Dining Playbook: Meet Mary Ann Esposito

Mary Ann Esposito of Ciao Italia joins Billy Costa and makes a Swiss-charred tomato open-face pie. See more in the video above.

Check out the recipe below to try Esposito’s Swiss Chard yourself.

Vine Ripened Tomato and Swiss Chard Pie

Serves 6


4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1-tablespoon butter

2 large onions, thinly sliced

1-teaspoon brown sugar

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

¼ pound chunk pancetta, diced

1 large bunch Swiss chard, stemmed and leaves torn into pieces

½ teaspoon hot red pepper flakes (optional)

1/3 cup minced tarragon

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup diced Swiss, mozzarella or Fontina cheese

2  BYF beefsteak tomatoes, thinly sliced


Tart Dough

1 ¾ cups unbleached all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons sugar

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter cut into bits

¾ cup buttermilk


Fill a large pot with boiling water; salt it and add the Swiss chard leaves and boil for 2 minutes. Drain in a colander and squeeze as much water as possible from the leaves. You should have about 1 1/2 cups. On a cutting board, coarsely chop the leaves and set aside.


In a large sauté pan melt 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and all the butter. Stir in the onions and cook them slowly over low heat until they soften and begin to caramelize. Stir in the brown sugar and the vinegar and cook until the onions are glazed looking. Transfer to a large bowl.


In the same pan heat the remaining olive oil and add the pancetta. Cook until the pancetta begins to give off its fat and begins to brown. Stir in the red pepper flakes and the Swiss chard and cook for about 4 minutes stirring frequently. Stir in the parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to the bowl with the onions. Cool to room temperature. Add the cheese and mix in. Filling can be made two days ahead and refrigerated.


Tart Dough

In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, baking soda and salt and blend with a fork or pastry blender until the mixture resembles oatmeal flakes. Stir in the buttermilk and combine with a spoon or your hands until a rough ball of dough is formed. Do not over work the dough; it will be soft and sticky.


Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate several hours. Or make the dough the day before. When ready to use, roll the dough into a 14- inch diameter on a large sheet of lightly floured parchment paper. Place the dough on the parchment paper on a baking sheet.


Spread the filling evenly over the dough to within 1 ½- inch of the edges. Overlap the tomato slices in a circular fashion over the top of the filling

Bring the edges of the dough up around the filling to form a rustic open face pie.

Pre-heat the oven to 400F

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until nicely browned.

Serve hot or warm cut into wedges.

Recipe courtesy of Mary Ann Esposito www.ciaoitalia.com