Erbazzone with Squash Filling
Adapted from “Cooking from the Heart of Italy” (Knopf, 2009, $35), by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali
For the dough:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup water
- Put the flour and the salt in the bowl of food processor; pulse to mix.
- Mix the oil with the water and pour into the flour mixture with the processor running. Add a little more water, a tablespoon at a time, if the dough is too dry.
- The dough should be soft and smooth.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead for a minute.
- Cover with plastic and let rest for about ½ hour.
For the filling:
- 1 medium butternut squash, grated
- 3 cups milk
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 2 tablespoons butter (I used Smart Balance)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs
- 2 bunches scallions, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 ¼ cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup fresh ricotta (homemade is best if you can find it)
- 1 pint heavy cream
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Squeeze as much liquid as you can out of the grated squash by placing it into a clean dish towel and wringing it well.
- Put the milk into a saucepan and set it over medium heat. Add the rice, butter, or Smart Balance, and ½ teaspoon salt. Heat to a boil, stirring occasionally.
- Add the squash and adjust the heat to keep the milk simmering away until it has all been absorbed. This should take about 12 minutes, and the rice will be al dente.
- Scrape the rice mixture into a large bowl and let cool.
- In a small bowl, beat two of the eggs with ½ teaspoon salt. Stir this into the cooled rice mixture.
- Add the scallions, parsley, 1 cup of the Parmesan, the ricotta and heavy cream. Give it a stir and generously add some freshly ground black pepper.
(The erbazzone dough is pleated in the corners and the filling left exposed during baking)
- Roll out the dough on a floured board, stretching it into a rectangle that’s 5 inches longer and wider than the pan.
- Lightly oil a lasagna pan with a little olive oil.
- Drape the sheet of dough over the pan, gently pressing it flat against the bottom and sides, leaving it hanging over the edges.
- Spread the filling into the dough-lined pan in an even layer.
- Fold the dough over the filling, making pleats at the corners, to form a top crust that “looks like a picture frame” with the filling exposed in the middle.
- Sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup of grated cheese over the filling.
- Bake in a preheated 375-degree oven for about 25 minutes, until the filling and crust have settled but not colored.
- Remove the pan from the oven and brush the crust with a beaten egg.
- Return the erbazzone to the oven and bake another 25 minutes, until golden brown and crusty.
- Let cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes to set the filling.
Serve the erbazzone in big slices with a salad for a main meal, or cut into smaller, bite-siz pieces as an appetizer. It can be eaten warm, or at room temperature.
Leftovers, if you have any, are delicious cold from the fridge.
This is a keeper of a recipe. There is another version that uses swiss chard without the milk, heavy cream and ricotta, which will be great to make during the gardening season when swiss chard and other greens are abundant.