A few weeks ago I mentioned on twitter that I was making Italian-style quesadillas. Within minutes someone in Tuscany replied they really have a dish in Italy called piadina, and it’s very similar to what I was preparing for dinner.
All it took was a few clicks and keystrokes, and bingo, the homemade flour tortillas I usually make just needed a few tweaks to become a quick and easy Italian flatbread. I decided to take a few liberties with the traditional recipe since I wanted to keep it on the healthy side and also vegetarian. Extra-virgin olive oil took the place of lard. Usually there’s a bit of milk too, but I figured since the recipe also contained water, why not stick with it 100%—a bonus making these vegan as well.
The resulting flatbreads look very familiar to tortillas, but one bite and you’ll taste their distinct flavor. Once you layer a few fillings between your piadina, it’s your call whether you grill them or enjoy the sandwiches as-is. Personally the lure of gooey, melted mozzarella cheese is too hard for me to resist.
In an effort to control portion sizes, these piadina are smaller than traditional ones. If you’d like a larger size, then divide the dough into 6 pieces instead of 8, and follow the directions from there.2 cups (10.5 ounces) all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons (5 grams) baking powder
3/4 teaspoon (3 grams) fine sea salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup warm water
Sandwich fillings of your choice
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt to combine. Using a fork, stir in the olive oil. Pour in the water, and using a wooden spoon, stir until the mixture forms a rough dough. Turn out onto a clean counter (you do NOT need to flour it beforehand). Knead the dough a few times until it becomes smooth.
- Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.
- Divide the dough into eight equal pieces. Take a ball of dough and starting at the center, gently press it out into a circle using your fingertips. Switch to a rolling pin and gently finish rolling it out into an 8-inch round. Pierce the surface a few times with the tines of a fork. Repeat with the remaining balls of dough.
- Place a formed piadina in the preheated skillet, and let it cook until golden with some dark or charred spots on the underside (it may also puff up a little). Flip the piadina and cook until the other side is golden with a few dark spots as well. Serve warm the sandwich fillings of your choice.