Flat bread from Romagna (cassone romagnolo) filled with greens or mozzarella and tomato sauce

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Cassone is a typical delicacy from Romagna, so yummy!  You can buy it in the street white and red kiosks or colorful food trucks along the coast of Adriatic sea; it is made in the moment right in front of you and wrapped into nice paper. A genuine delicacy you may have while you are walking along the promenade. You must absolutely try it!

I have to admit that I stand for “cassone” because it reminds me of my childhood and adolescence, the most serene moments of my life! When I speak, or just think about that I am choked with emotion.

cassone romagnolo

I was born and I have grown up in Piedmont, but my family have always had different habits.  We used to speak the dialect from Ferrara and eat the typical food from Emilia Romagna. You live in the other part of the world, you probably don’t know anything about Emilia Romagna, I’ll tell you right now.

Emilia Romagna, a region full of sunshine and smiles

It lies in Norther Italy; people are friendly, and cheerful. They speak a very funny dialect, and they can face life and difficulties with a disarming light commitment. People from Piedmont are introvert, quite cold, they mind their business; on the other hand, people from Emilia are friendly, caring and very helpful! They like spending time together outdoor, having parties, enjoying the simple things they are able to turn into something special. They laugh, they look for the beauty and the good in every single thing, they are ironical and easygoing. At the same time, they are generous and hardworking. People from Romagna, who live on the Adriatic coast, are even funnier-they spend their lives in the sun and wait for summertime all they year long.

If you have a holiday there, you will fall in love both with the places and their inhabitants; unfortunately, you won’t find those places on guidebooks, but believe me they are really worth a visit. Of course, the sea is not the main attraction, you go there because the beaches of Romagna are extremely lively: you will be overwhelmed by a whirl of entertainment. Both old and young people dance liscio on the beach, they sunbathe, and play bocci in the scorching sun! I used to like playing bocci as well, and I was quite good, indeed! A lot of people spend whole days on playing cards (scopa or briscola are the most popular card games, there) and arguing about winning!

Alas! What sweet memories! I clearly remember the perfume of the air, the salt stuck on my hair, sunburn skin…the the coconut seller who used to walk along the shore to sell coconut pieces and his wonderful caramelized fruit skewers! I remember the children, their everlasting game and loud laugh!

I used to spend my summer holidays there, between Cervia in Romagna and Ferrara with my grandparents; my parents joined us in August. Piadine and cassoni were my usual snacks; I needed plenty of energy because beach life was very hard: swimming and playing in the water, games of bocci, and running in the sand.

Well, go each to food…

Cassone or crescione is a kind of piadina, but it is thinner. Crescent-shaped, it is stuffed and folded before cooking. It is named after the crescione, a spontaneous herb- very common in the past, it was one of the ingredients of its stuffing which has been replaced by greens or spinach nowadays. 

You may find plenty of recipes, every family has got one, but they are quite similar in the basics. Some of them wants only water in the dough, other ones replace lard with extra virgin olive oil, or only olive oil; with or without yeast, or baking soda.

Lard and milk along with water make the dough definitely much softer and more fragrant.

But you need to be patient as the dough has to rest for about 9 or 10 hours in order to get less elastic, and easier to roll. Prepare it in the evening and let it sit overnight.

The result is a very fragrant and mouthwatering cassone.

What can you stuff cassone with?

Traditional stuffings want tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, or greens along with parmigiano or semi-soft cheese, caciotta or mozzarella, for instance. In the winter, potato and pumpkin stuffing enriched with parmigiano cheese, sausages and bacon is quite common. Any stuffings make cassone delicious, street kiosks sell countless variations, both sweet and savory. Don’t forget the cassone with Nutella…warm and soft!

Flat bread from Romagna (cassone romagnolo) filled with greens or mozzarella and tomato sauce

Cassone is a kind of big stuffed tortello which shares the same dough with the piadina and it is cooked on a hot plate. No doubt tempting and super tasty, it makes a very rich snack, or a toothsome dinner with friends. It is one of the most popular street food in Italy, as well. 
Try crescione! You won’t be able to do without it any more! 
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword cassone romagnolo, italian cassone romagnolo
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

  • 250 gr flour type 00
  • 50 gr lard or seed oil
  • 50 gr whole milk 
  • 50 gr water 
  • a pinch baking soda
  • a pinch salt 

Instructions

Method one (shorter)

  • Put the flour in bowl and make a well in the center where you put lard, baking soda and salt; 
  • Pour lukewarm water and milk a little at a time; 
  • Knead for 10 minutes until a smooth and even dough;
  • Make a ball and wrap it into cling film, set aside for about 1 hour; 
  • Divide the dough into 100g balls, you will get about 4; 
  • Roll them out in 25cm disks;
  • Place the stuffing in half of the disk and leave 2 cm from the rim; 
  • Fold over and press down to seal; 
  • Repeat with the other small balls;
  • Pre-heat a plate, when it is very hot and cook cassoni a couple of minutes each side covered with a lid; 
  • Remove the lid and cook also the rim for 1 minute; 
  • Serve very hot. 

Second method  (the traditional and longer one):

  • On a pasta board, place the flour and make a well in the center with your hand; 
  • Combine lukewarm milk and water with salt; 
  • Pour the liquid into the well and add the lard and the baking soda (add the baking powder if you want to use it); 
  • Knead until smooth and even;
  • Put the dough into a bowl and cover it with cling film;
  • Refrigerate for 5 hours; 
  • Divide the dough into 100g-110g ball; 
  • Work fast and touch the balls as least as possible; 
  • Cover them with a tea-towel and let sit 4-5 hours; 
  • Press each ball into a round shape with your hands; 
  • Roll them out in 25cm disks; they will rise during the cooking; 
  • Place the stuffing in half of the disk and leave 2 cm from the rim; 
  • Fold over and press down to seal, if you use a fork, be careful not to pierce the dough;
  • Heat a nonstick pan until the right temperature; cassoni need their time to cook. Low temperature and longer time make cassoni dry, too high temperature may prevent them from cooking evenly; 
  • Place one or two cassoni (according to the size) and cook for a few minutes; flip over with a spatula; 
  • Press the rim with a fork as the cassone tents to rise and swell, so the rim will be hanging over the pan;
  • Cook the base of the cassoni; 
  • Serve very hot. 

Spinach stuffing recipe:

  • 500g of frozen spinach, chard, or greens
  • 40g of pine-nuts
  • 60g of raisins or currant
  • 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp of butter
  • Salt
  • Parmigiano cheese to grate
  1. Heat a pan with little oil and the butter;
  2. Add the frozen spinach and season with salt; cook for a few minutes
  3. Add the raisins and the pine-nuts;
  4. Cook 3-4 minuets;
  5. Stuff the cassone and generously sprinkle with grated Parmigiano cheese.

cassone spinaci

Tomato and mozzarella stuffing recipe:

  • 200g of tomato puree
  • 120g mozzarella for pizza or scamorza cheese
  • 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • Chili flakes to taste
  • 2-3 leaves of fresh basil or dry oregano
  1. In a medium pan heat the extra virgin olive oil, and then add the tomato puree;
  2. Tomato puree may be watery, hence closing crescione properly can get difficult. I usually opt  for cherry tomato puree which is thicker and sweeter. You’d better cook tomato sauce a little longer- the thicker, the better;
  3. Season with salt, chili flakes, basil leaves or oregano;
  4. Cook for a few minutes;
  5. Stuff cassone with tomato sauce, then lay a few slices of mozzarella, carefully close and cook.

How can you eat them?

With your hands, hot and stringy!

How can I keep them?

Put crescioni in an airtight container and they keep fresh up to 1-2 days in the fridge. Take them out of the fridge and heat up.

You may also freeze crescioni, if you have used fresh (not defrosted) ingredients.

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