Piadina romagnola by Luigi
It has been awhile since I have thought about creating this section, but I finally started thanks to Luigi who kindly shared his story and recipe with me and all of you. He has been following my site for quite awhile and when we started to exchange emails I asked him what he thought about writing his story and a recipe. He wrote me right away and sent me his wonderful story and a classic recipe from the Romagna region (Emilia Romagna). It’s Luigi’s turn now:
At the age of 23 I decided to leave my country because the work was scarce and the pay was always accounts. There was never a full pay and sometimes there was no pay because the furniture that we were making did not sell, so there was no pay at all. I left from Genova on the boat Saturnia on 9/1949 and arrived in N.Y. 3 weeks after with little money in my pocket and no knowledge of the language. To find a job I took the want ads in the Italian paper Progresso and asked any police man for the directions. I found a job at 20 dollars a week it wasn’t much but it was a start. After awhile I got on my feet and got jobs at Davega, Gimbel, Bloomindale, Brichel’s and Uneeda. After work I used to go on house calls to repair furniture. I did not know how to cook an egg but I learned fast. I had to because I had to save as much as I can to send my family the money for the fare that they borrowed.
Through friends I met a wonderful Sicilian girl that I still love very much, in fact we still hold hands wherever we go, and she helped me to learn English. I have 2 wonderful kids, they are really grown but for me they are still kids. I live not too far from them and not too close. They have there own lives and come to eat every Sunday in my house and love the Italian cooking. I cook Romagnolo and my wife cooks Sicilian between the two of us it comes out perfect.
Now I am enjoying my senior years and I thank God every day that he gave me my health. I go to Italy for my vacations to visit my family and friends, whoever is left, but my home is in Westchester NY and it’s here that I will spend the rest of my life.
Regards to all,
4 cups of flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
2 tsp. salt
1. In a bowl add the flour, baking powder, salt, oil and the water. Add a little bit of water at the time because your flour can absorb more or less water than mine.
2. Mix the ingredients quickly. The dough has to be kneaded well. I use the kitchen aid machine because saves you some strength.
3. Use a flat frying pan and warm it up, get a rolling pin and a small piece of dough at the time and flat it out to look like a small dinner plate. When flat, cook it on the frying pan, when you start to see small bubbles turn it over and cook another minute and it’s done. While it’s cooking flatten another peace and so on.
It makes: 12 big piadine
It is a lot of Piadina so I put it in the refrigerator and every time I’m hungry I put it in the toaster to warm up and eat it with any cold cuts but I prefer greens in between, like cabbage or spinach. I have a sweet tooth so I put in between some fruit preserve, also good.
1. I didn’t use any electrical appliances and they came out fabulous, even if it was a little more work.
2. I was surprised when I read in the ingredients the usage of olive oil, piadine are usually made with leaf lard but they came out better and lighter.
3. To make the dough round, roll it and turn it clockwise, roll it and turn it about 4 times, then turn it over and start again. it will take a little bit of practice to make it right. Mine aren’t perfectly round yet but they were good anyway.
3. Luigi prepares piadine using the cheeses and ingredients available in the States. I made them (see pictures) with my two favorite fillings: argula and stracchino cheese, and cured ham (prosciutto crudo) with mozzarella. In Romagna they use squacquerone instead of stracchino. I also like to fill my piadina with ham, mozzarella, some lettuce and few thin slices of tomatoes. If you have a sweet tooth like Luigi, Nutella® could be your choice.