As you know, growing up in an Italian household meant that all memories centered around family gatherings enjoying a meal. It didn’t have to be a holiday; Sunday dinner, someone’s birthday, even watching the game on TV was reason enough to be with the family and enjoy an abundance of good, homemade Italian food.
The Italian word for abundance is abbondanza. The Italian word for good food is buon cibo, and the Italian word for family is famiglia.
Most importantly, the way to say an abundance of good food with the family is l’abbondanza di cibo con la famiglia. I want you to practice saying that.
Every year at Easter-time, Nana made her a-pizza! It was a delicious meat and cheese pie-kind of like an Italian version of quiche. Every year I’d help her make this Easter pie, and the smell of it baking would permeate throughout the house. It was so delicious, and rib-sticking; a meal unto itself.
Nana had a huge wood board; I think it was made by my grandfather for her to roll out her dough. She also had a old broom handle that she used instead of a rolling pin. Both the board and the broom handle developed a dark patina from decades of rolling out dough. Let me tell you, my grandmother was one strong woman! She could lift that board up onto the table without any help from my uncles, and when it came time to roll out the dough, no help needed. She even had strong hands; she’d squeeze my hand and put a hurting on me!
When the holiday’s roll around, I think of Nana and miss her more than usual. Remembering her and all of the wonderful food she made, and all of the things she said and did brings a smile to my face. What a wonderful legacy she left for us!
This Easter pie is a delicious meal in itself, and I’m happy to share it with you.
* 1 lb. all purpose flour (Nana used Gold Medal)
* 2-3 eggs beaten (1 additional egg will be needed for the egg wash)
* 2 sticks of salted butter (Nana used Breakstone’s)-cut it into small pieces
* a little bit of milk may be needed for mixing the dough
Place a rack in the center of the oven and pre-heat to 350 degrees
* 1 lb. whole milk Ricotta
* 1 lb. fresh Mozzarella
* 2 additional eggs beaten
* 1/4 cup grated cheese (I mix Locatelli Romano with Parmigiano Reggiano)
* salt and pepper to taste
(Cut all meats into cubes)
* Sausage (cooked)
* (Optional: Pepperoni)
1. Pour flour onto your work surface and make a well in the center
2. Pour the beaten eggs into the center
3. Add the butter
4. Mix together until dough firms (here’s where you may need some milk to help with the mixing) Nana used her hands to mix and knead the dough – set aside
5. Mix together Ricotta, Mozzarella, grated cheese, beaten eggs, salt and pepper
6. Once the ricotta is blended, add all of the meats into it
7. Roll out the dough and place over a 9″ pie pan
8. Add cheese and meat mixture
9. Cut excess dough from around the edges of the pie pan
10. Roll out another bit of dough and place on top of mixture
11. Cut off excess dough and pinch sides together to seal
(Optional: cut dough into strips and place on top of mixture in a basket weave pattern)
12. Brush egg wash on top of crust
Bake in 350 degree oven for an hour
Let cool, slice and serve with a nice Italian salad
Store in the refrigerator – will probably keep for a week, unless your hungry family finishes it before then!