Pizzagaina or Easter Pie
Now if that doesn’t get your attention – you might want to check your pulse! One of the most traditional Italian dishes of the Easter season is PIZZA RUSTICA. This wonder of the Italian kitchen is also known as Pizzagaina or Easter Pie. No matter what you call it, this delicious layered delight is fabulous. Eat it for brunch, lunch, dinner or as a special course at your Easter dinner. No matter how you slice it, this will win the hearts of all at your Italian table. Many raised in Italian homes will remember it. Perhaps, their Nonnas prepared it for Easter. Others, not familiar, will find this a simple dish that will please everyone. It is the best “Italian sandwich” you will ever find with everything in it that you love!
This is an easy dish to make really. This recipe is especially simple I think. You can make your dough in advance and refrigerate. Your results will be better if you allow it to come up to room temperature before you work with it. I make the dough in the food processor. You can just throw the ingredients in and whirl away! My addition of fresh Rosemary Leaves gives the dough a more interesting essence and really adds flavor overall.
The fun with this is that you can use any combination of filling ingredients that you like. Choose your own meats and cheeses. Some like to chop up all the filling items and just throw them into the pie shell all at once. this is easier of course. But I like to layer my ingredients. I think it is more interesting and prettier when it is sliced to layer.
This is one great pie to have hanging around in the frig. It is a meal in itself. You need nothing more!
Makes: 1 9-10 inch pie
Bake: 50-60 minutes depending on oven
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
2 Sticks Butter – cold and cut into small pieces
1/2 Tsp. Kosher Salt
2 Tbsp. Fresh Rosemary Leaves – chopped finely
2 Large Eggs
Place all of the above ingredients in a food processor bowl – and run the processor until the dough comes together.
Pour it out onto a board and form into 2 balls.
Rest the dough in the refrigerator about an hour.
When ready to use, set the dough out for about 20-30 minutes, letting it become warmer and easier to work with.
Roll out one ball and place into a 9-10 inch deep dish pie plate – or press it into the plate with your hands. Even out the edges.You can use a springform pan if you like.
Now you are ready to fill your Easter Pie.
6 Hard Boiled Eggs sliced into about 4 slices
2 Links Italian Sausage taken out of the casings and browned in a fry pan.
1/2 lb. Fresh Mozzarella or Basket Cheese
1 Medium Onion sliced thinly and cooked in just a little olive oil until just tender and golden.
Choose your own sliced meats such as prosciutto, capicola, ham, soppresata, salami etc. I have used here:
1/2 lb. Sliced Ham
6 Oz. Sliced Capicola
2 Tbsp. Chopped Fresh Basil (you can substitute parsley if you like.)
4 Raw Eggs beaten
1/3 C. Grated Cheese – Parmigiano-Reggiano, Pecorino or Provolone are good for this
Salt and Pepper to taste
( You can also add ricotta, drained or some chopped roasted red peppers if you like)
1 beaten egg to brush the top of the pie
After rolling out or pressing into the pie plate – one of the dough balls, begin to layer your ingredients inside it.
You can chop and mix the meats, cheese, hard boiled eggs, onions and basil together and pile it all in at once or layer the ingredients as I have done in the photos.
Start with the ham. Follow with the egg slices and then the sausage. Next spread the cooked onions over the top followed by the Basil and then the mozzarella. End with the capicola. You can do it as you like, but I like a layer of the sliced meat at the bottom and also at the top.
Next beat the 4 eggs and mix with the grated cheese and salt and pepper. Carefully pour this mixture over the pie. Watch that it doesn’t spill out.
Top the filling with the second ball of dough rolled out. Neaten, crimp, or flute your edges.
Beat an egg and brush the top of the pie with it.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 50-60 minutes until golden on top. Let cool completely.
I like to make it a day ahead. This gives it a chance to set well and to make beautiful slices.
You will truly enjoy making and eating this PIZZA RUSTICA, a sign of spring in any Italian kitchen!
PARLA COME MANGI!
Comments are welcome in the “Speak Your Mind Area” beneath this post online.
Food Photos By Tommy Hanks Photography