The story of my piadina recipe started with a book, alas, out of print now — Grilled Cheese: 50 Recipes to Make You Melt by Marlena Spieler. I saw it in a second-hand book shop. It called to me and sang the song of my people, cheeeeeeese.

I flipped it open and selected the first recipe I wanted to try: Fresh Mozzarella, Tomato, Thai Basil, and Gorgonzola Piadine. The idea of this “grilled cheese” on folded flatbread made me salivate just looking at the words on the page. One problem: it called for piadina or, in a pinch, flour tortillas. And I wasn’t entirely certain of the difference between the two.

stack of homemade piadine

I’m not talking about the tortillas you buy in the supermarket. I use those for wraps and burritos all the time — they’re great as containers for tons of other fresh, flavorful ingredients, but they don’t really bring their own special magic to a meal. No, I’m talking about homemade flour tortillas — the bubbly, flexible flatbread that occasionally outright steals the show.

After some strategic research, I discovered that, while both are flour-based flatbreads, tortillas traditionally incorporate lard, and piadina get their fat from olive oil. Which meant — to my great amusement — that the flour tortilla recipe I adapted to suit my own tastes years ago? It’s actually a piadina recipe.

dough for piadina

From piadina novice to piadina expert in 30 seconds flat

So, I already had a trusty piadina recipe — self-rising flour, salt, extra virgin olive oil, and warm milk. Excellent! Then I looked at the melty goodness of the sandwich I wanted to make. Then I looked back at my piadina dough. And I thought, I can make this even better.

Out came the herbs and spices.

The dough comes together quickly. I knead it by hand for 2-3 minutes and then shape it into a ball, cover it with a damp towel, and allow it to rest 20-30 minutes. I then divide it into eight sections, roll them into balls, cover, and let the dough rest 20 minutes more.

dough separated into eight sections for piadina

They cook in a minute flat — 30 seconds per side in a hot, hot, hot cast iron skillet. Flip when the dough has bubbles rising across its surface.

piadina, just starting to bubble as it cooks

And when they’re all done and in a stack? I love these for so many different things, including, of course, the grilled cheese sandwich that started it all. But beyond that I make them all the time for garlic-broccoli tacos, breakfast egg sandwiches — basically, anything where I want a flexible flatbread packed with yum. You just can’t go wrong with these little beauties! They fold divinely and are strong enough to hold even a gooey drippy tomato and cheese filling.

Pro-tip: layer any fillings or toppings on the flat side of the piadina. You want the bubbly side to form the outside of your sandwich. The air bubbles against your tongue give this bread its light and airy feel.

Enjoy!

Fresh Mozzarella, Tomato, Thai Basil, and Gorgonzola Piadine on homemade herb-seasoned piadina

Print Recipe
Savoury Herb Piadina
A delicious herb-seasoned piadina (Italian flatbread) that can be made in an hour -- and most of that time is spent letting the dough rest!
stack of homemade flour tortillas
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes total
Passive Time 40 minutes
Servings
piadine
Ingredients
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes total
Passive Time 40 minutes
Servings
piadine
Ingredients
stack of homemade flour tortillas
Instructions
  1. Mix together flour, salt, olive oil, and herbs, stirring to combine after each addition. Add milk last.
  2. Mix to form a loose ball and then knead for about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Shape dough into a ball, cover with a damp cloth, and let rest for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Separate dough into 8 sections and roll each section into a ball. Set the balls on a plate or other flat surface. Do not allow them to touch. Re-cover with the damp cloth and allow to rest another 20 minutes.
  5. On a floury surface, stretch or roll dough balls into 8" circles. Keep circles covered until ready to cook. Do not stack them without a bit of cloth or parchment paper in between.
  6. Preheat a cast iron skillet on high and cook the piadine about 30 seconds per side. Flip when you see bubbles forming, then remove from heat when both sides have flecks of golden brown.

    Please note: the unincorporated flour clinging to the piadine that helped you roll them out will fall off in the skillet and start to smoke. I recommend rolling all the piadine first, then cooking them quickly, one after another, to limit the time the flour is in the pan. Make sure your ventilation fan is on throughout. Later piadine will cook faster than the early ones, so watch them carefully.
  7. Store piadine wrapped in a cloth napkin inside a gallon-sized Ziploc bag in the fridge for 4-5 days. Reheat in dry skillet or in oven.
Recipe Notes

To make the Fresh Mozzarella, Tomato, Thai Basil and Gorgonzola Piadine from Marlena Spieler's amazing book, preheat your broiler and top each piadine with about a tablespoon of tomato paste, thin slices of tomato, a pinch of minced garlic, slices of fresh mozzarella and gorgonzola, a couple of Thai basil leaves, a teaspoon of freshly grated Parmesan, and a drizzle of olive oil. Place your piadine on a baking sheet and broil until the cheese melts. Fold and serve immediately.

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Piadine, the classic Italian flatbread you can’t live without
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