Anthony Iannacone is an old friend with whom I have corresponded for years. His family is from the southern Italian region of Campania, and he wrote a cookbook entitled Campania Region, An Italian Food Legacy. Among the many classic dishes in this book is Pizza Rustica, and he has kindly shared it with us:
"This is an Easter tradition that originated in Naples and spilled over into other regions," he says. "The recipes were passed from family to family and many changes were made in the contents. Families have argued about how to make it and what should go into it. This is my family's recipe, which is more than 75 years old."
[Edited by Danette St. Onge]
- For the Crust:
- 6 cups/720 grams flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 6 eggs
- 1/2 pound/212 grams unsalted butter (softened)
- 1 egg (lightly beaten, for egg wash)
- For the Filling:
- 1 pound/450 grams prosciutto (cut it into 1/2- to 3/4-inch strips)
- 1 pound 450 grams soppresatta (cut in strips like the prosciutto)
- 2 pounds/900 grams ricotta
- 1 pound/450 grams mozzarella (cubed)
- 1 cup/70 grams grated Parmesan cheese
- 18 large eggs
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
To Make The Dough
- Combine the dry ingredients, cut up the butter and spread over the dry ingredients, and mix until blended.
- Add the eggs and mix all together to form a ball. Place on a floured cutting board and knead.
- Spread some flour on the board and form the dough into two thick round circles. Wrap it in plastic and chill it for 45 minutes.
- Some people put a little sugar in the dough to make it sweet; that is optional.
To Assemble the Pizze Rustica
- Preheat your oven to 350 F. Put the oven racks in the lower third of the oven.
- Place all the filling ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly.
- Cut the dough into four pieces and roll out thinly on a floured cutting board. Place one piece in each spring form pan, covering bottom and sides.
- Pour the filling mixture into each pan, filling them to a little below the top. Cover the tops with the remaining dough and flute the edges. Put a few fork holes in the top to release the steam.
- Brush egg wash over the top.
- Cook for about 1 hour, or until the crust is golden brown.
- Test with a food thermometer. It should read 165 to 170 F (135 C).
- Remove and let it cool for several hours.
- Pizza Rustica is best served at room temperature or even a little cool. Slices are served prior to the main entree as an appetizer. This pizza is made 1 to 2 days before Easter. When wrapped it will keep up to a week in the refrigerator.