In a recent installment of The Batali Inquisition, Jody Williams, chef and owner of NYC’s (via Paris) Buvette is asked to describe her perfect meal. Answer? Erbazzone. What is this delicious food that’s considered the perfect meal by one of the most celebrated chefs of the moment? Find out here.
So, simply put, erbazzone is a pie or sandwich made with greens. Hailing from Emilia-Romagna, erbazzone is one of those simple but specific gastronomic specialties that never traveled too far from home. It began as an everyday meal to make use of seasonal greens like chard, beet greens, and spinach. This savory pie is sometimes referred to as scarpazzone after peasant families who would also use the white stem or the ‘scarpa’ (shoe) of the chard. Traditionally, erbazzone was most commonly found in the countryside, served as a snack with Lambrusco wine.
To make erbazzone, greens are sautéed, usually with aromatics like onion, garlic, and pancetta, and then placed inside a simple dough made with lardo or oil, along with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and eggs before baking.
A common variation includes a sweeter version, wherein the pancetta is replaced with ricotta and sometimes even almonds and sugar. Some people make it using puff pastry instead of dough. Some erbazzone are make in deep round pans and sliced into wedges, while other versions are rectangular and flat and cut into squares.
Erbazzone is just as good room temperature as it is straight from the oven, making it a popular street food in the region. Grab it room temperature from the bakery wrapped in a piece of wax paper and eat it on the go.
Since erbazzone can be hard to come by outside Emilia-Romagna, Mario lends his recipe so you can make it at home.