dough in the fridge? Thanks, will try making these on the simmering plate of my AGA cooker.
 
Author Comment
Emiko September 9, 2015
These actually keep pretty well. You can make a couple and save the dough in the fridge for next day. Or you can cook them all and keep the piadine (well-wrapped) in the fridge -- although they are absolutely the best when freshly made, when they are reheated on a hot pan with the filling they do very well! My husband is known to make these for a week, kept well-wrapped in the fridge (but I'd recommend keeping a few days at most for best results)!
 
Smaug August 18, 2015
Could double as a recipe for flour tortillas.
 
lastnightsdinner August 18, 2015
Thank you for this. There's a place downstairs in my office building that sells piadina sandwiches that I love, and I was getting super sad about leaving them when we move in 2 weeks. Now I can make them at home!
 
Regine August 18, 2015
Bread flour or regular all purpose flour?
 
Author Comment
Emiko August 18, 2015
Regular flour - would've specified if it required a special flour! ;)