“Pizzagaina” aka Pizza Rustica
One of my favorite things to eat on Easter besides lamb is the “Pizzagaina.” It has all my favorites including provolone cheese, Italian ham and sweet sopressata. Just like any traditional dish everyone has their own recipe. This is one I have been using for years, it comes from my Nonna. The recipe for the filling ends up making enough for two pies. So make some for a friend!
I have to mention that Easter is more than just about the pie. Although it is always on my mind, it is important to note that it is a time to reflect on how awesome God is! He endured pain and suffering with me and you on his mind. I certainly do not deserve what he did for me. I am ever grateful that he is the merciful God he is a nothing like me! To people who are skeptical I challenge them to get to know the God I serve and see if they could ignore his love and blessings. The feeling that I do not have to trust in politicians, the economy, and whatever else we worry about is amazing. I can trust in God and know through the good and bad he is with me. Although I may forget, he is always there. The cross is more than a symbol but a debt paid. Thank you Jesus for paying my debt and for being with me every step of the way no matter what!
“Pizzagaina” aka Pizza Rustica
3 c all purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/3 tsp black pepper
1/2 c whole milk
1 egg yolk (for the egg wash)
2 lbs fresh ricotta cheese, whole milk
1/2 c heavy cream
1 Tbsp corn starch (melted into the heavy cream before added)
1/4 lb proscuitto, cubed
1/4 lb soppressata (I use sweet soppressata, cubed)
1/4 provolone cheese, cubed
1 c parmesan cheese, grated
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare a pie plate by buttering it and then taking about a half of a Tablespoon of flour sprinkle it around the bottom of the pie plate.
Grab two mixing bowls. In one bowl add the butter by cutting it up into cubes. Then mash the butter, and sugar together. Add the eggs and milk to the butter and sugar. You can use a hand mixer on low to incorporate. I used a fork and whisked it all together.
In a separate bowl mix together your dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, and pepper). Then pour that into the butter, sugar, milk, and egg mixture.
It will start to form a dough mixture. As it starts to form use your hands to start mixing the ingredients together. The dough should be soft, but not sticky..You may have to add a little more milk depending upon how it feels.
Once you have formed a ball of dough let it rest while you prepare the filling.
Cut all the meats and cheeses in small cubes and put in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl mix together the ricotta, eggs, Parmesan cheese, cornstarch, and cream. **Make sure to add the cornstarch to the 1/2 cup of cream and mix in there before you add it to the bowl.
Add the meats and cheese to the ricotta mixture and fold in. Add fresh black pepper as desired. Set aside.
Prepare to roll out the dough. Sprinkle some flour down on a flat surface and put some flour on your rolling pin as well. This helps keep the dough from sticking to the rolling pin and surface.
Take about 1/3 of the dough and roll it out into a flat, thin circle.
Place the dough over the pie plate so that it overflows the borders. Add the filling making sure you fill up the pie plate evenly.
If there is a lot of dough overflow use a sharp knife to cut away the extra dough. You can use that extra dough to roll out again and make strips to put over the top of the pie.
Take the egg yolk and beat it for the egg wash. Brush the egg yolk over the top of the pie.
Before putting it in the oven to bake for the 1 and 1/2 cover the edges of the pie with foil. The edges tend to cook quick than the rest of the pie and it burns. After about 45 minutes into baking remove the foil. Let the edges bake the rest of time.
Remove from the oven and let it cool before serving! Buona Pasqua!