Last night I attempted a pasto squisito called “Erbazzone” that originated in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy (where the culinary capital Bologna also lies).  I actually first heard of the dish last week while studying Italian using my Babbel app.  Although it costs money, I’ve been loving the lessons on Babbel!  I’ve used DuoLingo for a year which is a fabulous free program, but I’ve finished all the lessons on there.  I’ve also completed all five levels of Rosetta Stone, which is super expensive and the conversations feel so outdated.  On Babbel, they talk about Facebook and lots of FOOD!

Anyway, the way the pretend people described erbazzone in the lesson made my mouth water, and I just knew I had to find a recipe for it on Pinterest.  I decided to attempt the one from Kitchen Joy that is adapted from Mario Batali’s recipe.  The plan was to follow the recipe exactly, but an hour into the recipe with a crying baby in the other room and at least another hour to go before dinner would be ready, I decided to make a few changes to make it go faster!  Instead of putting some of the pancetta, garlic, and shallots to the side, it all went into the pan.  I did blanche the spinach separately while wishing I had noticed sooner that it all needed to be blanched because I would have bought frozen spinach!  I also threw in all the Parmigiano-reggiano I had grated, because there’s no way I would ever taste the pie and think, “this doesn’t need more cheese.”

The recipe was a big hit with PB!  It took too long to try out on LB, but we’re still working on getting him to eat leafy greens anyway.  If you are looking for a (slightly) more complicated recipe than your usual supper, and you have some spare time, I would recommend trying erbazzone!  Plan for 2.5 hours start to finish so that you can take your time and enjoy the process.  There’s some down time in there too, and I would recommend you make a side to go with the pie.  But you can clean the kitchen, sew some drapes, read a good book, or write a blog post instead! 😉

Some changes I would make for next time are to use a different pie crust recipe and less expensive ingredients.  Here is my modified recipe.

Pie Crust (From A Year of Pies cookbook / Design Sponge)

  • 2.5 cups all-purpose flour (replace up to 1/2 cup with cake flour)
  • 1.25 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter (cold!)
  • 0.75 cup ice water
  1. Mix the flour and salt together in a medium-sized bowl.
  2. Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter or a fork.
  3. Use a fork to incorporate the water, a little at a time.  Stop as soon as the dough comes together – you might not need all the water.
  4. Separate the dough into two equal parts and make two balls but try not to overwork the dough or the crust will be tough.  Flatten the balls into disks and put into the fridge for at least 30 minutes.  You want them to be cold for when you roll them out or else they’ll stick.

Erbazzone

  • 1 tablespoon olive or canola oil
  • 2-3 slices of bacon, cut into pieces (If you omit, add 2 tablespoons oil to the pan.)
  • 1 small onion (about .5 cup), diced
  • 0.5 pound mushrooms, sliced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 20 ounces frozen spinach (two boxes, or 2 pounds fresh spinach to be blanched)
  • 2 cups freshly grated Parmesan
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  1. Start by making your pie crust.  You can work on the filling while it chills in the fridge.
  2. Heat a large skillet to medium-low with the tablespoon of oil.  Add the bacon bits and wait for the fat to render.
  3. Add the onions and cook until they turn translucent or even a little brown (5-10 minutes).  Salt and pepper the onions a bit to encourage them.
  4. While the onions cook, squeeze the water from the spinach using a colander or dishtowel.  The more you can dry it out, the better.
  5. Add the mushrooms into the pan and after another 3-4 minutes add the garlic.
  6. Mix in the spinach and let it cook for 5 minutes.  This will dry it out even more and incorporate the oil and pan flavors into the greens.
  7. Take the pan off the heat and transfer the filling to a large bowl to cool slightly.
  8. At this point, preheat your oven to 400 degrees F, and roll out your dough.  There’s a lot of filling so roll it a bit larger than you would for a standard pie (about 13 inch diameter or as large as you can fit on your pan while not falling apart).  Place one piece of dough on your pan on a Silpat or parchment paper.
  9. After 5 minutes of resting, stir in the Parmesan and the eggs to your filling.  Be careful that it’s not too hot because you don’t want the eggs to cook!
  10. Dump all the filling (carefully) onto the piece of dough on your pan.  Leave an inch border all around.  Wet the edges using a bit of water, and place the second piece of dough over the top.  Press the edges together and roll them toward the center (see picture above).
  11. Cut a few holes in the top, and if you want it to look very pretty, brush the top of the pie with egg wash or a little oil.
  12. Bake the pie for 40 minutes.  Let it cool for 5-10 minutes before enjoying!

Serves 4 as a main course, 6-8 if served with sides

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