Erbazzone - Herb Tart

Herb tart from Emilia-Romagna Erbazzone


Herb Tart
Coming from Reggio-Emilio erbazzone is cucina povera or “poor cuisine” it's never traveled too far from home. It began as an everyday meal for peasants made with greens like chard, beet greens or spinach. It is sometimes referred to as scarpazzone after peasant families who would also use the white stem or the ‘scarpa’ (shoe) of the chard. This version is enriched with pancetta but if you need a vegetarian dish leave it out. There are some delicious Lambrusco wines available which is the wine the Italians would drink with this tart. A sauvignon blanc also pairs very well with it.
Serves 6

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons unsalted butter or lard, cold
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 tablespoons cold water

1 pound spinach, Swiss chard and/or beet greens
1/2 cup spring onions (or leek) including the green top, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 ounces pancetta
1 ounce Parmigiano
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Place the flours and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter in pieces and mix with the flour breaking the butter into small pieces by pinching it between your fingers and thumb with the flour. When the flour is the size of small peas sprinkle the water over and mix with a wooden spoon until it is well blended. Pinch the dough with your fingers it should hold together easily; if not then add another tablespoon of water. Shape into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

2. For the filling wash the greens. Remove the tough stems: fold the leaf on the rib and stem holding the leaf in you hand then pull from the stem to the tip of the leaf. Slice stems 1/4" thin then cut or tear the leaves into small pieces. Cook the stems first in boiling salted water for about 5 minutes then add the leaves and cook for one more minute. Drain in a colander, rinse with cold water then squeeze out the excess water when cool enough to handle.

3. Mince the pancetta and sauté in a pan with olive oil until it releases some of its fat. It doesn’t need to brown. Then add the onion and garlic and cook until translucent. Add the cooked greens and season with salt and pepper cook for a few minutes then remove from heat and leave to cool. Let cool for 5-10 minutes then mix in the ricotta and Parmigiano. Taste and add more cheese or salt if desired.

4. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Roll the dough out on parchment paper into at least a 14-inch circle. Trim the edge of the pastry using a pastry cutter or knife. Next cut a 1 1/2 inch long slit every 1 1/2 to 2 inches from the edge to the center. Use the parchment paper to slide the tart on to a baking sheet (keeping the paper under the tart).

5. Spread the filling over the pastry leaving a 2-3 inch border. Fold the petals up one at a time on to the filling, working in one direction on to the filling, over lapping them. Brush the rim with olive oil and sprinkle with a little sea salt. Bake in a 350F (180C) degree oven for 30 minutes. Let cool a few minutes and serve.

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Copyright © Julie Logue Riordan, Cooking with Julie