Makes 6 piadinas
Find out here how to make a grilled chicken and cheese piadina with our step by step recipe! Piadina is an easy to make flatbread from the Romagna region and is undoubtedly one of the most popular types of breads for making wraps and sandwiches in Italy. Piadina’s soft yet flaky texture and moreish flavour is perfect for all sorts of fillings, and our grilled chicken and cheese piadina is the perfect recipe for a light lunch or dinner. Cut it up into smaller wedges and it will even be fit for a party!
Makes 6 piadinas
The origins of piadina goes far back in history. It is an authentic Italian street food that was prepared in special heated terracotta plates in ancient Rome, where it has its beginnings as a poor man’s dish. Despite the passage of time, it has remained almost identical in its preparation apart from how it is cooked (terracotta plates have made way for non-stick pans, which are clearly more convenient for the home cook). The most classic filling, as per the tradition in Romagna, is made of soft, gooey squacquerone cheese, shavings of prosciutto, and a small handful of arugula. All over Italy, you will find piadina available with all varieties of cold cuts, cheeses, vegetables and even sweet creams, served at food trucks, cafes, casual restaurants and bars, where it is sold as a late night snack.
This recipe for piadina with grilled chicken and cheese is a gourmet treat that anyone can prepare at home. The process for making your own piadina flatbread is easier than you think, and apart from the resting time, it doesn’t involve too much hands-on work. Of course, if you are looking for a shortcut, you can go for pre-made piadina breads available at your local store.
Play around with the filling – we choose soft, milky mozzarella cheese here that pairs beautifully with salty, flavoursome pesto, but any semi-hard cheese will do – just choose one that will melt for that oozy cheese factor.
1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, lard or shortening, and baking soda.
2. Start adding the water a few tablespoons at a time, working the dough with your free hand. Continue working the dough until all the flour has come together, and the liquid appears evenly distributed. Form a ball, cover in plastic and let rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.
3. After it has rested, remove the plastic and divide the dough into 6 portions. Roll each piece between your hands to form 6 even balls. Place them all in a plastic bag and let rest for a further 30 minutes.
4. Whilst the dough is resting, cook the chicken: season the chicken and add to a hot grill. Cook for a few minutes on both sides until cooked through. Set aside the chicken until it is cool enough to handle, then cut into bite size pieces.
5. After the second rest, lightly flour a cutting board or work surface and start rolling out the dough with a rolling pin. Each dough should roll out to a 22 cm round, about 2-3 mm thick. Repeat for all 6 pieces.
6. Now it is time to cook the piadina: heat a non-stick pan on a medium high heat, add the flattened piadina dough and cook for about 2 minutes on one side.
7. Flip over and using just half of the surface of the piadina, spread over some pesto, followed by the mozzarella pieces, the chicken, and layer over the spinach. Fold over the piadina to close it into a half moon shape, press down lightly for a few seconds and remove from pan. Repeat for the other piadinas and serve warm.
Where the name “piadina” derives from is subject to many interpretations depending on who you talk to! Some say that it came from the Greek word for focaccia, platokis, while some refer to the Romagna dialect piè, pies as its origin. There are yet others who connect it to the fiadone of Abruzzo which is prepared in a similar way to the piadina. Then there is also the name of the wooden board on which baking products are placed, piàdena… whatever theory you decide to believe, just make sure to pronounce it right, as the Italians do: pee-a-dee-na.