I was excited to make something savory, that could actually pass as dinner, but not as jazzed about the “pizza” aspect. Throw pizza out the window because it has nothing to do with this recipe!!! Pizza rustica is more savory tart or pie (think quiche, not so eggy, very cheesy) with a sweet crust. It does not resemble pizza except for the meat and cheese aspect – no tomato saucy thing here.
As I read through the recipe, it called for the dough, a pasta frolla, to be made in a food processor. My food processor died weeks ago, and I hadn’t replaced it. I walked into Bed, Bath, & Beyond thinking I’d make a quick purchase of another one, but the variety and the price tag put me off. I chose to make it in my Kitchen Aid mixer and it worked beautifully. Using the whisk attachment I blended the dry ingredients, and added the eggs while it was still mixing. After the dough came together, I used my bread hook to knead for a minute. The dough was not sticky in the least and I was able to roll it into a ball, wrap it in plastic, and set it aside while I made the filling.
The filling of ricotta, shredded mozzarella, pecorino romano (I used parm), prosciutto, eggs, and parsley came together quickly, though looked a bit puny for filling a 9″ pie dish. I rolled out the dough easily, and pressed the bottom into a buttered dish. Then I made my lattice top crust (I will be investing in a pastry wheel for the pretty edges). My filling only filled the pie dish 3/4 of the way, seemed like it would have fit better in an 8″ pie dish.
The edges of my pie browned quickly, while the lattice crust barely browned at all. I put foil over the edges of my crust and added to a few minutes to see if I could brown up the lattice, but I didn’t want to overbake, so I ended up taking it out.
I served the pizza with an arugula-pear-blue cheese salad. The filling was bland, but yummy. While I thought I used quite a bit of prosciutto, it seemed to be lost in cheese. I kept waiting for the salty contrast with the sweet crust. Next time, I would use more prosciutto and maybe some sauteed shallots or very mild mushrooms to liven up the filling. The crust, however, could have been eaten on its own. It tasted like shortbread! I am not really a pie crust eater, but this was truly delicious.
I wish I could say the pizza rustica was a hit with ma familia, but it wasn’t. I didn’t even understand why – it was very beige, no dominant flavors. I wondered if that was the problem, so the next night I served the pizza with a side of marinara, thinking that might make it more palatable for them. It didn’t work.
While this recipe may not work as a family dinner, I would definitely serve it at a luncheon with a salad. Who wants to come over?
One thing I am noticing as we bake is that my confidence with dough is soaring. I don’t even bat an eye at a pastry crust anymore – that is progress.