October 25, 2021
Erbazzone, is a specialty of Reggio Emilia and Piacenza. I first discovered it while visiting friends in Reggio. This dense and savory rustic two crusted torta is found in all of the pastry shops and is usually made in long rectangular pans and cut into squares. Customers buy it as street or picnic food!
The word erbazzone comes from erbe, meaning herbs or grass and is usually made with Swiss chard or spinach with the optional addition of herbs like thyme or parsley. When the filling is encased in a slightly sweetened pastry crust it is called erbazzone; when made without a crust it is called scarpazzone.
This pie actually has an ancient history going back to Roman times. Today, there are many variations of the recipe; some use a pastry made with only flour, lard, water, and salt. Some add olive oil instead of lard or butter and some like to sweeten the pastry dough with a little sugar.
The filling can be flavored with pancetta, onions and parsley. In Reggio, ricotta cheese, raisins and often candied citron is in the mix. This rustic pie is delicious served hot or at room temperature and can also be cut into small bite size pieces as part of an antipasto.