Recently crowned King of Baccalà, our new friend Michael Simon, visited with us last Friday to share with us the perfect holiday treat—a tasty, filled pizza pie! But not just any pizza!
The beginning of November is a special time in Italy; it is marked by the holiday along with the start of opera season and many cultural fairs and festivals held throughout the country. Italians celebrate November 1st (and often November 2nd) as All Souls Day—a religious holiday where it is custom to attend mass and gather with family to feast—all in honor of saints and loved ones whom have passed. Instead of a somber and sorrowful day, families gather to celebrate and share memories.
To honor Ognissanti, or Tutti i Santi (All Souls Day), Michael brought us a homemade Pizza Rustica topped sweetly (and very artfully, we might add!) with the words: "I love you, DeLallo." Talk about a treat, Michael's "Pizza Rustica" packs in over five pounds of our favorite Italian cured meats and soft cheeses, feeding us all with some to spare! Deli classics—like prosciutto, mortadella, pepperoni, provolone—are diced, then baked in a soft and savory egg filling enveloped in a flaky, buttery pizza crust!
Think: Frittata (or quiche!) meets deep-dish pizza.
But what if you want to substitute some ingredients?
"This is really flexible, so you can pretty much do what you like," Michael tells us."The recipe makes a 10-by-15-inch pan... I gave you a 9-by-13-inch pan, and there was plenty left over to make an 8-by-8-inch pan."
If you're planning on company, this easy-to-prepare recipe will be a hit at any occasion! The dough can be made in advance, or if you're really pressed for time, store-bought dough will do. Just in-time for the cold weather, Pizza Rustica is an experiment in the kitchen waiting to happen. We're excited to get busy and try different ingredients!
Plan on getting creative yourself? Tell us all about your Pizza Rustica adventures in the kitchen!
Prepare the dough:
For the dough: In a large bowl, whisk together 6 cups flour and the salt. Using a pastry cutter, large fork, or two knives, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add eggs and knead for 1 minute. Add about 1 1/4 cups ice water, a little at a time, to form a cohesive dough. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until it forms a large smooth ball, about 5 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes.
Prepare the filling:
In a large bowl, combine diced meats, cheeses,10 beaten eggs, pepper, nutmeg and allspice. Mix until fully incorporated.
Ready to bake:
Preheat oven to 350˚F degrees.
On a lightly floured work area, roll out two-thirds of the dough into a large rectangle to cover the bottom and sides of a deep baking dish. There should be some overhang. Evenly fill with egg mixture. Keep edges of dough slightly moist to prevent drying out until baking.
Roll out the remaining dough into a rectangle to top your pizza, leaving some to hang over. Seal the crusts by trimming off the excess and crimping the crusts together. Use a fork to poke several holes in the top.
Bake for 45 minutes, then remove from heat. Brush crust with beaten egg. Bake until crust becomes golden, about 45 more minutes. Allow pizza to set before serving.
Makes: one 10-by-15-inch pizza
***Simon's creation is an adaptation of a popular recipe from our foodie friends over at The New York Times.