Pizza Rustica, recipe by Nigella Lawson

I must admit that when I first look at the long list of ingredients, it almost made me not want to proceed but the picture was so irresistible that  i decided to give it a shot anyway!

(Recipe extracted from Nigella Lawson’s ‘How To Be A Domestic Goddess’ book, and are available on her website here.)

Ingredients

for the pastry:
250g plain flour, preferably Italian 00
125g cold unsalted butter, cut into 1cm cubes
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons iced water
1 heaped teaspoon salt (can’t remember if I used Maldon or regular salt)
1 tablespoon caster sugar
22cm Springform tin, buttered

for the filling:
50g luganega or mild pure pork sausage, skinned (50g was like half a sausage so I actually used 2 whole links which was about 200g)
1 tablespoon olive oil
250g ricotta
50g smoked provolone, diced (I could not find smoked provolone so I substitute with smoked Gouda instead)
125g Italian mozzarella, crumbled (not sure if what I used was the same since it was not a crumble sort of cheese)
50g freshly grated parmesan
1/2 clove garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 pinches chilli powder or crushed dried red chillies
100g prosciutto, cut into small pieces
100g mortadella, cut into small pieces
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Black pepper
1 heaped tablespoon dried breadcrumbs

for the glaze:
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons milk
Pinch of salt

Method

Put the flour and butter in a dish, and put this dish in the deep freeze for 10 minutes.

Stir together the yolks, water and salt in a cup, and put this cup in the fridge.

Then, when time’s up, tip the flour and butter into the bowl of the processor, add the sugar and pulse to combine: you want a soft crumbly mass, somewhere between sand and porridge oats.

Bind with the egg yolks, water and salt, and when it looks like it’s on the verge of coming together (you have to stop slightly short of this actually happening), tip the pastry out and wodge it together with your hands. Don’t worry, though, if the pastry is a little too damp: I find one of the miracles of this pre-freezing pastry technique is that it makes it more foolproof on every level. It always seems to roll out well.

Divide into two discs, one somewhat larger than the other, and put both into the fridge to rest wrapped in clingfilm. Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6, put in a baking sheet, and get on with the filling. Fry the sausage in the oil for about 5 minutes, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as it cooks, then transfer it to a bowl and let it cool.

At which time, add all the other ingredients except the breadcrumbs and mix thoroughly.

Roll out the larger disc of pastry to cover the bottom and sides of the tin, leaving a few centimetres’ overhang. (according to her previous recipes, the pastry is supposed to rest in the fridge for about 20 minutes. But I took quite a while getting the filling ready that almost an hour passed before I took it out. By that time, it was quite stiff. Plus, I think my fridge is a lot cooler than it needed to be.)

Sprinkle the bottom of the now pastry-lined tin with breadcrumbs, and then fill with the hammy, eggy mixture waiting in its bowl.

Roll out the smaller disc to make the lid, place it on top of the filled pie, turn over the edges of the overhang to form a border and press down with the tines of a fork.

Just before baking, glaze the pie by brushing over the milky, salty egg, stab it here and there with the prongs of a fork to make steam holes, and place it on the baking sheet in the preheated oven. Give it 10 minutes at this temperature, then turn it down to 180C/gas mark 4 and bake for a further 45 minutes.

Leave the pie to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving it, but it’s at its best after about 25 minutes.

Result

I was really pleased to see that it looked almost identical to the picture in the book (that’s always a good sign). However on tasting, I think it was a bit too salty. I suspect the prosciutto but can’t be really sure since there were so many ingredients in it. Strangly enough, although we kept complaining too salty, we had no trouble eating it! It was really tasty.

The pastry is really light and crumbly. I can’t really compare since I have never made pastry before but I was really happy with the results.

Overall, it’s quite an easy recipe to make. Although the ingredients are quite a lot, the actual assembly of it was pretty easy and quick since it was just a matter of combining everything and filling the pastry.

Future Attempt

  1. Get a less salty prosciutto (if there is such a thing).
  2. Use Maldon salt for the pastry (maybe I used regular salt which is more compact and could have added overall saltiness to the dish).
  3. There were a few versions of this pie in her book with different fillings so I will definitely try out the others as well!

 

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