Schiacciata Flatbread with Garlic and Parsley
“Perhaps the most important things are those we don’t remember in a precise way, that we remember unconsciously.” Louis Jorge Luis Borges
Aunty Gina, has had the most influence on my cooking and how I entertain. It was from witnessing her cook and watching her host, that I think I have subconsciously attained this wealth of experience and a deep passion for food. As the eldest daughter in her family, she learnt to cook from an early age, as she helped Nonna Maria in the kitchen. At the age of 16, she was due to enter the same beauty pageant in Rome as Sophia Loren, but Nonno Carlo stopped her from going right at the last minute. I think she would have gone on to win it, as she is beautiful.
Try these flatbreads with garlic and parsley; a simple recipe if you are a novice.
Makes 6 pieces
510g (1lb 2oz) strong white flour plus extra for dusting * 7g (¼oz) fast action dried yeast packet * 2 tsp salt * 1 tsp caster sugar * 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil plus extra for brushing * 340ml (11 floz) lukewarm water * 3 tbsp olive oil * 30g (2oz) fresh garlic, chopped * 2 tbsp parsley, chopped * 1 tsp sea salt *
Sift the flour into a large bowl and stir in the yeast, salt and sugar. Make a well in the centre and pour in the oil with the water. Mix together until all the ingredients are combined. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. If the dough is sticky, add some more flour. Your dough should be nice and smooth. Fold the edges of the dough underneath to form a smooth rounded top. Brush the inside of a large bowl with oil. Place the dough inside and brush the top with a little more oil. Cover with clingfilm and leave to rise in a warm place for one hour until it doubles in size.
Brush a baking tray with oil. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and divide into 6 equal pieces. Form each one into an oval shape about 15cm long. Place the pieces on 2 lightly floured baking trays and leave to rest for 30 minutes. Take each piece of dough and flatten down with your fingertips to a thickness of 1.5cm, 20cm long and 10cm wide. Return each to baking trays, brush with olive oil, and sprinkle over the garlic, parsley and salt. Make 3 slits in each. Cover with a tea towel and leave for 10 minutes, whilst you wait for the oven to heat up.
Pre-heat the oven to 180oC/350oF/Gas Mark 4. Before you put the trays into the oven, widen the cuts on the dough so it makes it easier to pull apart once baked. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a wired rack to cool slightly before serving.
I have collated all my favourite recipes into one book FOOD FOR ALL OCCASIONS.
There are more recipes in the section THE ITALIAN JOB, a selection of authentic Italian recipes.