09 March 2008

Recipe: Pizza Rustica

For our Academy Awards dinner this year, I made Pizza Rustica. I made the recipe once before several years ago and it turned out good. When I decided to make it again, I looked it up on Epicurious. When I looked it up for my encore preparation, one of the user comments referred to a better recipe on the Food Network web site. There actually were several on that site. I liked the one by Giada De Laurentiis the best. The recipe below is adapted mostly from Giada’s version. I decided to layer the ingredients instead of combining them all in the ricotta mixture. I also substituted mushrooms for sausage, I included roasted red peppers in the mixture, and I didn’t include any prosciutto. It turned out really well. Try it and enjoy!

Pizza Rustica

2 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces white mushrooms
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 (10-ounce) package frozen cut-leaf spinach, thawed and drained
1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta
12 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
2 roasted red bell peppers

Pastry Dough, recipe follows
1 large egg, beaten to blend

Position the rack on the bottom of the oven, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Squeeze the spinach to drain as much liquid as possible. Into a large bowl, add egg yolks and beat lightly. Stir in the ricotta and 1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese. Add the spinach and garlic to the mixture and stir to combine.

Roll out larger piece of dough on a lightly floured work surface to a 17-inch round. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch springform pan. Trim the dough overhang to 1 inch. Spoon ½ of the ricotta mixture into the dough-lined pan. Layer in the red pepper, mushrooms, and half of the mozzarella. Cover with remaining half of the ricotta mixture and remaining mozzarella.

Roll out the remaining piece of dough into a 12-inch round. Place the dough over the filling. Pinch the edges of the doughs together to seal, then crimp the dough edges decoratively. Brush the beaten 1 large egg over the entire pastry top. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan over the top. Bake on the bottom shelf until the crust is golden brown, about 1 hour.

Let stand 15 minutes. Release the pan sides and transfer the pizza to a platter. Cut into wedges and serve.

Pastry Dough:

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, beaten to blend
2 to 4 tablespoons ice water

Blend the flour, the butter, the shortening and salt in a food processor until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Blend in the eggs. With the machine running, add the water 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough forms. Gather the dough into a ball. Divide the dough into 2 pieces, with 1 piece twice as large as the second piece. Flatten the dough pieces into disks. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until the dough is firm enough to roll out, about 30 minutes.

Yield: 2 dough pieces (enough for 1 Pizza Rustica)
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 30 minutes

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