I’m always excited when I come across a dish I’ve never heard of – like the Pizza Rustica I made for today’s Tuesdays with Dorie challenge. This dish is a savory pie – closer to a quiche than to what most of us think of as pizza. Rustic Pizza is a traditional Easter dish in parts of Italy and well known to many Italian Americans as cold cut pie. In Naples, they call it Pizza Chiena, or full pie.
Whatever you call it, the fillings often contain ricotta and pork, and the crust is always made with sugar.
This posed a couple problems for me. First the pork – I went a whole year of Charcutepalooza only eating pork a few times and I didn’t want to make an Easter pastry K.M. wouldn’t eat. But luckily, Charcutepalooza solved that problem – I already had home-cured duck prosciutto and duck salami on hand.
The crust was a bigger dilemma. I’ve been working hard on my pie crust since I was lucky enough to take a class at Art of The Pie in 2010. I’ve got it down now. I don’t measure, use a food processor, or ever experience pie crust anxiety these days. And I’m not really wild about the idea of a sweet crust on a savory pie.
Just when I thought I’d decided to stick with my own crust, I came across this article by Nick Malgieri, the cooking teacher who appeared with Julia Child on Baking with Julia, and contributed his pizza rustica recipe to the book. Malgieri strongly urges his readers to give the sweet crust a try, in “the real Neapolitan way.”
So I made the crust by the book – though I did replace the all-purpose flour with whole wheat pastry flour. And I added lots of greens to the filling – sauted kale and chard. My pie would work just as well on St. Patrick’s day as it would for Easter brunch.
I loved the filling – rich and light at the same time, with nice hits of salt from the salami and duck prosciutto. But I wasn’t wild about the sweet crust, I’m afraid. For me, it was a distraction – another lesson, when cooking, always follow your own instincts – even when they override centuries of tradition. After all, who’s going to eat that pie?
You can find the recipe for Rustic Pizza on the blogs of our hosts, Raelynn of The Place They Call Home, and Emily of Capital Region Dining. And don’t forget to stop by the main page of Tuesdays with Dorie/Baking with Julia where you will find links to all the participating bloggers.