Rețete tradiționale

Pizza rustica

Pizza rustica

Am pregatit intai aluatul, mixand ingredientele. Cand folositi drojdie proaspata nu uitati sa o dizolvati intai in putin lapte si zahar, dupa care o lasati sa se odihneasca in faina. Abia apoi turnati praful de sare, apa calduta si uleiul de masline.

Daca vi se pare ca mai e nevoie, mai adaugati putina faina, pana aluatul nu se mai lipeste de maini.

Lasati sa creasca aluatul cel putin doua ore, pentru ca va fi foarte pufos.

Eu l-am pregatit cu o seara inainte, asa ca astazi mi-a venit foarte usor doar sa tai maslinele rondele, ceapa, mozzarella si rosia la fel si doar sa le arunc peste aluat.

Am preferat sa intind aluat pentru doua pizza, pentru a combina diferit ingredientele. Fiecare cu preferintele lui, de care incer sa tin mereu cont. :)

Cum spuneam, am intins aluatul, l-am asezat in tavi si am presarat putin cimbru si sare. Am adaugat mozzarella, rondele de ceapa, masline si porumb pe una dintre ele.

Cea de a doua am pregatit-o fara ceapa, dar am adaugat rondele de rosii.

Am pus tavile in cuptorul incalzit deja pana pizza a prins o culoare aurie, semn ca e gata.

Cine pofteste o felie calda? :)



Celebrate Easter the Italian way - with pizza rustica

The city's Italian bakeries are laying in extra supplies of prosciutto, salami, capicola and mozzarella this week, but not to make into sandwiches. Instead, they form the base for pizza rustica, the savory Easter pie that shoppers will be hopping into stores to buy in the next few weeks.

The robust pastry, served in wedges as an antipasto before Easter dinner, is just one of several Italian classics made primarily for this holiday. Pastiera di grano, a sweet bread filled with wheat kernels and ricotta, is another one, as is the colomba pasquale, a dove-shaped bread studded with almonds and candied orange peel.

"Pizza rustica is very labor intensive," says Michele Iavarone, the daughter of John Iavarone, of Iavarone Bros. in Queens. "We start baking these a couple of weeks before Easter, and they're sold in all four of our stores. A lot of people don't make this at home any more but they still want to have it on the table for Easter."

At Rocco Pastry Shop in the Village, which has been in the Generoso family since 1974, pizza rustica contains assorted meats, along with ricotta and mozzarella.

"It is rich and it is traditional," says Rocco Generoso Jr. "Our whole family gets together for Easter and we put it on the table before the main course."

Generoso's extended family – including a sister, aunt, uncle and assorted cousins – work with him to fill all the orders every Easter. And they eat the pizza rustica the week after Easter, too. He says that as it's quite filling, leftover pizza rustica could even be eaten as the main course at lunch, perhaps with salad.

For dessert, many Italians opt for a pastiera, which is like a cheesecake flavored with orange flower water and wheat berries. It originated in Naples and often has a lattice design on top.

"Pastiera represents a looking forward to spring," says Carolyn Renny, pastry chef and co-owner of Bar Stuzzichini in the Flatiron district. (It will be on the menu for the week leading up to Easter.)

Adds Renny: "It's a prelude to spring and for me, it is a nice way to keep Italian traditions and history alive."

Here's where to buy pizza rustica, pastiera di grano, and other Italian Easter treats. Recipes for two Italian Easter classics follow the list.

Iavarone Bros, 6900 Grand Ave. at 69th St. in Queens (718-639-3623) and also at 75-12 Metropolitan Ave. in Queens (718-326-0510). The website is www.IBfoods.com. You can order both pizza rustica and pastiera online baked goods can be shipped wherever you specify.

Rocco Pastry Shop, 243 Bleecker St. between Carmine and Leroy Sts. (212-242-6031). Rocco Generoso, Jr. sells pizza rustica by the pound and by the pan. It costs $8 a pound and the pans are 6, 8 and 10 inches wide. Order online at www.roccospastry.com.

Grandaisy Bakery, 73 Sullivan St. near Spring St. (212- 334-9435.) Shop here for an excellent colomba Pasquale, a dove-shaped sweet bread that contains almonds and candied orange peel. The large is $25 and the small is $20. Website: www.grandaisypastry.com.

Buon Italia, Chelsea Market, 75 Ninth Ave near 15th St. (212- 633-9090). Here you will find the pastiera di grano (filled with wheat kernels and ricotta) along with an excellent pizza rustica made with pecorino and pancetta, in addition to eggs and salami. Website: www.buonitalia.com.

Villabate Pasticceria & Bakery, 7117 18th Ave. near 71st St., Brooklyn (718-331-8430). At this longtime Bensonhurst bakery, you'll find an excellent pastiera di grano as well as pizza rustica. Website: www.villabate.net. (Next week, the bakery is moving to 7001 18th Ave. near 70th St.)

And if you'd like to make your own, here are two classic Italian Easter pastries to try.

Pastiera di Grano (Traditional Neapolitan Easter Pie)
Makes 2 pies, serving at least 12

From Carolyn Renny at Bar Stuzzichini. Look for whole wheat berries at Kalustyan's or Whole Foods Market. If you can't find whole wheat berries, substitute pearl barley. You can also find orange flower water at Kalustyan's.

1/3 cup hulled wheat berries

For the crust:
4 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1-1/2 sticks chilled butter, cubed
5 eggs

For the filling:
2-1/4 cups whole milk ricotta
1-1/4 cups sugar plus 1/4 cup sugar for the egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup finely minced candied orange
6 large eggs, separated, 4 whites reserved
2 teaspoons orange flower water

For egg wash:
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water

In boiling water to cover, simmer the wheat berries for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat. Let them sit in the water for at least 1 hour. Meanwhile, prepare the dough. In a food processor combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Pulse to combine. Add cold butter and pulse until mixture looks crumbly and the butter is in pieces no bigger than the size of a pea.

Add the eggs one at a time, putting them through the tube of the processor while pulsing.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead until it becomes soft and pliable. Divide in quarters, wrap in plastic and let rest for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

To prepare the filling: In a large mixing bowl, stir together the ricotta, 1-1/4 cups sugar, cinnamon and candied orange. Whisk in egg yolks and 2 of egg whites. Add the orange flower water and the drained wheat berries.

In a separate bowl, beat the 4 egg whites with 1/4 cup sugar until stiff and fold into the ricotta custard mixture.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Dust a work surface with flour. Roll out half the dough into 2 disks large enough to fit into and line the sides of two deep 9-inch round cake pans. Trim off excess. Divide the filling between the 2 dough-lined pans. Roll out remaining dough into a 9 by 13-inch rectangle. Cut into 3/4-inch strips and arrange about 6 strips diagonally over the filling and over the sides of the pan on each pie. Arrange 6 strips in the opposite direction to form a lattice top.

Fold the over hang of dough just over the top of the pie. Brush lattice top with egg wash.

Bake for 1 hour or until a knife inserted in the middle should come out clean. Allow to cool completely, then refrigerate for at least 12 hours before serving.

Pizza Rustica
Serves 10-12

From Michele Scicolone's "Italian Holiday Cooking" (Morrow, $35)

For dough:
1 package (2-1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 to 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the filling:
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing
2 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage meat
3 eggs
1 (32-ounce) container whole-milk or part-skim ricotta
1/4 cup freshly grated pecorino romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 pound mozzarella, sliced or chopped
4 ounces sliced Swiss cheese, cut into narrow strips
8 ounces cooked ham, cut into narrow strips
4 ounces sliced Genoa salami, cut into narrow strips
3 ounces sliced pepperoni, cut into narrow strips

To make dough, sprinkle yeast over 1-1/2 cups warm water in large bowl. Let stand until yeast is creamy. Stir to dissolve. Stir in oil. Add 3-1/2 cups of the flour and the salt and pepper. Stir until a dough forms.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding more flour as needed, until smooth and no longer sticky. Shape dough into a ball. Place it in a large oiled bowl, turning once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. To make filling, combine oil and onions in large skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the onions are tender and golden, about 10 minutes. Remove onions from pan.


Celebrate Easter the Italian way - with pizza rustica

The city's Italian bakeries are laying in extra supplies of prosciutto, salami, capicola and mozzarella this week, but not to make into sandwiches. Instead, they form the base for pizza rustica, the savory Easter pie that shoppers will be hopping into stores to buy in the next few weeks.

The robust pastry, served in wedges as an antipasto before Easter dinner, is just one of several Italian classics made primarily for this holiday. Pastiera di grano, a sweet bread filled with wheat kernels and ricotta, is another one, as is the colomba pasquale, a dove-shaped bread studded with almonds and candied orange peel.

"Pizza rustica is very labor intensive," says Michele Iavarone, the daughter of John Iavarone, of Iavarone Bros. in Queens. "We start baking these a couple of weeks before Easter, and they're sold in all four of our stores. A lot of people don't make this at home any more but they still want to have it on the table for Easter."

At Rocco Pastry Shop in the Village, which has been in the Generoso family since 1974, pizza rustica contains assorted meats, along with ricotta and mozzarella.

"It is rich and it is traditional," says Rocco Generoso Jr. "Our whole family gets together for Easter and we put it on the table before the main course."

Generoso's extended family – including a sister, aunt, uncle and assorted cousins – work with him to fill all the orders every Easter. And they eat the pizza rustica the week after Easter, too. He says that as it's quite filling, leftover pizza rustica could even be eaten as the main course at lunch, perhaps with salad.

For dessert, many Italians opt for a pastiera, which is like a cheesecake flavored with orange flower water and wheat berries. It originated in Naples and often has a lattice design on top.

"Pastiera represents a looking forward to spring," says Carolyn Renny, pastry chef and co-owner of Bar Stuzzichini in the Flatiron district. (It will be on the menu for the week leading up to Easter.)

Adds Renny: "It's a prelude to spring and for me, it is a nice way to keep Italian traditions and history alive."

Here's where to buy pizza rustica, pastiera di grano, and other Italian Easter treats. Recipes for two Italian Easter classics follow the list.

Iavarone Bros, 6900 Grand Ave. at 69th St. in Queens (718-639-3623) and also at 75-12 Metropolitan Ave. in Queens (718-326-0510). The website is www.IBfoods.com. You can order both pizza rustica and pastiera online baked goods can be shipped wherever you specify.

Rocco Pastry Shop, 243 Bleecker St. between Carmine and Leroy Sts. (212-242-6031). Rocco Generoso, Jr. sells pizza rustica by the pound and by the pan. It costs $8 a pound and the pans are 6, 8 and 10 inches wide. Order online at www.roccospastry.com.

Grandaisy Bakery, 73 Sullivan St. near Spring St. (212- 334-9435.) Shop here for an excellent colomba Pasquale, a dove-shaped sweet bread that contains almonds and candied orange peel. The large is $25 and the small is $20. Website: www.grandaisypastry.com.

Buon Italia, Chelsea Market, 75 Ninth Ave near 15th St. (212- 633-9090). Here you will find the pastiera di grano (filled with wheat kernels and ricotta) along with an excellent pizza rustica made with pecorino and pancetta, in addition to eggs and salami. Website: www.buonitalia.com.

Villabate Pasticceria & Bakery, 7117 18th Ave. near 71st St., Brooklyn (718-331-8430). At this longtime Bensonhurst bakery, you'll find an excellent pastiera di grano as well as pizza rustica. Website: www.villabate.net. (Next week, the bakery is moving to 7001 18th Ave. near 70th St.)

And if you'd like to make your own, here are two classic Italian Easter pastries to try.

Pastiera di Grano (Traditional Neapolitan Easter Pie)
Makes 2 pies, serving at least 12

From Carolyn Renny at Bar Stuzzichini. Look for whole wheat berries at Kalustyan's or Whole Foods Market. If you can't find whole wheat berries, substitute pearl barley. You can also find orange flower water at Kalustyan's.

1/3 cup hulled wheat berries

For the crust:
4 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1-1/2 sticks chilled butter, cubed
5 eggs

For the filling:
2-1/4 cups whole milk ricotta
1-1/4 cups sugar plus 1/4 cup sugar for the egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup finely minced candied orange
6 large eggs, separated, 4 whites reserved
2 teaspoons orange flower water

For egg wash:
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water

In boiling water to cover, simmer the wheat berries for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat. Let them sit in the water for at least 1 hour. Meanwhile, prepare the dough. In a food processor combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Pulse to combine. Add cold butter and pulse until mixture looks crumbly and the butter is in pieces no bigger than the size of a pea.

Add the eggs one at a time, putting them through the tube of the processor while pulsing.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead until it becomes soft and pliable. Divide in quarters, wrap in plastic and let rest for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

To prepare the filling: In a large mixing bowl, stir together the ricotta, 1-1/4 cups sugar, cinnamon and candied orange. Whisk in egg yolks and 2 of egg whites. Add the orange flower water and the drained wheat berries.

In a separate bowl, beat the 4 egg whites with 1/4 cup sugar until stiff and fold into the ricotta custard mixture.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Dust a work surface with flour. Roll out half the dough into 2 disks large enough to fit into and line the sides of two deep 9-inch round cake pans. Trim off excess. Divide the filling between the 2 dough-lined pans. Roll out remaining dough into a 9 by 13-inch rectangle. Cut into 3/4-inch strips and arrange about 6 strips diagonally over the filling and over the sides of the pan on each pie. Arrange 6 strips in the opposite direction to form a lattice top.

Fold the over hang of dough just over the top of the pie. Brush lattice top with egg wash.

Bake for 1 hour or until a knife inserted in the middle should come out clean. Allow to cool completely, then refrigerate for at least 12 hours before serving.

Pizza Rustica
Serves 10-12

From Michele Scicolone's "Italian Holiday Cooking" (Morrow, $35)

For dough:
1 package (2-1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 to 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the filling:
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing
2 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage meat
3 eggs
1 (32-ounce) container whole-milk or part-skim ricotta
1/4 cup freshly grated pecorino romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 pound mozzarella, sliced or chopped
4 ounces sliced Swiss cheese, cut into narrow strips
8 ounces cooked ham, cut into narrow strips
4 ounces sliced Genoa salami, cut into narrow strips
3 ounces sliced pepperoni, cut into narrow strips

To make dough, sprinkle yeast over 1-1/2 cups warm water in large bowl. Let stand until yeast is creamy. Stir to dissolve. Stir in oil. Add 3-1/2 cups of the flour and the salt and pepper. Stir until a dough forms.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding more flour as needed, until smooth and no longer sticky. Shape dough into a ball. Place it in a large oiled bowl, turning once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. To make filling, combine oil and onions in large skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the onions are tender and golden, about 10 minutes. Remove onions from pan.


Celebrate Easter the Italian way - with pizza rustica

The city's Italian bakeries are laying in extra supplies of prosciutto, salami, capicola and mozzarella this week, but not to make into sandwiches. Instead, they form the base for pizza rustica, the savory Easter pie that shoppers will be hopping into stores to buy in the next few weeks.

The robust pastry, served in wedges as an antipasto before Easter dinner, is just one of several Italian classics made primarily for this holiday. Pastiera di grano, a sweet bread filled with wheat kernels and ricotta, is another one, as is the colomba pasquale, a dove-shaped bread studded with almonds and candied orange peel.

"Pizza rustica is very labor intensive," says Michele Iavarone, the daughter of John Iavarone, of Iavarone Bros. in Queens. "We start baking these a couple of weeks before Easter, and they're sold in all four of our stores. A lot of people don't make this at home any more but they still want to have it on the table for Easter."

At Rocco Pastry Shop in the Village, which has been in the Generoso family since 1974, pizza rustica contains assorted meats, along with ricotta and mozzarella.

"It is rich and it is traditional," says Rocco Generoso Jr. "Our whole family gets together for Easter and we put it on the table before the main course."

Generoso's extended family – including a sister, aunt, uncle and assorted cousins – work with him to fill all the orders every Easter. And they eat the pizza rustica the week after Easter, too. He says that as it's quite filling, leftover pizza rustica could even be eaten as the main course at lunch, perhaps with salad.

For dessert, many Italians opt for a pastiera, which is like a cheesecake flavored with orange flower water and wheat berries. It originated in Naples and often has a lattice design on top.

"Pastiera represents a looking forward to spring," says Carolyn Renny, pastry chef and co-owner of Bar Stuzzichini in the Flatiron district. (It will be on the menu for the week leading up to Easter.)

Adds Renny: "It's a prelude to spring and for me, it is a nice way to keep Italian traditions and history alive."

Here's where to buy pizza rustica, pastiera di grano, and other Italian Easter treats. Recipes for two Italian Easter classics follow the list.

Iavarone Bros, 6900 Grand Ave. at 69th St. in Queens (718-639-3623) and also at 75-12 Metropolitan Ave. in Queens (718-326-0510). The website is www.IBfoods.com. You can order both pizza rustica and pastiera online baked goods can be shipped wherever you specify.

Rocco Pastry Shop, 243 Bleecker St. between Carmine and Leroy Sts. (212-242-6031). Rocco Generoso, Jr. sells pizza rustica by the pound and by the pan. It costs $8 a pound and the pans are 6, 8 and 10 inches wide. Order online at www.roccospastry.com.

Grandaisy Bakery, 73 Sullivan St. near Spring St. (212- 334-9435.) Shop here for an excellent colomba Pasquale, a dove-shaped sweet bread that contains almonds and candied orange peel. The large is $25 and the small is $20. Website: www.grandaisypastry.com.

Buon Italia, Chelsea Market, 75 Ninth Ave near 15th St. (212- 633-9090). Here you will find the pastiera di grano (filled with wheat kernels and ricotta) along with an excellent pizza rustica made with pecorino and pancetta, in addition to eggs and salami. Website: www.buonitalia.com.

Villabate Pasticceria & Bakery, 7117 18th Ave. near 71st St., Brooklyn (718-331-8430). At this longtime Bensonhurst bakery, you'll find an excellent pastiera di grano as well as pizza rustica. Website: www.villabate.net. (Next week, the bakery is moving to 7001 18th Ave. near 70th St.)

And if you'd like to make your own, here are two classic Italian Easter pastries to try.

Pastiera di Grano (Traditional Neapolitan Easter Pie)
Makes 2 pies, serving at least 12

From Carolyn Renny at Bar Stuzzichini. Look for whole wheat berries at Kalustyan's or Whole Foods Market. If you can't find whole wheat berries, substitute pearl barley. You can also find orange flower water at Kalustyan's.

1/3 cup hulled wheat berries

For the crust:
4 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1-1/2 sticks chilled butter, cubed
5 eggs

For the filling:
2-1/4 cups whole milk ricotta
1-1/4 cups sugar plus 1/4 cup sugar for the egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup finely minced candied orange
6 large eggs, separated, 4 whites reserved
2 teaspoons orange flower water

For egg wash:
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water

In boiling water to cover, simmer the wheat berries for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat. Let them sit in the water for at least 1 hour. Meanwhile, prepare the dough. In a food processor combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Pulse to combine. Add cold butter and pulse until mixture looks crumbly and the butter is in pieces no bigger than the size of a pea.

Add the eggs one at a time, putting them through the tube of the processor while pulsing.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead until it becomes soft and pliable. Divide in quarters, wrap in plastic and let rest for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

To prepare the filling: In a large mixing bowl, stir together the ricotta, 1-1/4 cups sugar, cinnamon and candied orange. Whisk in egg yolks and 2 of egg whites. Add the orange flower water and the drained wheat berries.

In a separate bowl, beat the 4 egg whites with 1/4 cup sugar until stiff and fold into the ricotta custard mixture.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Dust a work surface with flour. Roll out half the dough into 2 disks large enough to fit into and line the sides of two deep 9-inch round cake pans. Trim off excess. Divide the filling between the 2 dough-lined pans. Roll out remaining dough into a 9 by 13-inch rectangle. Cut into 3/4-inch strips and arrange about 6 strips diagonally over the filling and over the sides of the pan on each pie. Arrange 6 strips in the opposite direction to form a lattice top.

Fold the over hang of dough just over the top of the pie. Brush lattice top with egg wash.

Bake for 1 hour or until a knife inserted in the middle should come out clean. Allow to cool completely, then refrigerate for at least 12 hours before serving.

Pizza Rustica
Serves 10-12

From Michele Scicolone's "Italian Holiday Cooking" (Morrow, $35)

For dough:
1 package (2-1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 to 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the filling:
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing
2 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage meat
3 eggs
1 (32-ounce) container whole-milk or part-skim ricotta
1/4 cup freshly grated pecorino romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 pound mozzarella, sliced or chopped
4 ounces sliced Swiss cheese, cut into narrow strips
8 ounces cooked ham, cut into narrow strips
4 ounces sliced Genoa salami, cut into narrow strips
3 ounces sliced pepperoni, cut into narrow strips

To make dough, sprinkle yeast over 1-1/2 cups warm water in large bowl. Let stand until yeast is creamy. Stir to dissolve. Stir in oil. Add 3-1/2 cups of the flour and the salt and pepper. Stir until a dough forms.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding more flour as needed, until smooth and no longer sticky. Shape dough into a ball. Place it in a large oiled bowl, turning once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. To make filling, combine oil and onions in large skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the onions are tender and golden, about 10 minutes. Remove onions from pan.


Celebrate Easter the Italian way - with pizza rustica

The city's Italian bakeries are laying in extra supplies of prosciutto, salami, capicola and mozzarella this week, but not to make into sandwiches. Instead, they form the base for pizza rustica, the savory Easter pie that shoppers will be hopping into stores to buy in the next few weeks.

The robust pastry, served in wedges as an antipasto before Easter dinner, is just one of several Italian classics made primarily for this holiday. Pastiera di grano, a sweet bread filled with wheat kernels and ricotta, is another one, as is the colomba pasquale, a dove-shaped bread studded with almonds and candied orange peel.

"Pizza rustica is very labor intensive," says Michele Iavarone, the daughter of John Iavarone, of Iavarone Bros. in Queens. "We start baking these a couple of weeks before Easter, and they're sold in all four of our stores. A lot of people don't make this at home any more but they still want to have it on the table for Easter."

At Rocco Pastry Shop in the Village, which has been in the Generoso family since 1974, pizza rustica contains assorted meats, along with ricotta and mozzarella.

"It is rich and it is traditional," says Rocco Generoso Jr. "Our whole family gets together for Easter and we put it on the table before the main course."

Generoso's extended family – including a sister, aunt, uncle and assorted cousins – work with him to fill all the orders every Easter. And they eat the pizza rustica the week after Easter, too. He says that as it's quite filling, leftover pizza rustica could even be eaten as the main course at lunch, perhaps with salad.

For dessert, many Italians opt for a pastiera, which is like a cheesecake flavored with orange flower water and wheat berries. It originated in Naples and often has a lattice design on top.

"Pastiera represents a looking forward to spring," says Carolyn Renny, pastry chef and co-owner of Bar Stuzzichini in the Flatiron district. (It will be on the menu for the week leading up to Easter.)

Adds Renny: "It's a prelude to spring and for me, it is a nice way to keep Italian traditions and history alive."

Here's where to buy pizza rustica, pastiera di grano, and other Italian Easter treats. Recipes for two Italian Easter classics follow the list.

Iavarone Bros, 6900 Grand Ave. at 69th St. in Queens (718-639-3623) and also at 75-12 Metropolitan Ave. in Queens (718-326-0510). The website is www.IBfoods.com. You can order both pizza rustica and pastiera online baked goods can be shipped wherever you specify.

Rocco Pastry Shop, 243 Bleecker St. between Carmine and Leroy Sts. (212-242-6031). Rocco Generoso, Jr. sells pizza rustica by the pound and by the pan. It costs $8 a pound and the pans are 6, 8 and 10 inches wide. Order online at www.roccospastry.com.

Grandaisy Bakery, 73 Sullivan St. near Spring St. (212- 334-9435.) Shop here for an excellent colomba Pasquale, a dove-shaped sweet bread that contains almonds and candied orange peel. The large is $25 and the small is $20. Website: www.grandaisypastry.com.

Buon Italia, Chelsea Market, 75 Ninth Ave near 15th St. (212- 633-9090). Here you will find the pastiera di grano (filled with wheat kernels and ricotta) along with an excellent pizza rustica made with pecorino and pancetta, in addition to eggs and salami. Website: www.buonitalia.com.

Villabate Pasticceria & Bakery, 7117 18th Ave. near 71st St., Brooklyn (718-331-8430). At this longtime Bensonhurst bakery, you'll find an excellent pastiera di grano as well as pizza rustica. Website: www.villabate.net. (Next week, the bakery is moving to 7001 18th Ave. near 70th St.)

And if you'd like to make your own, here are two classic Italian Easter pastries to try.

Pastiera di Grano (Traditional Neapolitan Easter Pie)
Makes 2 pies, serving at least 12

From Carolyn Renny at Bar Stuzzichini. Look for whole wheat berries at Kalustyan's or Whole Foods Market. If you can't find whole wheat berries, substitute pearl barley. You can also find orange flower water at Kalustyan's.

1/3 cup hulled wheat berries

For the crust:
4 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1-1/2 sticks chilled butter, cubed
5 eggs

For the filling:
2-1/4 cups whole milk ricotta
1-1/4 cups sugar plus 1/4 cup sugar for the egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup finely minced candied orange
6 large eggs, separated, 4 whites reserved
2 teaspoons orange flower water

For egg wash:
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water

In boiling water to cover, simmer the wheat berries for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat. Let them sit in the water for at least 1 hour. Meanwhile, prepare the dough. In a food processor combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Pulse to combine. Add cold butter and pulse until mixture looks crumbly and the butter is in pieces no bigger than the size of a pea.

Add the eggs one at a time, putting them through the tube of the processor while pulsing.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead until it becomes soft and pliable. Divide in quarters, wrap in plastic and let rest for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

To prepare the filling: In a large mixing bowl, stir together the ricotta, 1-1/4 cups sugar, cinnamon and candied orange. Whisk in egg yolks and 2 of egg whites. Add the orange flower water and the drained wheat berries.

In a separate bowl, beat the 4 egg whites with 1/4 cup sugar until stiff and fold into the ricotta custard mixture.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Dust a work surface with flour. Roll out half the dough into 2 disks large enough to fit into and line the sides of two deep 9-inch round cake pans. Trim off excess. Divide the filling between the 2 dough-lined pans. Roll out remaining dough into a 9 by 13-inch rectangle. Cut into 3/4-inch strips and arrange about 6 strips diagonally over the filling and over the sides of the pan on each pie. Arrange 6 strips in the opposite direction to form a lattice top.

Fold the over hang of dough just over the top of the pie. Brush lattice top with egg wash.

Bake for 1 hour or until a knife inserted in the middle should come out clean. Allow to cool completely, then refrigerate for at least 12 hours before serving.

Pizza Rustica
Serves 10-12

From Michele Scicolone's "Italian Holiday Cooking" (Morrow, $35)

For dough:
1 package (2-1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 to 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the filling:
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing
2 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage meat
3 eggs
1 (32-ounce) container whole-milk or part-skim ricotta
1/4 cup freshly grated pecorino romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 pound mozzarella, sliced or chopped
4 ounces sliced Swiss cheese, cut into narrow strips
8 ounces cooked ham, cut into narrow strips
4 ounces sliced Genoa salami, cut into narrow strips
3 ounces sliced pepperoni, cut into narrow strips

To make dough, sprinkle yeast over 1-1/2 cups warm water in large bowl. Let stand until yeast is creamy. Stir to dissolve. Stir in oil. Add 3-1/2 cups of the flour and the salt and pepper. Stir until a dough forms.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding more flour as needed, until smooth and no longer sticky. Shape dough into a ball. Place it in a large oiled bowl, turning once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. To make filling, combine oil and onions in large skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the onions are tender and golden, about 10 minutes. Remove onions from pan.


Pizza Rustica, aka: Pizza Gain: a Traditional Italian Easter Dish

P izza Rustica is a traditional, Italian dish that is served at Easter it’s part pastry, part pie, part quiche and part deli platter. Pizza Rustica is typically served at room temperature as an appetizer and, without fail, ruins my appetite for Easter dinner annually. It probably should be served with a defibrillator or at least a warning from the Surgeon General that it is both addictive and a heart-health hazard, but it is SO worth it!

Pizza rustica is also referred to as Pizzagaina or Pizza Gain. This recipe has been passed down in my husband’s family for generations. I tweaked Grandma Sue’s recipe just a little with my husband’s assurance that she would have been cool with it. The dish traditionally calls for pie crusts on top and bottom, but I like it with just one(pie crust just gets in the way of the best stuff!).

PIZZA RUSTICA(AKA PIZZA GAIN)

Yield: One ginormous pie that serves a small army.

INGREDIENTS

1 prepared pie crust, blind-baked (if you prefer a top crust, add it on top of filling prior to baking)
1 pound sweet sausage, cooked and crumbled
½ pound sharp provolone, diced
½ pound prosciutto, diced
½ pound mozzarella, diced
¼ pound salami, diced
¼ pound pepperoni, diced
4 ounces freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
4 ounces freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
3 pounds ricotta cheese (traditionally, fresh basket cheese is used)
1/4 cup finely chopped chives
9 eggs, beaten
Freshly ground, black pepper

LET’S MAKE IT!

PREPARE BOTTOM CRUST
Blind-baking prevents the crust from becoming soggy- here’s how:Preheat oven to 400° F. Roll the dough to line bottom of 10” x 15” rectangle baking pan. Dough can come up the sides a bit. (If using 2 crusts, dough should come all the way up the sides of the pan.) Prick the crust lightly with a fork all over. Place a piece of parchment paper or aluminum foil on top of crust. Place uncooked rice or uncooked, dried beans on top of foil. Bake at 400° F for 20 minutes. Cool & carefully remove the parchment paper/foil and weights.

PREPARE FILLING
Preheat oven to 375°FMix the beaten eggs, pepper, chives and grated cheeses in a huge bowl. Add ricotta & combine well. Add meats & remaining cheeses and combine well. Pour filling into prepared crust (if using 2 crusts, add second crust at this point, crimp bottom & top crusts together, prick air holes with a knife & brush with egg wash). Bake a 375°F for one hour. Serve hot from the oven, at room temperature or cold from the fridge- it’s all good!

This is how the Pizza Rustica looks when it is removed from the oven. When it cools, it sets-up as shown in the following photo. Enjoy and give my love to your cardiologist!


Pizza rustica - Rețete

Ci provo. Grazie per la ricetta. Ciao.

I'm actually making a pizza on Friday for lunch :) I also make my own crust as it is very simple and takes about five minutes. I'm stuffing mine with garlic, carrots and veggie cheese. For simple pizza crust you just mix one cup of yoghurt (liquid one is better) with two cups of any kind of your fave flour, 2-3 tbsp of oil, a bit of baking powder and a pinch of salt. You mix it with a spoon, throw it onto the baking paper, roll it out and transfer it into the pan. And that is it.

Is the yogurt dairy or soy? Just curious because I don't remember if you eat any dairy. Sounds simple enough! Pizza Rustica is a pie. I'm not sure why they're trying to trick the world with such a name. :)

I generally don't do dairy, but I won't die if I make a yoghurt pizza crust once in a two months or so LOL

The only dairy that I really do is the occasional fancy cheese in an antipasto and ice cream. Then I'm sick for the rest of the night. LOL The only dairy product that doesn't bother me at all is ricotta cheese. Not sure why. Cream is the worst though. Ugh, makes me feel like death. Cream gives me severe stomach pains.

I think we made one of those many years ago after seeing it in an Italian cookbook we have. Usually for Easter, we have a honey baked ham, deviled eggs and a coconut cake. Side dishes vary! One year I made an Easter lasagna that had ham, veggies and a bechamel sauce.

My grandma always makes a ham for Easter. It's one of my least favorite things in the world. My Nanny being the fabulous grandmother that she is, always has a fried chicken cutlet with applesauce waiting for me to eat instead. :) The Easter lasagna sounds good, but maybe we could sub the ham for bacon!