This Italian flatbread recipe or piadina is a yeast-free bread made from a few simple ingredients. It is rich, crispy, fragrant at every bite, and tastes delicious. Ready to replace your pizza night!
If you already are crazy about this Italian flatbread recipe, I suggest you try more of my Italian savory food. As this one-pot chicken with tender red peppers is so divine, not to mention this Sunday supper butternut squash lasagna, my fav. While if you have more of a sweet tooth try this indulgent Italian fudgy chocolate cake or this chocolate crostata with ricotta cheese.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Crispy and slightly spicy flavors;
- Easy to make;
- Great make-ahead recipe;
- Perfect for game party, appetizer, easy dinner.
This piadina recipe is quite different from the well know Romagna piada style, which is too dry for my personal tastes. The piadina I am talking about is from Urbino, a beautiful Renaissance city known to be the birthplace of the painter Raphael. In fact, this delicious piada called Crescia Sfogliata dates back to 1400 during the Montefeltro dukes.
What makes this Italian flatbread recipe so indulgent and different is the presence of the lard and the black pepper. After the dough is rolled into a fine layer, the lard is spread all over it and it is re-rolled again into a snail shape. The result is to die for, a layered crispy, soft, peppery, and fragrant piada, ready to be filled with cheese and cured meat.
There is always a good time to enjoy this delicious recipe, think about an Italian flatbread sandwich bar to host in your home. Next time you are inviting over some friends or family members for a game party prepare a full table of piada along with different cured meats board, cheese, and vegetables. So your guest will be making their favorite fillings while watching the match. I am sure they will be crazy about it. While, if you are looking for more formal dining, you could serve them as appetizers. Cut them into squares and top them with cheese and cured meat.
The ingredients to make this piadina recipe are few and are available in every store. You will not have problems in finding them.
Flour– it is typically made with 00 or 0 flour. However, the alternative here in the UK is plain flour with 11% protein.
Egg– use medium free-range or organic at room temperature.
Milk– use whole milk at room temperature. It will give a richer taste to it.
Water– room temperature water. Makes the dough soft.
Salt and black pepper- black pepper makes the Crescia slightly spicy without interfering with the overall taste.
Lard – use the best quality lard you can find. The lard is what makes the piada crispy, fragrant, and super luxurious, so don’t skip it.
STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTION*
*Note: this is just a quick introduction. Please read the recipe card for the full instructions.
The preparation can’t be more simple than that, just a few ingredients mixed. Moreover, if you are in a rush you can prepare the piadina recipe by using a stand mixer.
Make the dough
Add the flour, the egg, salt, black peppers, milk, and water in a medium bowl.
Mix until you have a smooth dough, cover it with some cling film or cloth. Leave it to rest for 1 hour.
Divide the dough
Divide the dough into 5 balls of 135 gr each.
Spread the lard and shape it
Roll each ball to approximately 27 cm in diameter with a rolling pin. Spread the lard on each ball very gently, making sure to don’t break the layer of the dough.
Roll the piada on itself, and pull the sides with your hands. Don’t pull too hard or it will break. When you have a long tube-like start by twisting it and rolling it on itself to make a snail shape.
Cover the snails with cling film and leave them to rest* in the fridge from 1 up to 48hours.
*Note: the resting time depends on the time you have. The more stays in the fridge the more crispy will be.
Roll out the dough
Roll each snail to approximately 26 cm diameter and 3 mm thin with a rolling pin. Don’t over roll the snail, it shouldn’t be very thin. Store the round bases on a plate with a little dust of flour between each other.
Heat a medium non-stick frying pan on medium heat. Once the pan is hot, just place the piada in the pan. Turn over the piada once is starting to get bubbles on the surface and is turning golden-brown under, about 2 minutes. Now cook* it for further 2 minutes to the other side. Cover the piadina with a kitchen towel while toasting the others, this will keep them warm.
*Note: watch the cooking of the piada to prevent burning it out. Every now and then have a look under it to see it is turning black. Turning down the heat if is too hot.
Every time I have been asking for this Italian flatbread recipe, the same question pops “What do you put inside the piadina?”. This is a good question. In fact, I don’t recommend using mayonnaise, ketchup, or any other sauces. This recipe has a distinct flavor given it from the lard and the black peppers, and it shouldn’t be treated like tacos. For this matter, I have listed my fav way to fill the piada.
Grilled or baked vegetables such as aubergine, courgettes, peppers, and onions. Salads such as rocket (arugula) or stir-fried radicchio will give a peppery taste. Cooked greens such as a mix of chard with spinach or a combination of chicory catalogna (or called puntarelle, use the green leaves) and chard. I suggest boiling the greens and then stir-frying them for 5 minutes with some extra virgin olive oil, salt, and garlic.
Not all the cheese goes well with this Italian flatbread recipe. My advice would be to use a mild soft cheese such as Stracchino, Squacquerone, Robiola, or Gorgonzola dolce. While for the semi-hard or matured cheese I suggest you use Caciotta or Pecorino made from cow’s milk or sheep’s milk. Such us Pecorino Toscano, Pecorino di Pienza, Caciotta di Urbino or Manchego cheese. Mozzarella wouldn’t be the best choice as it tends to wet the flatbread and it may break it while eating it. However, the Smoked Scamorza Mozzarella would be perfect to use.
Fresh sausages are delicious to use in the piadina, serve it stir-fried in the pan or roasted in the oven for this recipe. If you want to relish the Italian taste try to buy fennel sausages. However, if are not available any sausages would be fine. Cured meat or salumi are my top choices. I just adore them in fact, I always have some in my fridge. Choose from a good Parma ham prosciutto, Bresaola, Speck, Cured Lonzino or Capocollo. Moreover, try out Salami Milano, Salami Napoli, Spianata salami, Finocchiona salami or any other Italian salami. Mix and match and have fun!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What do you put inside flatbread?
Above I have listed all the ingredients that would match with the piada. Here are some of my fav way to fill the flatbread. The classic is Parma ham or bresaola with rocket (arugula) and stracchino (or any other soft cheese). Another great match would be stir-fried greens or grilled veggies with roasted sausage and pecorino cheese. Again, stir-fried greens or grilled veggies with pecorino or any other soft cheese.
Can I use butter instead of lard for flatbread?
No, I wouldn’t swap the butter with the lard. The reason why is that the lard gives a different taste and texture to it.
How long does flatbread last in the fridge?
The flatbread will have to be kept in the fridge for up to 2 days, once cooked. Keep it wrapped in aluminum foil.
Can you freeze flatbread?
Yes, of course. I suggest you freeze the flatbread once it has a snail shape in a container with a lid for up to 1 month. Take them out from the freezer 5 hours before cooking them and rolled them with a rolling pin. Use some flour to prevent the flatbread to stick to your working surface.
How do you reheat flatbread?
You could reheat the flatbread in a preheated medium non-stick frying pan for 1 minute on each side.
Italian flatbread recipe – authentic piadina
- Medium Bowl
- Rolling Pin
- Small round tip knife
- Medium non-stick frying pan
- 440 gr plain flour 11% protein
- 1 medium eggs room temperature
- 150 gr whole milk
- 50 gr water room temperature
- 1 gr ground black pepper
- 5 gr salt
- 100 gr lard room temperature
Make the dough
- Add the flour, the egg, salt, black peppers, milk, and water in a medium bowl. Alternatively, use a stand mixer to make the dough. Mix all the ingredients with a fork very quickly, once all the ingredients are combined together pour it on a work surface. Work the dough until you have a smooth ball, cover it with some cling film or cloth. Leave it to rest for 1 hour.
Divide the dough
- Divide the dough into 5 balls of 135 gr each.
Roll the balls
- Dust the work surface and the top of the ball with some flour. Roll each ball to approximately 27 cm in diameter with a rolling pin. Keep dusting with some flour if too sticky. Spread the lard on each ball very gently with a round tip knife, making sure to don't break the layer of the dough.
- Roll the piada on itself, then pull the sides with your hands. Don't pull too hard or it will break. When you have a long tube-like, start by twisting it and rolling it on itself to make a snail shape.
- Cover the snails with cling film and leave them to rest in the fridge from 1 up to 48hours. The resting time depends on the time you have. The more it stays in the fridge, the more crispy will be.
Roll the piadina
- Dust the work surface and the top of the snails with some flour. Now, roll each snail to approximately 26 cm diameter and 3 mm thin with a rolling pin. Keep dusting with some flour if too sticky. Don't over-roll up the snail, it shouldn't be very thin. Store the round bases on a plate with a dust of flour, to prevent them from sticking to each other.
Toast the piadina
- Heat a medium non-stick frying pan on medium heat. Once the pan is hot, just place the piadina in the pan. Turn over the piada once it is starting to get bubbles on the surface and it is turning golden-brown under, about 2 minutes. Use a spatula to flip it over. Watch the cooking of the piada to prevent burning it. Have a look every now and then on the down side to see if it is turning black. Turn down the heat if is too hot.
- Now cook it for further 2 minutes to the other side. Cover the piadina with a kitchen towel while toasting the others, this will keep them warm.
- Serve the piada with cheese, cured meat, and veggie.