Italian Easter Pie
Confessions of a SAHM does Pizzagaina
What is Pizzagaina?
Pizzagaina is Italian Easter pie. A very traditional savory dish that is a much-anticipated treat for Easter. It can be quite an undertaking to prepare, but I’ve got a simplified recipe here that the Italian Nonnis may curse me for but tastes great!
Made to feed a crowd, Italian Easter pie is a hefty construction of meats and cheeses wrapped in a flakey pastry crust. Sautéed broccoli rabe adds freshness and a touch of bitterness, and it wouldn’t be Italian without garlic. Make this at your next Easter brunch, lunch, dinner, or really any time of the year that you have a craving for melty cheese, Italian meats, and flakey-crust-perfection!
The best part you ask?….. You can make the dough up to three days in advance.
Italian Easter Pie
What you need:
- 3 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons cold water
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1¼ teaspoons salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces and chilled
- 6 tablespoons vegetable shortening, cut into ½-inch pieces and chilled
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 12-ounces broccoli rabe, trimmed and chopped
- 8-ounces hot Italian sausage, casings removed
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups whole-milk ricotta cheese
- 2 cups Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 8-ounces thinly sliced aged provolone cheese
- 6-ounces thinly sliced hot capicola
- 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
- 1 lemon zest
What you do:
- Whisk eggs and cold water together in a bowl; set aside.
- Process flour and salt in your food processor until combined, about 3 seconds. Scatter butter and shortening over top and pulse until only pea-size pieces remain, about 10 pulses.
- Add egg mixture and pulse until dough ball forms, about 20 pulses.
- Turn out dough onto a lightly floured counter and knead until smooth and elastic, about 20 turns.
- Divide dough into 1 (1-pound) ball and 1 (10-ounce) ball (roughly into two-thirds and one-third) and form each into a 6-inch disk. Wrap disks tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Heat oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering.
- Add broccoli rabe, sausage, and salt, and cook, breaking up sausage with spoon, until sausage is cooked through and broccoli rabe is tender, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Transfer to plate and let cool completely, about 15 minutes. Whisk ricotta, Pecorino, eggs, lemon zest, and black pepper together in large bowl.
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375°F.
- Grease dark-colored 9-inch round cake pan.
- Roll a 1-pound disk of dough into a 14-inch circle on a well-floured counter. Loosely roll dough around rolling pin and gently unroll it onto prepared pan, letting the excess dough hang over the edge.
- Ease dough into pan by gently lifting and supporting the edge of dough with your hand while pressing into pan bottom and sides with your other hand.
- Leave overhanging dough in place.
- Shingle half of provolone in the bottom of the dough-lined pan.
- Spread ricotta mixture over provolone.
- Scatter sausage mixture over ricotta mixture and press lightly into even layer.
- Shingle capicola over sausage mixture, followed by remaining provolone.
- Roll remaining disk of dough into 10-inch circle on a well-floured counter.
- Brush overhanging dough of bottom crust with egg wash. Loosely roll 10-inch circle around rolling pin and gently unroll it over filling.
- Trim overhanging top and bottom doughs to 1/2 inch beyond lip of pan and pinch firmly together.
- Fold overhanging dough inward so folded edge is flush with the edge of the pan.
- Crimp dough evenly around edge of pan with tines of a fork.
- Brush top of pie liberally with egg wash.
- Using paring knife, cut eight 1-inch vents in the top of the dough in a circular pattern.
- Bake until filling registers 150°F in the center of pie and crust is golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes.
- Transfer pie to wire rack and let cool for at least 4 hours or refrigerate for up to 2 days. Remove pie from pan, slice into wedges, and serve.