This dish is called “Pizza” Rustica, but it actually has more in common with a quiche than a pizza. I had never heard of the dish until this past Easter when my wife craved one, fueled by a memory of the “pies” her Grandmother brought to every Easter feast of her youth. Sadly, her Nana’s recipe is lost somewhere in her extensive family tree, so she did some on-line research and chose this one as the one that best reflected what she remembers her Grandmother making. It comes from one of our favorite pastry chefs, Nick Malgieri. I debated holding this post until next year as the Easter holiday approached, but this dish is so good, and would make such a great addition to a Summer pot-luck, I thought I’d share it with you now. The filling is a rich mix of ricotta, mozzarella, and pecorino, studded with a variety of Italian meats such as prosciutto, and dried sausage. It has a slightly sweet crust which balances the salty, cheesy filling beautifully, and when baked, makes a photo worthy star of any family spread.
As written, the recipe calls for a 12″ round cake pan, but she made hers in a 9 x 13″ rectangular one and it worked just fine. She also cut the sugar in the “pasta frolla” (the crust dough) in half as it sounded overly sweet when she read the recipe. The dough is a breeze to work with. She rolled the full bottom crust easily between sheets of parchment, and used a “crinkle” roller cutter to cut the lattice pieces that decorate the top for a little extra flair. The “pizza” was loved by everyone at Easter, and fed the family well as a breakfast, lunch, AND dinner option for a few days later in the week.
Cheers – Steve
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 2 pounds ricotta
- 6 eggs
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup grated pecorino romano cheese
- 1 pound mozzarrella, grated
- 1/2 pound dried, sweet sausage - peeled and diced
- 1/2 pound prosciutto, shredded
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley
- 1 egg
- 1 pinch salt
- For the Pasta Frolla, combine dry ingredients in bowl of food processor and pulse several times to mix. Cut butter into 8 pieces and distribute evenly over dry ingredients in work bowl. Pulse until very finely powdered. Add eggs and continue to pulse until dough forms a ball that revolves on blade. Remove dough, press into a disk, wrap and chill.
- For the Filling, place ricotta in a mixing bowl and stir in eggs one at a time; stir in remaining filling ingredients in order.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and set a rack in the lower third. Divide the Pasta Frolla into 2 pieces. Roll 1 of the pieces thinly to line a 12-inch straight-sided cake pan. Pour in filling and smooth top. Roll the remaining dough to a 12-inch square and cut into 1-inch strips. For egg wash, whisk egg and salt together. Paint dough strips with egg wash. Arrange six strips on filling. Arrange remaining strips at a 45-degree angle to the first ones to make a lattice. Press strips at rim of pan to adhere and trim away excess dough even with top of pan.
- Bake until the filling is set and the dough is baked through, about 45 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack. To unmold, place a platter on top and invert, removing pan. Replace pan with another platter and invert again, removing top platter. Serve at room temperature. Refrigerate any leftovers.