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I love olive oil pastry. It isn’t something I grew up eating; I discovered it when I was writing Italian Street Food. It is the pastry that is used for the Onion and olive calzone in the book and one that I use at home often (most recently in my recipe for green ricotta hand pies). I love the texture and the fact that olive oil is used in place of butter. It makes it easy to make in hot weather when butter pastry can be a nightmare.

I partnered with my good friends at Monini Olive Oil to make this recipe*. Monini is the olive oil my family uses in Italy and the business is based on the outskirts of Spoleto in Umbria, where some of my closest friends are from. They also know the people who run Monini; it’s a small place and it seems that everyone knows everyone! That is what I love about Italy – that community feel. Anyway, Monini Olive Oli is now available in Australia, which is a good thing. I have used Monini Delicato for this recipe, a lovely delicately flavoured oil.

This recipe is based on the Calzone made in the Pugliese town of Bari, the one in Italian Street Food but with a few changes. The filling is pretty much just sweet onions and salty olives. It is entirely plant-based (except for the egg and milk used to make the pie shiny – which could be omitted). It is best eaten at room temperature and I just love it! It makes great picnic food and I hope you love it as much as I do.

A couple of updates from me (seeing I have not posted in a while):

  1. The 2013 documentary Lygon Street – si parla italiano will be screening as part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival on Sunday 10 March 2019 at the Cinema Nova (in Lygon Street, Carlton of course). The movie is a homage to the way Italians changed the way Melbourne thought about food and wine and this event is called Si mangia italiano. You will sip Italian red wine, be served themed canapés and receive a gift bag before the screening. There will also be a panel discussion that I will be on with Angelo Pricolo, one of the movie’s directors and John Portelli from Enoteca Sileno, chatting about Italian food and culture in Australia in the 1950s through to now. Click here to find out more and purchase tickets.
  2. I am really excited to announce that I will be running a masterclass in Sydney at Casa Barilla in Annandale on Thursday 4 July 2019. I will be demonstrating our 3-course dinner which will include some dishes from my cookbook Adriatico. It would be lovely to meet Sydney-siders who follow me on social media or on this blog. Click here to find out more and book.
  3. September 2019 Trieste Tour still has some places left – I would love it to sell out like the 2018 one did. I have mixed up the activities a bit from the last tour and it now includes a boat trip to a mussel farming the Gulf of Trieste (followed by a lunch of the freshest mussels), a cooking class at Histria Botanica in the stunning Dragonjia Valley and more time in the town of Piran. It will be a very special tour – please email me if you have any questions at all about it or click here for more information and here to see what we got up to on the 2018 tour.
  4. Jenna Lo Bianco interviewed me for Segmento Italian Magazine; the article is called Paola Bacchia: she learnt it all from her mamma. I cannot wait for it to be available in hard copy so I can take it to mamma in the Aged Care Facility where she is living. In the meantime you can read it here online.

If you bake the onion and olive pie I would love to hear how it went.

Paola X

Onion and Olive pie

Serves 6

330g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1/2 tsp instant dried yeast
80ml Monini Delicato olive oil
100ml tepid water
1/4 tsp salt
1 small egg for brushing (omit for vegans; use melted coconut oil instead)
a dash of milk (omit for vegans)
45ml Monini Delicato
700g brown onions
100g black olives, pips removed and cut into quarters
1 tablespoon soft brown sugar
2 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
1 tsp dried oregano or thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

To make the pastry, place the flour and yeast in a bowl and whisk lightly to combine. Pour the olive oil into the flour, a little at a time, mixing with a wooden spoon. Next pour in the water a little at a time, stirring and bring it together with your hands. Scatter on the salt and knead until a ball forms. Flour your work surface well and tip out the dough. Work the dough for about 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. You can also use a stand mixer with a dough hook. Place in a large bowl, cover with a clean damp tea towel and set aside in a warm draught free spot for at least an hour or until it has doubled in size.

While the dough is resting, make the filling. Peel the onions and slice thinly with a mandolin. Cut the onion slices in half. Place the olive oil in a large frypan on low-medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook until soft and golden, about 30 minutes. Do not let the onion brown; add a bit of water if it looks too dry. Stir in the brown sugar and balsamic vinegar until combined and the sugar dissolves. Stir in the olives and the oregano. Add salt and pepper to taste, remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Line the base of a rectangular flan tin 30x20cm with a removable base with baking paper and brush the sides with a little bit of olive oil.

Preheat your oven to 180C (conventional).

Flour your work surface. Divide the dough in two, about 1/3 for the pie lid and 2/3 for the pie base and sides. Roll out the pie base first, until it is about 3mm thick and slightly larger than your pie tin. Next roll out the other pastry to make the pie lid. Place the pie base on the flan tin, making sure there is a bit of excess draping over the borders of the tin. Carefully spoon in the cooled filling. Place the pie lid over the filling and fold the sides of the base over the lid, trimming excess with a sharp knife. Place a hole in the centre of the pie as a vent. You can decorate the pie with any excess scraps of dough cut into shapes if you like. Brush the lid and rolled border of the pie with the egg and milk lightly beaten together.

Bake for 40-45 mins or until the pastry is golden. Check after 15 minutes and cover the top of the pie with a piece of parchment or baking paper if it is browning too quickly.

Wait until the pie cools to room temperature before serving. Store in an airtight container in the fridge and eat within a day or two.

*I was sponsored by Monini to develop this recipe and post it on social media. It was my decision to post it on my blog is to share the recipe with you.


  • Rachel says:

    Hello Paola. I’ve just bought tickets to your masterclass in Sydney. You’ll be in my ‘hood! It’ll be lovely to meet you properly after all this time. See you then! Rachel x

  • David says:

    Paola, this sound wonderful and I have saved it to make soon. One question – what kind of back olives should we be using? Not having been to Puglia, are we tlkaing a kalamata-like olive? A dried, oil-cured olive? Brined? In oil? Thanks for your thoughts – I can’t wait to try this! (Also excited about the pastry recipe, too!)

  • Hi Paola, I love the sound of this pastry, is it similar to sour cream pastry, or is it a little more ‘sturdy’? Re your cooking class in there any chance of you sometime doing a weekend class? I would love to attend one of your classes but unable to do so on a week (work) day. Alternatively I will seek out any Melbourne class you might be running and make plans to travel.

    • Hi Kathryn
      Thanks so much for your message. The problem with Sydney is that I do not have a venue in which to run classes – though Barilla have been kind enough to let me use their space but it is only available on weekdays. That is quite a big group though. My classes in Melbourne have no more than 6 people and are in my own home. I do have people coming form interstate quite regularly – it is a good excuse to come down to Melbourne for the weekend.

    • and re the pastry – I have not made sour cream pastry for a long time so cannot comment not he sturdiness – but it is an easy pastry to work with.

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