Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Italian Easter Pie

Italian Easter Pie, Pizza Rustica, Torta, Easter Pie, whatever you call it, it's good.  I had never even heard of Easter pie until I moved to the East Coast.  Take a savory double crust pie and fill it with eggs, cheese and meat.  My crack researchers (Google and I ) tell me it is an Italian tradition that marks the end of meatless meals and is usually served on Easter morning or the day before.

I'm not Italian and it's not quite Easter yet but every year around this time I remember to make this. While everyone is pretending to be polite while coveting the last remaining piece, I think "Why don't I make this more often?"  There are as many recipes and variations of this dish as there are Nonnas but here is my version.  Oh, and take it from me, you might want to clarify to your children that no, pie for dinner does not mean what they think it means. Hopefully after one taste, they'll forgive you.

Italian Easter Pie
Serves 8

2 9-inch pie crusts (your favorite recipe or store-bought)
6 eggs + 1 egg for egg wash
2t olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
8 oz. diced prosciutto
8 oz. ricotta cheese
2 oz. shredded sharp provolone cheese
2 oz. Grana Padano cheese
2 oz. shredded fresh mozarella
3 T grated Parmesan cheese
1t water

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Roll out your bottom pie crust.  Place the bottom pie crust in a 9-inch deep dish pie pan.  You could also use a cake pan for this.  Do not crimp sides yet.
3. Saute diced onion in olive oil until soft and golden, about 5 minutes. Let cool.
4.  In a large bowl, beat 6 eggs. Add the ricotta and whisk until lumps are gone.  Add prosciutto, provolone, Grana Padano and mozzarella cheese.  Add cooked onion and black pepper to taste.
5. Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese on the bottom pie crust.
6. Pour egg mixture into your pie crust.
7. Roll out top pie crust and place over pie.  Fold the overhang of the top crust over and tuck it behind the edges of the bottom crust.  Crimp them together.
8. Beat your remaining 1 egg with 1 teaspoon of water.  Brush over top and edge of pie.  Cut a slit in pie to vent.
9. Bake 40-50 minutes until top starts to look golden brown.
10. Let rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.  This is important so it won't ooze all over when you cut it!

**Do not be tempted to add any salt.  You get plenty of salt from the cheeses and prosciutto.  Feel free to substitute a different combo of Italian cheeses or meats.

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