I first fell for this dish when we were on our way up to Piemonte and made a quick stop for lunch in Chiavari on the Ligurian coast. We looked into the windows of various restaurants and felt that they looked a little too fancy for our midday meal. Finally we happened upon Luchin, where we were immediately drawn in by the simple menu and communal tables that were filled with locals having lunch. Of course I had to order pasta with pesto, being that we were smack dab in the home of this specialty, but this vegetable filled tart proved to be the perfect starter.
One of the things that I love about this vegetable crostata is the crust. Made with olive oil it comes together in a snap and is easy to roll out. I’ve made this with both the food processor and also by hand and both were simple to make and successful.
Serve the erbazzone with a salad for lunch or dinner or slice it into smaller pieces and include it in an antipasto platter.
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup extra-virigin olive oil
1/3 cup cold water
Put the 2 cups of flour and the salt in the food processor fitted with the medal blade. Pulse for a few seconds. Mix the oil with 1/3 cup cold water. With the food processor running, pour the liquid through the feed tube and process about 30 seconds, until a soft dough forms and gathers on the blade. If the dough is not coming together, it’s a little too dry. Add more water in small amounts, until you have a smooth, soft dough. I didn’t need any extra liquid.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured board and knead for a minute until it’s smooth and soft. Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 1/2 hour. You can refrigerate for up to a day. Let come to room temperature before rolling.
2 large bunches swiss chard (rinsed, stems and tough ribs cut off and discarded, leaves cut into 1″ strips)
1/ 4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove, peeled and minced
1 small onion, finely chopped
1-3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
3 large eggs
1/3 cup fine dry bread crumbs
Freshly grated nutmeg
1/3 cup drained ricotta cheese
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
small handfull of toasted pine nuts
1 egg beaten with a little water for brushing on crust
Bring water to boil in a large pot and add all the chard, submerging the strips. Boil for about 10 minutes, until the chard is tender. Drain and cool, then squeeze the leaves by hand, pressing out as much water as possible.
Pour the olive oil into a skillet and set it over medium heat. Stir in the chopped onion and garlic and cook until onion is softened (be careful not to burn the garlic). Add the drained chard, 1-1/4 teaspoons salt and mix to coat with the oil and cook for a few minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and cool briefly.
Beat the eggs with the remaining teaspoon salt in another bowl and stir into the warm chard. Add some freshly grated nutmeg, the cheese (ricotta and parmigiano), pine nuts and bread crumbs. Set aside until you are ready to bake.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Roll the dough out onto lightly floured work surface, gradually stretching it into a circle. Drape the sheet of dough over a parchment lined baking sheet.
Spread the filling onto the dough-lined pan in an even layer and then fold the flaps over, with the filling exposed in the middle. You could also bake this in a pie dish, making a double crusted pie. Brush egg wash over crust. Bake in the oven (on a pizza stone if you have one) for about 30 minutes, until the crust is golden and the filling is crisp on top. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes.