A little patience goes a long way – and this Sicilian stuffed pie, from the culinary dynasty of Melbourne’s Grossi family, takes time. It's made for sharing over lively conversation. Ideally with David Bowie blaring in the background.
Carlo Grossi is the son of chef Guy Grossi. Together they work across a number of long-running Melbourne restaurants, including Grossi Florentino and salumi bar Ombra. Carlo’s love of noisy, loose hospitality comes from being thrown into the family kitchen and business from a young age – as well as a teenage trip to Italy where they ate their way “from the heel of the country right up to the heartland of Tuscany”.
Carlo Grossi’s new cookbook, Ombra: Recipes From the Salumi Bar, is a joint effort from father and son. It’s a shortlist of family favourites “rooted in the ideals of simplicity and quality”, says Carlo. It’s a book destined for jam stains, oil marks and dog-ears.
“I hope it becomes spattered with sauce and oil stains and that pages are creased because you have the same lovely experience of sharing dishes in the same way we do,” he says. “Come together like the Italians do, like our family does, at least once a week.”
Inside you’ll find heirloom recipes and dishes inspired by Italian holidays. There’s Ombra’s famed pizza and bread doughs, preserves like fig jam and pickled cucumbers, Tuscan-style salami, porchetta, terrines, and grappa cherries. It’s all beautifully photographed by Mark Chew, who was tasked with capturing the colour and vibrancy of the salumi bar.
“Most people think the filled pastry known as impanata is strictly Spanish, but the Sicilians lay a fierce claim to the dish and I’m glad they do,” says Carlo.
Preparation time is key, but the Grossi family thinks of it as a life lesson in taking things slow.
“We learn patience in the time we need to ferment our pizza dough long enough to get the perfect result,” says Guy Grossi. Get the whole family involved, turn up the music – Bowie, The Doors or The Rolling Stones are Carlo’s go-to tunes – and pour yourself an aperitivo.
Carlo Grossi’s impanata Siciliana
Cooking time: 50 minutes
Preparation time: 2 hours, plus proving time
25g fresh yeast, crumbled, or 10g (2.5 tsp) dried yeast
8g (2 tsp) sugar
400ml warm water
1kg tipo 00 flour
10g (2.5 tsp) salt
50ml olive oil, plus extra for brushing
2 bunches silverbeet
100ml olive oil
1 onion, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 anchovy fillets, chopped
150g mozzarella, grated
Salt and cracked black pepper
First, make the dough. Place the yeast, sugar and warm water in the bowl of an electric mixer (fitted with a dough hook) and mix until the yeast has dissolved. Add the flour, salt and olive oil and mix on low speed until a smooth dough has formed.
Place the dough into a deep bowl, cover with a damp cloth. Set aside to prove at room temperature for 2 hours, or refrigerate overnight.
To make the filling, separate the silverbeet stalks from the leaves and wash thoroughly under cold water. Cut the stalks finely and put aside. Cut the leaves roughly and put aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large deep saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion has softened. Mix in the stalks and anchovies and cook for a few minutes, then add the leaves. Cover and cook until the silverbeet has wilted, 5–10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Mix the mozzarella into the silverbeet mixture and season with salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 170°C (fan assisted) and grease and line a 28cm ovenproof non-stick frying pan with baking paper.
Cut the dough into two pieces on a floured workbench. Roll out one piece of the dough into a round (roughly 5mm thick) and line the prepared pan. Leave 2cm of the dough hanging over the edge. Spoon the silverbeet filling into the pastry-lined pan and brush the overhanging dough with olive oil.
Roll out the other piece of dough and cover the filling, then fold over the overhang, pinching the edges to seal. Brush the top with olive oil. Using a fork, make a few holes in the dough so the steam can escape.
Bake for about 40 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven, allow to rest for 10 minutes, then cut and serve.
This is a recipe extract from Ombra: Recipes From the Salumi Bar ($39.99), written by Carlo Grossi with photos by Mark Chew. It’s available to purchase here.
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