Easter in an Italian family may be celebrated with several different specialty items such as Pastiera (wheat pie) Quaresimali (Lenten biscotti) and Pizza Rustica. Pizza Rustica also called pizza ripiena (stuffed pie) or some Italian Americans call it pizza gain, as my family does. Pizza gain is a savory dish filled with ricotta cheese, diced cheeses and pork products. It is made to celebrate the end of Lent and the fasting from eating meat. As I now have a granddaughter, I felt the need to continue the family tradition of making pizza gain.
My mother’s recipe is made with ricotta cheese, basket cheese, eggs, Locatelli Romano cheese, boiled ham, prosciutto, pepperoni and mozzarella and at a cost of almost $30; it is not an inexpensive dish to prepare. With just over four pounds of cheese, approximately 2 pounds of meat, ½ pound butter, 4 cups of flour, ¼ cup Locatelli Romano cheese and 14 eggs, the final product weighs in at over 10 pounds
But with that said, it’s not a difficult recipe to prepare. This time I made the crust using a food processor and it worked out well. I diced all the meats and mozzarella ahead. For the filling I used a six quart Dutch oven pot. Once I had the pizza gain done, it was off to the oven for approximately an hour. After cooling, it needed to be chilled overnight.
The pizza gain was creamy from the cheeses, a bit of spice from the pepperoni and a hit of pepper.
Perhaps one day my granddaughter and I will spend a day in the kitchen making her great grandmother’s recipe. Buona Pasqua!
A former teacher, shop-a-holic, empty-nester redefining quick, family approved dinners.