This is a classic Italian savory pie made with ricotta, mozzarella, and cold meats. It might be one of my favorite things to eat, ever. The crust is amazing and slightly sweet, something that goes incredibly well with the salty filling. It's a traditional dish for Easter, freezes beautifully, and a great recipe for leftovers: ham, prosciutto, pepperoni, cheese.
If it's a pie why is it called a pizza, right? I think that's the first question everyone makes! It's also called pizza chiena which means filled pizza. So even though it's made with pie crust similar to pasta frolla, the Italian pie dough, it does resemble a stuffed pizza. Sort of. Maybe.
Anyway, pie or pizza, this is a recipe to try as soon as you can! It's truly delicious, and the filling can be adjusted to your palate, or to the leftovers in your refrigerator, whatever comes first lol.
The original ingredient is called basket cheese, which I never had outside Italy, but is sort of a mix of ricotta and mozzarella, two ingredients found in this recipe today. You can buy it online and I will leave the links in the Notes of the recipe card.
- Pie crust: it's slightly sweet and that's one of the most interesting things about this recipe. Sometimes, I even use the recipe for pasta frolla, the one in the Best Lemon Ricotta Pie that is even sweeter. But any pie crust works, like the Flaky Pie Crust recipe used during the holidays.
- Ricotta: the regular type is recommended, not salty ricotta. If you can find basket cheese, by all means, use it, alone or together with ricotta.
- Cheese: I like to mix mozzarella and a semi-hard one like Fontina or Parmesan. Or sometimes all 3. But I also recommend this recipe to get rid of leftovers or bits and pieces that are lying around in your fridge.
- Cold meats: ham, salami or pepperoni, and sometimes mortadella (an Italian large pork sausage that sometimes incorporates pistachios) are my favorites. But, as with the cheese, using leftovers is recommended.
- Eggs: fresh ones are always the best.
The pie dough
We use an Italian recipe that is slightly sweet and marries so well with the savory filling. Trust me. It does. It can be made ahead and keep refrigerated for a couple of days or frozen for a month.
It's as easy as chopping cheeses and cold meats and mixing it all with ricotta and a few other ingredients. Choose ingredients that complement each other, some soft and some semi-hard cheeses and some spicier and milder cold meats.
As with any lattice pie, the dough needs to be divided into a larger and a smaller part, and the latter rolled out and cut into strips that will be placed over the filling, creating a criss-cross pattern. I always go for the simple one, because I'm not crafty.
My top tips
- Pie dough: we use a slightly sweet pie crust, but you can also use a savory dough like the basic shortcrust pastry for quiche or the great flaky pie crust recipe we use for holiday pies.
- Make-ahead: you can make the pie crust ahead and freeze or keep it refrigerated for several days before rolling and baking. And you can freeze the whole baked pie, always well wrapped in double plastic and foil.
- Flavorings: you can add some chopped tomato or more herbs to add some freshness to the filling. Basil or thyme go very well with the rest of the ingredients.
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This is a classic Italian savory pie made with ricotta, cheese, and cold meats. It might be one of my favorite things to eat, ever. The crust is amazing and slightly sweet, something that goes incredibly well with the salty filling. It's a traditional dish for Easter and a great recipe for leftovers.
For the dough:
- 2 cups (280g) all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup (50g) sugar
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (115g) butter, diced and cold
- 2 eggs
- 1 pound (450g) ricotta cheese
- 3 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese
- ½ cup chopped salami or pepperoni (or a mix of both)
- ½ cup chopped mortadella or ham (or a mix of both)
- ½ cup diced mozzarella cheese
- 1 tablespoon chopped basil or parsley, optional
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Have ready a 9-inch pie dish with a removable bottom, about 3-inches tall.
For the dough:
- Process flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder a few times to mix.
- Add butter cubes and process using on/off until it is the size of peas.
- Add the eggs and process until it starts to come together. Don’t let it turn into a ball.
- By hand: follow steps 1 through 3 working everything together with your hands (or a pastry cutter) in a large bowl. Continue with step 5, below.
- Dump the shaggy mass on a clean counter and finish gathering it with your hands until it comes together. Do not work it much, the butter must be cool.
- Flatten into a disc, wrap well in plastic, and chill for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.
- Divide the dough into two parts, one larger (about ⅔ of the amount) and one smaller (about ⅓).
- Roll out the large piece on a lightly floured counter. Keep the small part wrapped in the refrigerator.
- Line the pie pan making sure you don’t stretch the crust, pierce the bottom with a fork, and put it in the freezer or refrigerator while you make the filling.
For the filling:
- Mix eggs with the ricotta cheese and olive oil to mix in a large bowl.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Take into account how salty the cheeses and cold meats you use already are.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.
- Roll out the remaining ⅓ of the dough until it's at least the diameter of the pie pan you're using.
- Cut strips (I use the pizza wheel).
- Put the filling in the pan with the cold dough and smooth the surface.
- Top with the strips, starting with the middle longer ones and pressing on the edges where they meet the bottom dough.
- Make a criss-cross pattern, patching together strips that might break or are not long enough.
- Brush with a mixture of beaten egg and a tablespoon of milk or water if you want a shinier, deeper colored crust. I personally don't do it.
- Bake for about 60 minutes, until the dough is dry and lightly golden and the filling is puffed. It might take even longer than that.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
- Keep leftovers refrigerated, covered.
Pie dough: we use pasta frolla, the traditional Italian pie crust, but you can also use a savory dough like the basic shortcrust pastry for quiche or the great flaky pie crust recipe we use for holiday pies.
Make-ahead: you can make the pie crust ahead and freeze or keep it refrigerated for several days before rolling and baking. And you can freeze the whole baked pie, always well wrapped in double plastic and foil.
Flavorings: you can add some chopped tomato or fresh herbs to add some freshness to the filling. Basil or thyme go very well with the rest of the ingredients.
Keywords: pizza rustica