This week’s TWD recipe is Pizza Rustica, a recipe from Nick Malgieri. I had never heard of Pizza Rustica and I always like to learn new things so I was really looking forward to trying this. Pizza Rustica is not a traditional pizza, as you’ve deduced from the photo. Some people say that it’s like an Italian quiche, I would say that it’s more like a tourte since two layers of dough encrust the filling.
Pizza Rustica, a traditional Italian savory pie, is typically eaten at Easter (don’t you love that the TWD team gives us recipes that keep with the calendar?). It uses a ricotta base mixed with several cheeses and cured and/or fresh meats. I’ve seen recipes with Italian sausage, prosciutto, mortadella, sopressatta, ham, along with parmesan, mozzarella and pecorino romano. Some recipes even call for boiled eggs. This all depends on which region of Italy the Pizza Rustica comes from. In many recipes, the ingredients are layered but in the Neapolitan version, the ingredients are simply chopped and mixed together, like in Nick Malgieri’s version.
This Pizza Rustica features a slightly sweet crust and a fairly straightforward filling with three types of cheeses and prosciutto. Some parsley and black pepper give it an extra kick. The dough for the crust was surprisingly simple to put together and the only change I made involved decreasing the amount of sugar as I had read that some people were put off by the sweet crust. I also used smoked mozzarella instead of regular mozarella and added a touch of arugula.
The Pizza Rustica turned out very savory thanks to the addition of the smoked mozzarella. The crust counterbalanced the savory filling perfectly with just the right amount of sweetness. I am not normally a fan of ricotta (I would rather eat a lasagna layered with bechamel sauce than with ricotta) as I find the texture too grainy for my liking. But the use of different cheeses and the addition of eggs made that graininess more subtle. Paired with a simple arugula salad, it made for a very fine meal indeed. I ate it at room temperature the next morning for breakfast and it tasted even better. According to Baking With Julia, it is usually considered casual finger food in Italy. I could not agree more as it was perfect for the picnic to which I brought the leftovers.
Recipe by Nick Malgieri, from Baking With Julia
Here are the changes that I made:
- Used 1/4 cup of sugar instead of 1/3 for the crust
- Used smoked mozzarella instead of regular mozzarella
- Used two eggs instead of three (this is a total oversight on my part and I have no idea how it happened. I realized only now that the recipe called for three eggs as I was reading it again for this blog post. The pizza rustica turned out great nonetheless)
- Added a layer of baby arugula in the middle (I only added a bit so the taste was not actually noticeable. I would try to use a thicker layer next time)
- Added more pepper (we really like black pepper in this household)
The Pizza Rustica right before going into the oven
- If the dough seems too dry, add 1 tablespoon of water, which is what I did as my eggs were on the smaller side.
- This is a really great dough to keep in your repertoire, it comes together in a few minutes and does not require resting.
- The recipe says that using a ruffle-edged pastry wheel is nice. I didn’t have one and I think my lattice top turned out beautiful anyway.
- I would try adding even more pepper and parsley next time since I couldn’t really taste the parsley this time around.
How did yours turn out? Did you make a lot of changes?