Pizza Rustica

Another traditional Easter dish is the pizza rustica. Although I often serve this as an appetizer, traditionally it’s made on Easter morning so you can have something to serve to anyone who drops by to wish you a happy holiday. After 40 days of lent, the salame would’ve been a welcome change of pace.

There’s no definitive recipe—you basically beat some eggs and ricotta and mix in some diced meats and cheese. I typically use about a quarter to a half pound of each type, but you can use more or less according to taste. When I was a kid, my grandparents in Brooklyn would get a special cheese that was only made around Easter time. We called it basket cheese, because it came in little woven plastics baskets. I’ve never been able to find it since—the closest thing I can find is the queso fresco from the Mexican markets. We also would get a special loaf of bread that was baked with an egg in the middle. Again, I’ve never seen it since. 

You can make your own crust—any savory pie crust recipe will do—but I typically just get a premade crust from the grocery store, the kind you find in the refrigerated section. This isn’t a dish that should take a lot of time or effort.

What you need

  • 1 ½ lb ricotta

  • 5-6 eggs

  • ½ cup grated cheese

  • Mozzarella (whole-milk “pizza cheese,” not the soft kind)

  • Queso fresco

  • Ham steak

  • Salami—Genoa, Calabrese, pepperoni

  • Parsley

  • Pie crust

pizza rustica

How you make it

  • Cut the meat and cheese into small cubes.
  • Beat the ricotta and eggs together. with a dash of salt and pepper. Add in the parsley and grated cheese.
  • Mix the meat and cheese into the egg and ricotta.
  • Line a 10-in. spring-form pie plate with a prepared crust.
  • Pour mixture into crust.
  • Use additional crust to form a lattice on top, crimping the edges.
  • Bake in a medium (~350 deg) oven for about an hour.

Serve at room temperature, or refrigerated.

Buon appetito!

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