Pizzagaina

Pizzagaina (which is literally pronounced like "pizza" and "gain" and feels like a personal attack) is an Italian Easter Pizza that originated in the south of Italy in Naples centuries ago. It was meant to be an indulgent treat at the end of fasting 40 days for Lent, and that tracks because it's 99% meat and cheese.


In the Pelosi Family, we live like every day is day 41, in case that wasn't obvious. There are so many ways to make Pizzagaina and so many names to call it, but this recipe is the Pelosi way. When Italians immigrated to America, they were left to improvise their meats and cheeses for their Pizzagaina, and thus several variations were born from the same concept. I encourage you to throw in whatever meats and cheeses you have, use your favorites, and experiment. At the end of the day, it's a meat and cheese pie and we live here now!

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:


Crust*:

2 cups flour**

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 stick (8 tablespoons) of cold butter

½ cup cold water

1 egg

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper


Filling:

3 lbs. ricotta cheese

1 cup grated parmesan

10 oz. thick sliced boiled ham, cubed

8 oz. prosciutto, cubed

4 oz. salami, cubed

12 eggs

Pepper, lots of pepper


WHAT YOU'LL DO:


First thing's first, let's get greasy. Grease a 9x13 baking dish with butter and preheat your oven to 350º.


Next, let's make the crust. In a large bowl, add 2 cups flour, 1 stick butter cup, salt, pepper, 1 egg, 2 tsp baking powder. Smash until butter is pea sized using masher, hands, or a fork. Add ½ cup cold water. Using your hands, combine all ingredients until a shaggy dough forms. Still using your hands, form dough into tight a ball.


Place your dough ball (me) in 9x13 greased baking dish. Spread your dough into the pan with your fingers evenly around bottom of pan and up the sides.


Now we make the filling. This is the good part, kids! In a large bowl, add 3 lbs. of ricotta like it's not a big deal and something you do every day. Add in 10 oz cubed ham, 8 oz prosciutto, and 4 oz salami (and feel free to adjust these ratios of meat to your liking!). Add 1 cup of grated parmesan (you can also use pecorino or a mix). Add so much pepper that your wrist hurts from grinding it (that's what he/she said?) or, be less dramatic than me, and just add 2 tablespoons of fresh pepper. Mix all ingredients until combined.


Next, blend 12 eggs together in a blender (or whatever blender-like contraption you have). Add blended eggs to bowl of cheese and meat, pray the rosary, and stir with wooden spoon. I told you you'd need a big bowl!


Grab your pan with your dough and add your cheesy eggy meat mixture to fill it. Place pan into a 350º oven for 60-70 minutes until the top is nice and golden brown. Let cool, then slice, share and enjoy!


Store in the refrigerator as you slowly make your way through this glorious Italian delight. You can reheat slices or eat them cold, the choice is yours!


*Recipe can be made crust-free if preferred! Just follow directions exactly as written, omitting the crust all together.

**Gluten free All-Purpose 1:1 flour can be used.


Make it step-by-step with me below!

1. In a large bowl, add 2 cups flour, 1 stick butter cup, salt, pepper, 1 egg, 2 tsp baking powder.

2. Smash until butter is pea sized using masher, hands, or a fork, incorporating ingredients along the way.

3. There ya go!

4. Add ½ cup cold water to bowl.

5. Using your hands, combine all ingredients until a shaggy dough forms.

6. Still using your hands, form dough into tight a ball.

7. Place your dough ball (me) in 9x13 greased baking dish.

8. Spread your dough into the pan with your fingers evenly around bottom of pan and up the sides. Set aside.

9. Now we make the filling. This is the good part, kids! In a large bowl, add 3 lbs of ricotta like it's not a big deal and something you do every day.

10. Combine 10 oz cubed ham, 8 oz prosciutto, 4 oz salami (feel free to shift these meat ratios to your liking!).

11. Add 1 cup of grated parmesan (you can also use pecorino or a mix).

12. Add so much pepper that your wrist hurts from grinding it (that's what he/she said?) or, be less dramatic than me, and just add 2 tablespoons of fresh pepper.

13. Mix all ingredients until combined.

14. Next, blend 12 eggs in blender!

15. Add blended eggs to bowl of cheese and meat, pray the rosary, and stir with wooden spoon. I told you you'd need a big bowl!

16. Grab your pan with your dough and add your cheesy eggy meat mixture to fill it.

17. Place pan into a 350º oven for 60-70 minutes until the top is nice and golden brown.

18. Let cool, slice, share and enjoy!


Store in the refrigerator as you slowly make your way through this glorious Italian delight. You can reheat slices or eat them cold, there are no rules here except to enjoy yourself!

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