Christine Hickman took a break from her summer sojourn in Italy and gnocchi testing to teach a class at Las Cosas focusing on Italian Street Food. The class was packed and all of us had fun creating hand-held snacks that would be extremely tasty at a dinner or cocktail party.
Johnny Vee tells us what he thinks. Inquiring minds want to know.
Christine explains Piadina
Piadina is a flat bread from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. Rolled very thin and cooked on a griddle it can be filled with almost anything you like. We used ricotta, cooked Italian sausage and shredded onions. Absolutely delicious.
(makes 7-8 piadine)
- 4 cups unbleached flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup shortening preferably lard, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup lukewarm water
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- A 10-inch cast iron skillet or griddle
In a standing electric mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, baking soda and 2 teaspoons of salt. Add the lard and mix at medium-low speed until evenly combined. Slowly add the milk and water, mixing until the dough forms a mass around the hook. Add more liquid if necessary to make a medium-stiff and workable dough.
Increase the speed to medium and knead until smooth, 5 minutes. Wrap in plastic and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes or refrigerate up to 12 hours. Bring to room temperature before shaping and rolling.
When the dough has rested, cut it into pieces about the size of a large egg, making about 8 pieces. Shape each piece into a ball. Taking one ball at a time, flatten it into a disc and roll it out, flipping and rolling in different direction to make a very thin disk about 1/16-inch thick. Keep rolling, reserving the rolled piadine on a tray.
Heat the cast-iron skillet or griddle over medium heat until a drop of water skips across the surface. Place one of the disks of dough on it, cook without moving it for 10 seconds. If it puffs up, tamp down the bubbles with a spatula. check the underside and when it is white with dark spots, flip it over with a spatula to cook the other side. Prick it here and there with a fork and continue cooking another 3-4 minutes, rotating and flipping it frequently to cook it evenly and keep it from scorching. When done, it should have a dull, parched, white surface mottled with random burn marks.
Slide it out of the skillet onto a plate or wooden surface and over with a clean cloth. Continue cooking the rest of the piadine.