Adventures in Rustica Pizza

This week’s recipe is Pizza Rustica. It’s a tasty take on a tart—sweet crust with a savory, salty filling. There’s been some debate over the sweet crust with a savory filling. For the record, I loved it!

The first thing you have to make is the crust. We’ve talked about my pie phobia. I have to say that either this was an easier crust, or I’m getting better. I’m sure it was easier.

I put the flour, salt, sugar (a third of a cup!) and baking powder in the food processor, pulsed it to mix, and cut in the butter. With the machine running, I added the eggs and let the dough come together. This dough gets kneaded on the counter before it gets refrigerated. This dough is more like cookie dough.

The directions say to mix the filling next. Combine ricotta, eggs, Pecorino Romano and mozzarella cheeses, proscuitto, fresh parsley and pepper. This is a great place to use your kitchen scale. You just put the bowl on the scale and zero it after each addition. Once your filling is mixed, you can get back to the crust.

The directions tell you to divide the dough, with one piece twice as big as the other. Take the larger piece and roll it out into a 12-inch circle. This goes in the pie pan. Then you put the filling in and smooth the top.

The smaller piece gets rolled into a square. (Yes, a square. Mine was square-ish, as you can see.) Then, it gets cut into twelve semi-even strips. I was having such a good time, that I decided to weave the lattice. (This really is an easy and forgiving dough to work with.) I wish I could tell you how I wove the lattice, but I really messed it up and had to redo it several times.

But it looked great when I finished it. See? My first lattice crust. My mom would be so proud. The recipe says to bake it for 35 to 40 minutes, but mine took about 50 minutes. It didn’t brown a lot.

We all enjoyed the pie. Even our little guy, who just had to get in the final picture. BTW, don’t even think about leaving out the parsley. This filling is rich and salty and needs the freshness and vegetal quality that an herb adds. I think you could successfully substitute another herb, maybe basil, chives or thyme. I know fresh herbs are expensive, but they’re worth it. Or you could grow some. Check out my 6 favorite herbs for year-round use