Pizza giana rustica is an Italian savoury Easter pie. This Easter brunch or dinner recipe features a variety of meats and cheeses in every bite. It’s like a cross between a pie, a quiche, a pizza, and a calzone and I know you’re going to love it! Read on to discover how to make authentic and classic Easter dish with leftover ham for yourself. This egg, cheese and meat pie is sure to impress! This tasty dish is known by different names, including pizza ripiena, pizza chiena along with pizza giana rustica.
Also known as pizzagaina, pizza rustica, Italian ham pie, and pizza chiena, this egg, cheese and meat pie is a feast for the eyes as well as for the stomach. Tasty ingredients like eggs, ham, sausage, mozzarella, and provolone make this one of the most satisfying Easter dishes ever.
Pizza Giana Rustica Ingredients
Using premade pizza dough for this egg, cheese and meat pie saves you time and effort. Of course if you prefer to make your own pizza dough or you need to use a special type (for example, gluten free) go ahead. You will also need puff pastry.
As for the filling, the recipe calls for eggs, 4 kinds of meat, 4 kinds of cheese, garlic, and paprika. The recipe is wide open to tweaks and changes, so if you prefer other types of meat and/or cheese feel free to sub your favourites.
You will see the recipe lists ham, Italian sausage, capicola, and salami as the meats. Capicola, which is also known as capocollo or coppa, is a wafer-thin pork shoulder cold cut. You can find it at all good deli counters. This is the perfect recipe for using leftover ham.
If you want to experiment, pretty much any cold cut would work here, such as pastrami, prosciutto, bacon, or soppressata. Bear in mind a lot of these meats range from a bit salty to very salty. This is why you might need to adjust the amount of salt you add to the recipe.
The same applies to the cheeses. I typically use the parmesan romano, ricotta, mozzarella, and provolone listed in the recipe. However you can use whatever kinds of cheese you prefer. Stick to Italian cheeses for the most authentic result though!
How to Make this Classic Easter Dish
Brown and drain the sausage first of all and then mix it with the parmesan, eggs and other meats. Roll out the pizza dough and put it in a greased pan.
Add the mozzarella and provolone cheeses to the dish. Combine the eggs with the spices and seasonings and beat until frothy. Whisk in the ricotta.
Now mix the two bowls together and add half to the prepared pan. Add the rest of the mozzarella and provolone then the rest of the meat mixture.
Cut the pastry into strips and use these to top the meat mixture. I like to weave them together because it looks pretty! Make an egg wash with the egg, water and garlic then brush this over the pie.
Smoke it for about 5 hours then serve warm, garnished with herbs if you like. This egg, cheese and meat pie smells incredible while it cooks and it’s the perfect Easter brunch or dinner recipe.
History of Pizza Giana Rustica
This Italian savoury Easter pie is a traditional Italian savoury Easter pie which makes an eagerly awaited appearance during Easter. It was first made in Naples in the 1600s. As you might have guessed, is a great way to celebrate the end of Lent.
Whether or not you fast from dairy and eggs for those 40 days or not, pizza rustica is the ideal dish to present those delicious ingredients.
Southern Italians, including those from Naples, brought this recipe to America when they immigrated. The range of cold meats and cheeses was different in America so the Italian immigrants improvised, using locally available cold cuts and cheeses.
Since the recipe has evolved over time to reflect locally available ingredients, you can see why it’s perfectly fine to make the recipe your own and experiment with different kinds of cheese and meat.
This dish traditionally uses Italian basket cheese. That cheese is often hard to find, so ricotta salata (salted ricotta) is used in this recipe. These cheeses add a nice softness and flavour to the pizza rustica.
Italian Savoury Easter Pie FAQs
It’s completely your choice but in my opinion you can’t beat this classic Easter dish still warm from the oven! In Italy it’s typically served as an appetizer at room temperature.
This classic Easter dish is known by different names, including pizza ripiena, pizza chiena and pizza giana rustica. One reason for all the different names is regional dialects around the country, but each one means ‘stuffed pizza’. Since the Italian word ‘pizza’ translates to mean ‘pie’ in English, you can see how this mouth-watering dish got its name!
These are several differences between these two cheeses. Ricotta salata (also known as salted ricotta) is much saltier than ricotta cheese. As well, ricotta has a creamy and spreadable texture but ricotta salata is dry and crumbly. Lastly, ricotta salata is usually made with sheep’s milk ricotta, but fresh ricotta is typically made with cow’s milk, sheep’s milk, or even goat’s milk.
Pizza Giana Rustica Recipe
Pizza Giana Rustica – Italian Savoury Easter Pie
- 1 Pound pizza dough pre-made
- 2 Sheets puff pastry
- 11 eggs
- 3 eggs hard boiled, chopped
- 1 Pound ham baked or leftover, chopped
- 1/2 Pound sausage Italian, ground
- 4 Cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 Pound capicola spicy, chopped
- 1/4 Pound salami chopped
- 1/4 Cup parmesan cheese grated Romano
- 1 Teaspoon black pepper coarse
- 1 Teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 Pinch salt
- 1 Pound ricotta salata or the traditional Italian basket cheese
- 8 Ounces mozzarella cheese sliced
- 8 Ounces provolone cheese sliced
- 1/2 Teaspoon garlic paste
- basil chopped, optional garnish
- Preheat the smoker to 300 degrees F for 15 minutes with the lid closed. **We recommend using hickory wood chips, but this recipe will work with most. If cooking in an oven, preheat to 350 degrees F.
- Brown and drain the Italian sausage. Add sausage to a large mixing bowl. Combine with grated parmesan Romano cheese, chopped hard-boiled eggs, ham, capicola, and salami.
- Lightly flour a wooden cutting board. Place the pizza dough onto the flour and cover with parchment paper. Roll out to 1/4 inch thick.
- Butter the sides and bottom of a 10 inch spring form pan. Add dough to the pan and press to form up the sides. Allow 1” of the dough overhang.
- Use a fork to pierce the bottom of the dough 3 to 4 times. Lay ½ of the mozzarella and provolone to cover the bottom.
- Add 10 eggs to a large mixing bowl with garlic, pepper, smoked paprika, and a pinch of salt. Whisk until frothy.
- Add the ricotta cheese and whisk until smooth.
- Combine the 2 bowls together and stir with a wooden spoon. Pour ½ into the spring form pan and cover with remaining sliced mozzarella and provolone. Top with remaining egg and meat mixture
- Unroll the puff pastry sheets and cut each sheet into 6 equal strips. Lay 6 strips on a wooden cutting board side by side. Place one strip horizontally across the top of the 6. Weave the strips together. Place on top of the pizza giana and trim away any overhang.
- Roll up the overhanging pizza dough around the top of the pan to form a rim and cover the edges of the pastry.
- Whisk remaining egg, 1 tbsp of water, and garlic paste to form egg wash. Brush on top of the pie.
- Place into the smoker and smoke for 5 hours. If cooking in an oven, cover with foil and cook for 1 hour. Then remove foil and cook for another 15 minutes until golden brown. Check centre to make sure cooked through. If needed, cook longer but check often.
- Let stand 15 to 20 minutes. Release the pan sides and transfer the pizza to a platter to cut into wedges.
The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.
Whether you enjoy it as an Easter brunch or dinner recipe, there’s no doubt you will love this dish that uses leftover ham. Pizza giana rustica sandwiches various meats and cheeses with eggs, garlic, and seasonings, in between two layers of pastry for the ultimate Easter treat.