Spinach and Sausage Farinata with Pesto Crema
As soon as I read about farinata, I knew that I had to give it a try. These Spinach and Sausage Farinata with Pesto Crema are our ultra Italian-American version—and they’re oh, so delicious!
The French call it socca, the Italians call it farinata or torta de ceci, and the best translation is something between a crepe, a pancake and a flatbread. But, they are made with chickpea flour, making them naturally gluten-free and full of awesome protein and vitamins. They’re a bit thicker than a traditional French crepe, more hearty than a pancake and chewier than a flatbread. Farinata are really all their own thing.
Having grown up surrounded by Italians making Italian food, I was shocked that I’d never heard of them before. They originated in Genoa, Italy (where we get pesto from!), in the northwest part of Italy along the coast. Which is how the recipe traveled along to sea coast to France, where it became Socca. And while the recipe made it as far as Elba Island (where Napolean was exiled), my grandparents were from central Italy and the Eastern coast, so farinata would never have become part of the family heritage.
Aaaand, cut on the history lesson…back to the recipe!
It turns out the farinata themselves are super easy to make! You’ll simply whip up the batter in the blender and cook each in a thin layer.
While you can top them with just about anything you like, we decided to take them all the way to Italy. Luke grilled a couple spicy Italian sausage links and we made a quick, greek yogurt based pesto crema to spread on top.
Plus, you can cook up a batch and keep in the refrigerator for about a week. They make a great base for building a quick pizza on or roll ’em up into a wrap!
- 2 1/4 cup chickpea flour
- 2 cups water
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 pinch salt
- olive oil spray
- 1/2 lb spicy italian sausage
- 2 cups spinach or kale
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion
- 1 garlic clove crushed
- 3 tablespoons pesto
- 1 1/2 tablespoons greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup shredded parmesan plus more for topping
In a high-speed blender, add the chickpea flour, water, olive oil and salt. Blend until batter is smooth.
Heat a medium skillet to medium-heat. Spray lightly with olive oil and pour just enough of the batter to cover the bottom of the pan. Swirl around to coat the bottom. Let cook for about 3 minutes, or until browned on the bottom. Flip and cook another 2-3 minutes until bottom is cooked.
Continue until all batter is cooked into "flatbreads". I heat the oven slightly to 200° F to keep these warm while finishing to cook them.
Grill the Italian Sausage on high until cooked through, 10-15 minutes. Slice into thin rounds.
In a small bowl, mix together the greek yogurt, 1 tablespoon of the pesto and crushed garlic clove.
In a small saute pan, heat the olive oil. Slice the onion into thin half-moons. Saute on medium-high for 3 minutes. Add in the spinach or kale and saute another minute until softened.
To build 2 filled farinata: On one half of each flatbread, spread 1 tablespoon of the plain pesto. Top with 1/2 of the sliced sausage. Add 1/2 of the sauteed spinach and onions, 1 1/2 tablespoons of the shredded parmesan, and drizzle some of the pesto cream on top.
Fold the farinata in half to close (like a quesadilla!) and drizzle with some extra pesto crema and a generous sprinkling of parmesan.