Umbrian Griddle Baked Flat BreadClick to Play

Umbrian Griddle Baked Flat Bread

Torta sul Testo

Mary Ann Esposito

Makes 6 Rounds or 12 Small Sandwiches

Flat bread cooked on a dry skillet is reminiscent of some of the first unleavened breads. In Umbria this has evolved into torta sul testo or bread baked in earthenware. I use a dry electric skillet. If you have a stovetop griddle, that will work well too. Torta sul testo is often served with a stuffing of bitter greens such as spinach or broccoli rape; or serve them warm without a stuffing, accompanied by Pecorino cheese, and oil cured olives for an antipasto.

FILLING

20 ounces fresh spinach, stemmed and rinsed well
2 tablespoons Filippo Berio Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 pound prosciutto, diced
Grinding coarse black pepper

DOUGH

3 1/2 cups King Arthur™ Unbleached, All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 large egg
3 tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
6 tablespoons grated Pecorino cheese
Warm water as needed

DIRECTIONS

Cook the spinach without the addition of any water, covered, in a 2-quart pot about 3 or 4 minutes or just until it wilts down. Transfer the spinach to a colander and squeeze it dry with a wooden spoon or let it cool, and squeeze it dry with your hands. On a cutting board chop the spinach fine and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan; add the prosciutto, and cook it until it begins to brown and crisp. Stir in the spinach, and a good grinding of black pepper, and mix well. Set the filling aside, and make the dough.

Mix the flour, and baking soda together in a bowl. In another bowl, beat the egg, olive oil, and cheese together. Add this to the flour mixture, and mix with your hands to obtain a soft dough. Add warm water, 2 tablespoons at a time, if the dough seems dry. It should feel soft and pliable. Knead the dough on a floured surface for 5 minutes or until it is smooth and elastic. Let it rest covered for 10 minutes. Divide the dough into 6 pieces and roll each piece into a 6-inch circle. Set the circles aside on a floured surface.

Heat a cast-iron griddle, frying pan, or an electric frying pan until hot. Prick the circles all over with a fork. This will help to keep the rounds flat as they cook. Use a small glass to make overlapping circle designs on each piece. These marks are decorative. Place one or two of the circles on the hot pan; do not cook more than two at a time. Cook until they have browned slightly on the bottom, about 3 or 4 minutes, then turn them over and brown them on the other side.

Transfer the circles to a wire rack to cool completely.

Divide the spinach mixture among 3 of the circles; top with the remaining three circles. With a knife cut each into 4 wedges to make 12 sandwiches.

Serve warm.

This recipe is from CIAO ITALIA IN UMBRIA by Mary Ann Esposito, published by St. Martin's Press in 2002.

item recipe is featured in Episode 1216 of Season 12.

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