I first made this recipe back in 2004, and it was a huge hit. This is a traditional Italian menu that is served around Lent and Easter. Below the main recipe is a salad recipe to serve as a side dish that will compliment the smoked ham and cheeses of the pie.
ITALIAN PIZZA RUSTICA (EASTER PIE)
[If you are pressed for time, instead of making the dough from scratch you could use a purchased ready-made pizza dough.]
4 C. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. (15 ml.) granulated yeast
¼ C. olive oil
1 ½ C. hot tap water
Place flour & salt in large bowl. Combine hot water, oil, & yeast in measuring C. with a fork. Add to flour & mix well. If dough is dry, add water as necessary. If dough is too sticky, add flour, one Tbs. at a time. Knead until dough forms ball. Leave in the bowl in warm place to rise until double in volume. Punch down before rolling.
Divide dough in half & roll to fit a large pie pan or 15 inch (35 cm) pizza pan. Place one circle on bottom of pan. Top with the filling, pressing out all air pockets. The pie will look too full. Top with remaining dough. Trim around pan with knife leaving about 1 inch (2 cm) extra all around. Press edges to seal & tuck sealed edge in all around pan. Prick top with fork several times to make air holes. Bake @ 200°C for 20 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 180°C & bake an additional 30 minutes.
2 C. cooked, smoked ham, cubed
2 C. cooked Italian sausage, sliced
250 gr. Mozzarella cheese, cubed or shredded
½ C. chopped parsley
4 hard boiled eggs, peeled & chopped
1 C. Ricotta cheese
salt & pepper to taste
Mix all chopped ingredients in large bowl. Place uncooked eggs & Ricotta cheese in blender container & mix on medium speed for about 1 minute. Add to the chopped ingredients & combine well.
BABY SPINACH & WALNUT SALAD
Fresh baby spinach leaves, enough for 4-6 servings
4 – 6 green onions, sliced thinly
1-2 C. walnut halves & pieces – as much as you like
8 oz. (225 gr.) Feta cheese, crumbled
2 or 3 tomatoes, cut in wedges or cubes
¾ C. extra virgin olive oil
1/3 C. cider vinegar
1 clove garlic, chopped or pressed
1 Tbs. soy sauce
2 Tbs. chopped fresh dill weed, or 1 Tbs dry
1 Tbs. chopped fresh mint, or 1 tsp. dry
salt & pepper to taste
For the salad, rinse the spinach leaves and drain well. Toast walnut pieces in a pan on the stove – no oil, just a dry roast, stirring to make sure they don’t burn; you’ll know when they’re done as they’ll smell wonderful. Allow the nuts to cool before adding them to the salad, or they’ll wilt the spinach. Combine the spinach, nuts, onions, cheese & tomatoes, pour dressing over & toss to coat.