When we were little we had the traditional Sunday picnic: in the mountains, in the countryside by the sea with a basket  full of food. We sat on a plaid and the great organization for our family and  friends was food: always complete dishes considered perfect for picnics. The Erbazzone was  a very traditional picnic dish : a savory pie with a mixture of spinach, eggs and Parmigiano Reggiano, enclosed by two discs of handmade dough.

The original recipe of the Erbazzone involves using beets, but spinach, dandelion, borage or a mix of these herbs are possible

  In the past, lard was used for the preparation of the dough, which made it softer. Now we use butter or sometimes extra virgin olive oil.

Even for cheese, Parmigiano is a tradition, but there are versions of Erbazzone made with Grana Padano or other seasoned cheeses

This traditional  dish is perfect  also for office Desk lunches.

For the pastry:

250g flour                  50g butter             1 tablespoon oil

Pinch of salt               Water(1/2 a glass)

For the filling:

750g spinach            60g pancetta                  80g Parmigiano 

1 clove of garlic        1 spoonful parsley        1 egg                   Salt, pepper

Soften the butter.

Place the flour on a rolling-board and make a hollow in the centre. 

Place the softened pieces of butter in the hollow, add the olive oil and a pinch of salt.

 Knead and add a little water until you have a soft, smooth dough of medium consistency. 

Leave aside for 30 minutes. 

Cook the spinach  in water with a pinch of salt till very soft. Drain  the spinach and chop it. 

Slice the pancetta in dots. Chop garlic and parsley.

In a frying pan pour some oil, add  2/3 of the pancetta. Add spinach, parsley and garlic. 

Work in the egg, a little pepper and the  grated Parmigiano.  Roll out  the pastry and make two discs from it. 

Grease  the  pie  dish with some butter/use some parchment paper , and line it with the bigger disc.

 Fill with  the prepared mixture.

 Cover with the second disc.

 Pinch  the edges of the  discs together and then prick the surface with a fork. 

Place the remaining pancetta on top.

 Place in the oven at 200°C for one hour.                                                                                                                                                                                               

And now, why don’t we start to organise a picnic ?