Sunday, April 08, 2007

Buona Pasqua

I love candy as much as the next person (okay, maybe a little more), but my favorite Easter treat isn't jelly beans or marshmallow chicks. It is a savory pie stuffed with prosciutto, salami, pepperoni, mozzarella, parmesan and ricotta cheese, known as Pizza Rustica. (Though some members of my family call it "Cement Pie," since an old version of the pie contained a dozen hard-boiled eggs, probably single-handedly raising each of our cholesterol by 50 points.)

When I was growing up, my mother and her sisters would congregate at somebody's house on Good Friday afternoon, pour themselves each a glass of wine, and churn out five pies, one for each sister and her family, and one for their parents. Over the years we've tried a few different recipes (in addition to the original cement one). But the one I made last year, and shared with my aunts this year, is my favorite: in addition to the meats and cheese, it includes chopped spinach and roasted red peppers (and skips hard-boiled eggs entirely). It's colorful when you slice it, and at least gives the illusion of being vaguely healthy (notice I said illusion).

It's a pretty simple recipe, made more so if you have a few extra sets of hands helping you, as well as the aid of a food processor. You make a basic pastry dough and divide it in two pieces, one for the bottom and one for the top. Once you've laid the bottom piece of dough into a springform pan, you layer in the ingredients, alternating between spinach, mozzarella, ricotta (blended with parmesan cheese and three egg yolks--you knew they'd show up somewhere), peppers, prosciutto, pepperoni and salami.
Top with the other piece of dough, and bake.

My mom, Aunt Ann and I whipped that baby out in an hour on Friday afternoon. When we served it as an appetizer at Easter dinner it went over like a cement brick landing on a jelly bean: a smash hit.--S

1 comment:

Laura said...

This looks 100x better than the old cement pie we used to make! Thanks for the recap, dig the photos!! Laura