Monday, February 18, 2013

Carmela Soprano's Pizza Rustica recipe / Pizza Gaina / Italian Easter Pie with Ricotta and Meat

It's Louis Riel Day in Manitoba.
Family Day in Ontario, Alberta and Saskatchewan.
We're also in the Church season of Lent.
That means Easter is coming.
That means it's time to make traditional recipes.
Remember: 
For the traditionalist, holy day does not mean holiday.


Some readers told me that I hadn't given a proper recipe for Pizza Rustica.
It's an Easter recipe in Entertaining with The Sopranos.  

Warn the kids that it isn't the pizza they're expecting.
It has a lattice top crust like a cherry pie. 
But this is more of a savoury pie than a sweet pie.
it's more like a quiche.


Carmela's Pizza Rustica is not great if you have a cholesterol problem.  
No, the cholesterol  and calories don't disappear if you eat this on Easter. 
If you're trying to cut the fat, if not the cheese, go to my pie crust recipe.  
That'll make for a lighter bottom crust.  It'll be our secret. 


In an aside, Carmela added:  You can substitute other meats or cheese as you prefer, like capicola (gobagool), cooked sausage, mild pepperoni, provolone, etc.  Some people add sliced hard-cooked eggs too.

Also…
If the dough mixture seems dry, add a spoon or two of ice water.
The wrapped pie can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. 


                        Pizza Rustica

Serves 8 - 10

The Dough

In a large mixer bowl combine
4 Cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
Add
1/2 Cup solid vegetable shortening
1 stick (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Pulse until the mixture resembles large crumbs.
Add
2 large eggs, beaten
Pulse until the mixture forms a soft dough.
Don't over mix, or the dough will be tough.

Shape 1/3 of the dough into a disk.
Shape the remaining dough into another disk.
Wrap each disk in plastic wrap.
Chill 1 hour, or overnight.


The Filling

Beat together in a large bowl
2 pounds ricotta
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 Cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Stir in
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, chopped
4 ounces sliced boiled ham, chopped
4 ounces prosciutto, chopped
4 ounces sliced soppressata ( or other salami), chopped
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


Place the oven rack in the middle of the oven.
Preheat the oven to 375ยบ
Butter a 9 x 3-inch springform pan.

Roll out the larger piece of dough to a 15-inch circle.
Drape the dough over the rolling pin.
Carry the rolling pin to over the prepared pan.
Fit the dough into the pan.
Flatten any wrinkles.
Scrape the filling into the pan.

Roll out the smaller piece of dough to a 9 1/2-inch circle.
Cut the dough into 3/4 inch wide strips.
Lay half the strips 1 inch apart over the filling.
Give the pie a quarter turn and place the remaining strips on top.
Press the ends of the strips against the dough on the sides of the pan firmly to seal.
Trim the excess dough.

Beat together
1 egg yolk
1 Tablespoon water
Brush the lattice top with the egg mixture.
Bake for 75 minutes.
The pie should be golden brown on top and the filling should puff up.
Cool the pie in the pan on a wire rack 10 minutes.
Run a knife around the edge of the pan and remove the sides of the pan.
Let the pie cool completely.
serve at room temperature or lightly chilled.


Would I make Carmela's Pizza Rustica again?
Nope.
When I say pizza, Paul expects a pizza.
This healthier Pizza Rustica is also a favorite.

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