Not your typical pizza, Pizza Rustica is a hearty Italian two crusted pizza. Not the same as my grandmothers Easter pie made exclusively with eggs cheese and meat. This pizza is more reminiscent of traditional pizza but with a double crust and using ricotta and eggs. I particularly like this pie served at room temperature or slightly warmer, about an hour out of the oven. This recipe requires a little more time in the kitchen, but the results are well worth it!
1 10" pie plate serves 6-8 generously
For the crust...
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup butter, cold and cut into 1/2 inch bits
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3-4 Tablespoons dry Marsala, chilled or use cold water, the Marsala is really nice in the crust for this pie.
For the filling...
5 eggs, beaten well in a small bowl
1 pound good quality full fat Ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons minced onion
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoon chopped parsley, devided
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
28 oz. can good quality Italian plum tomatoes, pureed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
1 large green bell pepper, sliced into matchsticks
1 pound Italian sausage, skins removed, broken up and sauteed until browned
1/2 pound sharp provolone cheese, grated
1. To prepare the crust, in a medium bowl add flour, salt and butter bits. With a pastry cutter or a fork cut butter into flour until course crumbs are achieved.
Add lemon juice and Marsala or cold water to flour mixture and blend until it comes together, form a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and chill about 1/2 hour.
2. Prepare the tomato sauce, in a medium heavy bottomed sauce pan, on medium high heat, add olive oil. Add onions and saute for 3-4 minutes until translucent but not browned. Lower heat to medium and add parsley, giving it a turn with your spoon then add pureed tomatoes, a pinch of salt and fresh pepper. Stir to combine and let simmer well for about 30 minutes until reduced and thickened. Add chopped oregano and let cool slightly off the stove.
3. In a medium sized bowl, combine the Ricotta, beaten eggs, parmesan cheese, remaining 1 tablespoon chopped parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk together until well combined.
4. Remove dough from refrigerator and divide in half. Roll 1/2 the dough out on a lightly floured work table. Lay dough into pie plate, roll out second half of dough and set aside.
5. Gather your ingredients and prepare to assemble your pie.
Spread 1/2 of the ricotta mixture in the prepared pie shell, arrange over it 1/2 of the grated provolone cheese, cover with 1/2 the tomato sauce then 1/2 the browned sausage meat and 1/2 the green peppers on top of that. Repeat all the layers and cover with the top crust. Pinch the edges securely together and with a sharp knife, cut 3 slits across the top to vent. Bake in a 425° oven for about 40 minutes or until it is well browned and bubbly. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 1/2 an hour or longer.
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