Italian Easter Pie (Pizza Chiena)
Carla and Christine Pallotta
Boston’s Nebo Cucina & Enoteca is owned by sisters Carla and Christine Pallotta, who never went to culinary school, but had a wonderful teacher in their Italian mother. She’s still cooking up a storm at home, and her recipes, like this Pizza Chiena (or Chiana or even Pizza Gain, depending on dialect), populate their restaurant menus. The rich double-crusted pie, also known as pizza rustica, is stuffed full of cured meats and cheese bound with eggs and is traditionally served at Easter. Since the meats are plenty salty, there’s no need to add any additional salt to the filling, just a little cracked black pepper. You can decorate the middle of the pie with a dough cross if keeping to Catholic tradition.
For more savory slices, try our Spinach Pie recipe and our Pastrami and Cheese Pie recipe.
For the dough:
- 2 pounds flour
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 3 tablespoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 7 large eggs
- 7-8 ounces warm water (or as needed)
For the filling:
- 1 pound ham, cubed
- 3/4 pound prosciutto, cubed
- 3/4 pound soppressata salami, cubed
- 1 pound fresh cheese, drained (can substitute farmer cheese)
- 2 pounds ricotta cheese
- 7 eggs
- 1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
- a pinch of black pepper
- 1 egg, beaten (for brushing dough)
To make the dough:
1Combine the flour, baking powder, and black pepper in a large bowl and blend with a fork. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the eggs and oil to the well. Beat them together with a fork until combined, then gradually draw the dry ingredients around them into the liquid. Mix until the dough starts to hold together, adding warm water an ounce at a time as needed to help dough form.
2Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and fold it over itself a few times, kneading very gently just until smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap until ready to use, refrigerated if not using within an hour or two.
To make the pie:
1Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 12-inch round enamel pan.
2In a large bowl, gently beat the 7 eggs until combined, then stir in all of the meats, cheeses, and black pepper. Set aside.
3Divide dough in half and roll out 2 rounds big enough to fit your pan.
4Place one round in the bottom of the pan. Fill 3/4 of the way with the filling.
5Top with the other dough round and tightly seal the edges so the filling does not leak out. Poke 4 holes on top, or otherwise cut 4 slits to vent steam. Bake for 10 minutes, then brush top of pie with the beaten egg wash. Bake for 1 hour more, or until golden-brown.
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