Mpanada Ragusana – Broccoli and Olives

This mpanada is one of my family favorites. There are a number fillings we put in these pies, but this one gets the prize. When I go to visit my mother in Long Island, this is what she asks me to make for her. Mom is 92 and has a limited diet, but she really enjoys this mpanada with the broccoli and olives. This version has also been a staple for Christmas Eve dinner with my family. There is something about the combination of the broccoli that is sauteed in garlic and olive oil with the addition of the briny olives. It taste wonderful. Once again, a combination of just a few ingredients, nothing fancy, but comes together really well.

Not surprising, this is my father’s favorite dish as well. I called my dad up the other day and told him that I’m picking him up for Father’s Day and we will have dinner together. He asked me if I’m making mpanada. I wasn’t planning on it, but, how could I refuse him. My dad is also 92. I’ll be grilling on the BBQ a whole chicken that I cut the back bone out of and opened up flat. I had it marinating overnight in a mixture of olive oil and red wine vinegar with a mixture of fresh mint, basil, oregano, rosemary and sage. All the fresh herbs I have growing in my patio garden. I’ll place it on the BBQ, flat, with a heavy cast iron pan on top of it, and grill it on both sides that way. The chicken along with the mpanada will make a great father’s day dinner. That and some Italian ice coffee for desert will make the meal complete.

 

For the dough:

  • 1 envelope dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3  1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Dissolve the yeast in your mixing bowl with warm water and sugar. In a separate bowl mix the flour and salt together. Place about two cups of the flour in the mixing bowl with the yeast mixture and the olive oil. With the dough hook mix on low speed for about 4 minutes. Add the rest of the flour a little at a time until the dough rides up the hook.

Place  any additional flour you have in the bowl on your work surface and knead the dough until it’s smooth and slightly tacky. Grease a medium bowl with olive oil and place the dough in the bowl and turn covering both sides with oil. Place a towel over the dough and allow to rise for about 1 hour or until double in size.

For the Filling

  • 2 1/2 pounds of broccoli
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 6 ounces pitted kalamata, oil cured or Calabrese olives, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

 

Cut the broccoli into individual florets. Rinse well.

In a large pan steam the broccoli in 1/2 cup water and 1 teaspoon of salt for about 7 minutes or until tender.

Uncover the pan and push the broccoli to one side and add olive oil and saute garlic for 1 minute.

Add olives and combine everything well.

Continue sauteing broccoli until very tender and soft, about 5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Remember that the olives add salt to the dish so do not over salt.  Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

Once the dough has risen, divide in half.  Roll out one half to about 15 inches round or to fit the pan you are putting it in. Lightly grease the baking pan with olive oil. Lay the dough over the pan and stretch to fit the pan.

Evenly spread the broccoli mixture over the dough, leaving about 1 inch of space around the edges. Moisten the edges with water so the second half of the dough seals well.

Roll out the second half of the dough to fit over the dough in the pan. Lay it over the pan and seal the edges, folding the bottom over the top and press to seal. Cut about three holes on the top to allow the steam to escape.

Place the pie in a 375 degree preheated oven for about 35 minutes or until golden brown.

Allow the pie to cool for about 15 minutes before serving. This mpanada is also good at room temperature. If you are making it ahead of time, just reheat till it warms through.

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About Peter Bocchieri

Peter was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and is a second generation Italian-American. He has a degree in Journalism from Long Island University and is an avid photographer, gardener and pet owner. When Peter is not out selling, he is relaxing at his Rockland County home and cooking for his sons, Michael and Joseph, family and friends. Peter's passion for food was inspired by his Mother's and Grandmother's cooking, but at the age of 10 Peter felt he could do it better himself, so he did.
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