Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Munch Madness IV: Pizza Rustica!!


March Madness is wrapping up as we're down to the Final Four! Are these the teams you expected? Somehow, someway it turns out that my bracket isn't as dead as I thought it was. I'm actually still in the running, as I have 2 of the 4 teams in the Final Four (don't ask me how, but I'm not going to complain!). This weekend is going to be a big one and I figured that big matchups deserved a big appy:  Pizza Rustica!

Pizza Rustica is a traditional Italian stuffed pizza served around Easter time. This has been a legendary recipe in my family. There aren't a lot of ingredients in it:  pizza dough, whole milk ricotta, mozzarella, dried sausage, soppressata, granulated garlic, egg and grated romano cheese. What you'll wind up with is a rich, creamy, cheesy bite of nirvana. It takes a little time to make and assemble this dish, but the results will make you a superstar.

Worth the effort
Pizza Rustica
(serves 10-12)
                                                        13x9x2 roasting pan                       2 packages pizza dough
32 oz container of whole milk ricotta
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 tsp granulated garlic
1/2 cup grated romano cheese
2 (16oz) packages mozzarella, sliced thinly
1 stick dry sausage, sliced
1 stick soppressata, sliced
olive oil


1.  Pre-heat oven to 350-degrees. Rub about 2 tsp olive oil all over the inside of a 13x9x2 roasting pan. Roll out 1 package of the pizza dough and place it inside the roasting pan. Make sure to leave some of the dough hanging over the edges.

2.  In a mixing bowl, stir together the ricotta cheese, 2 eggs, granulated garlic and romano cheese.

3.  Begin assembling the pizza filling:  pour half the ricotta filling into the pie shell. Smooth out. Place a layer of sliced mozzarella on top of the ricotta. Make sure the ricotta is covered with the mozz. Place a layer of dry sausage, followed by a layer of the soppressata. Pour the remaining ricotta over that and repeat with the layers.

4.  Roll out the second pizza dough and cover the top of the pie. Fold the dough from the bottom of the pie over the dough from the top. Roll to close and tighten around the edges. Brush the top with olive oil and pierce the dough in several places to vent.

5.  Place in the middle rack of your oven and bake for 2 hours until the dough is golden brown. About 90 minutes into baking, check the internal temperature of the pie. It should be 165-degrees. You need to make sure it hits that in order to guarantee that the eggs have cooked. If you notice that your crust is getting too brown  by that time and still need to keep baking the pie, cover it with foil and continue baking. Once the internal temperature hits 165, you can remove the pie from the oven and let cool completely. This is served room temperature.

6.  Once the pie is cool to the touch (usually in 2-3 hours), slice into small wedges and serve.

And there you have it! This takes a little time to prepare, but is absolutely worth every effort you make. Your guests will love you  -  and may never leave your house again!

Good luck with your brackets and we'll meet back here again next week!

Keep on homegating!

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