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Pizza Giana is also referred to with several different names: pizza piena, pizzagiana, pizzapiena, pizza rusica and pizza chiena)
Joanne Avallon of Beverly, MA grew up with many Italian family food traditions such as this recipe for a type of stuffed ricotta pie. It is made in many large sizes and used for large gatherings, and is an Easter favorite because being made with several meats it is a way to “break Lent.”
1 pound Ricotta cheese
1 pound basket or farmers cheese (if you can also use feta, but rinse it)
8 ounces Mozzarella Ball diced.
4 ounces Provolone, diced
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup grated Romano
3 large eggs
1/4 pound each of three or four of your favorite cold cuts, diced small. (I like prosciutto, hot capicola and mortadella)
1 recipe savory dough (see below)
1 10” spring form pan
For Savory Dough:
2 1/2 cups flour
1 stick butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 to 5 tablespoons white wine
1. Mix cheeses together.
2. Add eggs and mix until combined. Mixture should be stiff but not dry. Add diced cold cuts.
3. Cut dough into roughly 2/3 and 1/3 pieces. Take larger piece and roll it into a round on a floured surface. The larger round should be about 14 inches in diameter because the dough is very delicate and needs to fall over the edge of the pan so it doesn’t collapse inside the pan.
4. Lay dough into spring form pan with the edges falling over the edge of the pan.
5. Spread cheese mixture evenly into pan.
6. Roll out smaller round just to cover cheese. Roll extra dough down to make an edge to the pie.
7. Make slits in the top of the pie. Brush with egg wash (one egg, ¼ cup water mixed together). Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.
For Savory Dough:
1. Put flour, butter (cut into small pieces) and salt into bowl of a food processor and pulse several times until coarsely combined.
2. Add wine and process until dough starts forming a ball.
3. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill until ready to use. Dough will be quite soft, so it’s best to use it cold.
Recipe courtesy of Joanne Avallon, 2010.
Joanne and I have known each other since high school; we've been teenagers together and now we are raising teenagers together, and we still laugh very hard about it all. With a law degree and a Ma