Raf Giacobazzi remembers making these pancakes on the wood burning stove as a young boy; these days the production of them has moved outside and they are now the centrepiece for family gatherings throughout the Montese region south of Modena.
5 litres of water
1 tablespoon salt
1 kg soft wheat flour
75g lardo – or very fatty pancetta
2 cloves garlic
2 rosemary twigs, leaves stripped and chopped
To serve: large quantities of grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Zampanelle need a very liquid batter: find a large container and beat the eggs with the water followed by the flour and salt. Use a whisk and keep beating as you don’t want lumps. Leave the batter to rest – Ideally for several hours in a cool place.
Make sure the lardo is at room temperature, and blitz all the pesto ingredients in a food processor to form a paste.
Watch the video. Find a very heavy frying pan, preferably one so well seasoned it doesn’t need oiling. Heat over a moderate heat for several minutes until it’s properly hot. Then ladle in enough batter to thinly coat the base. Let it cook long enough for bubbles to show through the batter and it looks set, before turning it over.
A zampanella only needs a couple of minutes on each side. Ragged round the edges is fine.
Smear a knob of pesto over the pancake with a fork or spoon. Sprinkle with a generous amount of Parmigiano cheese. Fold into quarters and eat.