History and recipe of the traditional Erbazzone of Reggio Emilia

by /// April 8, 2024
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes



Erbazzone, a typical gastronomic speciality of Reggio Emilia, is a savoury herb cake whose origins seem to date back to the Middle Ages.

It is a recipe that comes from the rural world, as a “poor” dish; in its traditional preparation, peasant families used chard as a filling: not only the leaf, but also the stalk of the chard, called scarpa; hence its dialect name: scarpasòun (scarpazzone).

Traditionally, scarpazzone is at its best during the chard harvest, from the end of June to the end of October. During the other months of the year, the stuffing is replaced by other types of vegetables, such as spinach. It is perhaps because of these possible substitutions that the name scarpazzone has been changed to erbazzone.

As we have said, erbazzone is made with simple ingredients and it is very easy to prepare: it consists of two layers of pasta, locally called foieda, enclosing a filling of cooked herbs, seasoned with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and a little lard.

If you want to make it yourself, below you can find the recipe of a reggiana DOC, Vanessa Ramadan aka @Zdōra, but as with any typical dish of the heart, every family has its favourite variation.

NB: Erbazzone is currently going through the process of obtaining the PGI mark – granted to products with Protected Geographical Indication – from the European Commission; if successful, erbazzone will become the 45th of the PDO and PGI product in Emilia-Romagna.


For the dough:

200 gr of 00 flour
15 gr of lard
2 tablespoons of oil
salt and pepper to taste
lukewarm water to taste

For the filling:

1,5 kg chard or spinach
120 gr of onion
1 clove of garlic
30 gr of lard
60 gr of butter
150 gr of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
20 gr of breadcrumbs
salt and pepper to taste


Brown the onion and garlic in the butter and lard.
Add the chard and cook for about 1 hour.
When the chard is ready, add the breadcrumbs while hot and the Parmigiano Reggiano when cold.

Make a well with the flour and mix it with the lard, until the mixture is smooth and homogeneous.
Roll out the dough and lay it in the tart tin.
Add the filling and cover with the dough.
Poke holes with a fork and bake at 180° for 40-45 minutes.


Elisa Mazzini

Social Media Manager for @inEmiliaRomagna and full-time mom.

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