Have you ever heard of pizza Gana, pizza Chiena, or pizza Rustica? The names of this classic Italian Easter Pie vary from place to region, but what if I told you they’re all the same? Simply said, it’s a pizza pie topped with various meats, cheeses, and sometimes eggs – down to try it? Let’s go!
Psst: It’s OK if you make it at any time, not only on Good Friday, Easter Saturday, or Easter Sunday.
How to Make Authentic Italian Pizza Gana (Pizza Gaina)
Here’s where things get interesting: the specifics of this traditional Easter dish will vary depending on the region of Italy you find yourself in, especially if you visit Southern Italians.
What Ingredients Do You Need for Pizza Gana?
For the crust:
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tsp salt
For the filling:
- 1 lb sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
- 1 lb ricotta cheese (fresh cheese!)
- 1 lb mozzarella cheese, diced or shredded
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 lb cooked ham, diced
- 1/4 lb prosciutto, chopped
- 1/4 lb salami, chopped (turkey salami is ok too!)
- 6 large eggs
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Make Italian Pizza Gana
Making this pie is much easier than you think!
For the Crust, do this:
Step 1: In a large bowl, combine flour and salt, then add butter and work it through the flour using fingers or a pastry cutter until the mix looks like coarse crumbs.
Step 2: Knead the hand-made dough until it comes together, however, if it’s too dry, you can try to add a little cold water, a tablespoon at a time.
Step 3: Once you have a lovely, smooth dough, divide the dough, wrap each half in plastic wrap, and chill it in the fridge for at least an hour.
Tip: You can also use a food processor if you have one!
For the filling, do this:
Step 4: To prepare the filling, prepare a skillet over medium heat where you cook the sausage (previously sliced into smaller pieces) in a pan over medium heat until it is thoroughly cooked, then remove it from the heat and drain any extra grease.
Step 5: In a large mixing bowl, combine ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheese. Then mix in the cooked meats like sausage, ham, prosciutto, and salami.
Step 6: Beat the 6 eggs and add them to the mixture, where you add parsley, salt, pepper, and mix it well together.
To assemble it all, do this:
Step 7: Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
Step 8: Roll out one piece of dough to fit a 9-inch springform pan, ensuring it covers both the bottom and sides before pouring the filling into the crust.
Step 9: Roll out the second piece of dough and place it over the filling to create the top crust. Then simply pinch the edges to seal and make small slits in the top crust to allow steam to escape – voilá!
Note: If you have any remaining dough, simply freeze it!
Tip: To get a shinier finish, brush the top of the pie with a beaten egg!
Then bake it for 45 minutes to an hour in a pre-heated oven until the crust is golden brown, and the filling is set. Once done, let it cool for at least 15-20 minutes before slicing and serving – enjoy!
This pie is rich and flavorful, a true celebration of Easter in Italian households – simply a must!
Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to make it if it’s your first time:
- Rest the Dough – Chilling the dough before rolling it out makes it easier to work with and reduces shrinkage in the oven when baking.
- Italian Cheeses and Meats – Make sure to choose high-quality cheeses and meats that are rich in flavor. Also, if your ricotta mixture has a lot of liquid, strain it with a cheesecloth or a fine-mesh sieve to prevent a soggy filling.
- Filling – To make filing easier, use a springform pan that’s easily released once the pie is scammed.
- Don’t overbake – You want a golden crust and the filling set, but not too dry. So, if the crust starts to brown quickly, you can cover it with aluminum foil until it’s fully down.
Enjoy this delicious Italian dish either warm or at room temperature – or even cold from the fridge, all based on your preferences!
Note: This is one of the best Italian recipes and will serve you in any mood you’re in, no matter if it’s Easter!
What to Pair This Recipe With
Pizza Gaina (or Pizza Gana) is a rich and savory pie, so you will want to pick something light and refreshing to balance out the flavors and textures.
Here are some of my favorite options:
- Salads – Arugula, Caprese, or Green Bean Almondine salads
- Vegetables – Roasted vegetables, sauteed spinach, or Swiss Chard
- Breads – Garlic bread or Focaccia
- Soups – Minestrone or Stracciatella soup (yes, it’s actually a soup!)
- Wine – Pinot Grigio or a light red Chianti
- Limoncello always works!
- Desserts – Panna cotta, sorbets, or a fruit salad
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do you have questions about this Easter brunch recipe? We’ve got the answers!
Can I freeze Pizza Gaina?
Yes! You can freeze it either in slices or as a whole after it has cooled – just make sure you use airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags, thaw it in the fridge, and reheat it in the oven before eating.
Can I Make Vegetarian Pizza Gaina?
Absolutely! Just skip the meat and add a mix of cheeses, spinach, mushrooms, and maybe even some artichoke hearts or roasted bell peppers to the filling.
Why is My Crust Soggy?
Great questions! It could be due to the moisture from the filling – so make sure to strain your ricotta if it’s too wet and let your cooked sausage cool before adding it all to the filling.
Can I Use Store-Bought Pie Crust?
Of course, homemade crust is the best and most traditional due to its distinct texture and flavors – however, if you’re short on time, you can also use store-bought pie crust.Print