Food plays a very important part in Italian holiday celebrations, and Easter in particular has many famous recipes associated with it. Pizza Rustica, also called Easter Pie, Pizza Ripiena, Torta Pasqualina, or Pizzachino is basically a rich quiche type of filling completely enclosed in a buttery pastry. This dish celebrates both Easter, as well the ending of lent, where many folks take part in some type of religious fasting. The ingredients in this pie are quite rich, and include a variety of different cheeses, salumi, eggs, and sometimes sausage. There are many regional varieties of this pie found across Italy, some containing cooked greens, while others may include cooked sausage meat, or diced cooked eggs. I personally like a combination of different cheeses and salumi, all bound together with a ricotta cheese and egg mixture. I have made a number of variations of this pie in the past, but I was never completely enamored with the pastry.
This year, I decided to try the pastry recipe that Domenica Marchetti from Domenica Cooks uses in her version of Pizza Rustica and felt it was sturdy enough to hold up to the rich filling, but was still buttery and flaky. For my filling, I combined diced cooked ham, spicy soppressata salami, diced fontina cheese, grated Pecorino Romano cheese, creamy ricotta cheese and eggs. Although this sorta or Pizza Rustica can be enjoyed warm from the oven, I prefer it the next day, at room temperature after the pie has settled overnight and the flavors have melded together.
Deborah Mele 2015
- 2 1/2 Cup Unbleached All-purpose Flour
- 1 Stick, 1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter Cut Into Pieces
- Pinch of Salt
- 2 Large Eggs
- 4 to 5 Tablespoons Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
- 1 Pound Ricotta Cheese
- 8 Ounces Diced Mozzarella
- 1 Cup Diced Fontina Cheese
- 1/2 Cup Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese
- 2 Cups Diced Cooked Ham
- 1 1/2 Cups Diced Soppressata Sausage (Spicy or Mild)
- 1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
- 3 Large Eggs
- 1 Egg
- 1 Tablespoon Water
- Place the flour, salt and butter in a food processor, and pulse a few times to break down the butter.
- Add the eggs and lemon juice, and pulse just until the mixture comes together.
- Dump he mixture onto the counter and shape into a disc.
- Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- While the dough is resting in the refrigerator, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a bowl, mix together the filling ingredients with a wooden spoon until they are blended.
- Cut the dough into two pieces, one large than the other.
- Oil a 9 inch springform pan.
- Between two pieces of plastic wrap or parchment paper, roll out the larger portion of the dough until it is about 1/4 inch thick.
- Carefully roll the dough over the rolling pin to transfer the dough to the pan.
- The dough should be large enough to cover the bottom and sides of the springform pan.
- Spoon the filling into the pan.
- Roll out the second piece of dough into a circle, and place over the filling.
- Trim the extra dough allowing an additional 1 inch, then pinch together the top and bottom pastry circles, enclosing them completely.
- Beat the egg with the water, then brush the top of the pie with the egg mixture.
- Use a knife to cut slits into the pie, then bake for about 1 hour, or until golden brown in color.
- Transfer pie to a wire rack, and cool to room temperature before slicing.