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Pizza Rustica: An Italian Easter Tradition

Pizza Rustica is a staple on every #Italian table during the #Easter season. And it has nothing to do with #pizza.

Think of #PizzaRustica as an elevated quiche that features a more savory dough both below and on top of a savory filling of eggs, cheese, sausage, pancetta, spinach and more. Traditionally, Pizza Rustica is eaten on Good Friday to celebrate the end of Lent - it’s the first taste of meat on Friday. Meats used vary by region. The south loves pancetta while in the north thin slices of prosciutto reign supreme. I’ve also made this with cubed salami or any meat (and cheese for that matter) left over from the antipasto tray.

This is a hearty pie crust, but you can use any pie crust recipe you like. Or even those premade, frozen pie crusts you probably stocked up on when the #quarantine shopping frenzy hit. It’s also recommended to use a springform pan or heavy casserole pie dish instead of tin pie rounds simply because the filling is so heavy.

#GreenApronKitchen will be making this #recipe in a #virtualcookingclass on Friday at noon if you want to join us!

Easter Table Pizza Rustica

For the Crust

4 c. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 c. (2 sticks) butter, cold and cut into cubes

3 large eggs, beaten

6 tbsp. ice water

For the Filling

1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 lb. spicy Italian sausage, casings removed

1/2 lb. sweet Italian sausage, casings removed

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 c. baby spinach

8 large eggs

1 (16-oz.) container ricotta

1 c. shredded mozzarella

¼ cup shredded sharp provolone

1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan

4 oz. salami chopped, pancetta cubes, or thin slices of prosciutto

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Egg wash, for brushing

Make dough: In a large bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Add butter and cut into flour with a pastry cutter or your hands until pea-size and some slightly larger pieces form. Add eggs and knead with your hands to combine, then add cold water 1 tablespoon at a time until dough comes together. Cut off ⅓ of the dough. This will be the top of the pie. The larger piece will be the bottom. Form both pieces of dough into discs and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 1 hour.

Meanwhile make filling: In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Crumble sausage into the pan and cook, continuing to break it up until you can no longer see any pink pieces. This will probably take 5- 6 minutes. Add garlic and spinach and cook until spinach is wilted, 2 minutes more. Remove from heat and let cool in the pan. In a large bowl, combine eggs, ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, provolone, salami, and the cooled sausage mixture. Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 375° and grease an 8" springform pan or heavy duty baking dish with cooking spray or olive oil. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the larger piece of dough into a 16" circle. Transfer to prepared pan, guiding dough upward and letting excess hang over the sides. Roll smaller piece of dough into a 12" circle. Pour filling over bottom crust, then top with smaller crust. Trim overhang to 1" then pinch crusts together and crimp.

Cut slits in pie crust for steam to escape. Brush top with egg wash and bake until golden, 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes, then remove springform ring to serve.

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