The Unique Pizzagaina Italian Easter Pie Recipe

Pizza Chiena, the unique Italian ancestor of the American dish “pizzagaina” or “pizzagain,” is a basic savory Easter pie that originated in Campania. This dish was historically made with a bread crust full of cured meats, cheese, and eggs, making it a hearty and flavorful deal with to have a good time the tip of Lent.


Easy methods to Make Pizza Chiena: The Unique “Pizzagaina” Italian Easter Pie Recipe

It was a easy and frugal dish however, like so many “poor” recipes from Italy, it’s astoundingly scrumptious. On this article, we’ll briefly discover the historical past of Pizza Chiena, the variations between it and pizzagaina, and share an genuine recipe with the intention to make this scrumptious Easter pie at dwelling.

The Historical past of Pizza Chiena

Pizza Chiena, which is a part of a broader class often called “pizza rustica” or rustic pizza, is a standard Italian dish that originated in Avellino, Campania. The identify means “stuffed pizza” in Neapolitan dialect. When Italian immigrants got here to the USA, the pronunciation grew to become blurred till the dish got here to be referred to as “pizzagaina.”

Pizza Chiena was sometimes eaten on the Saturday after Good Friday (Easter Vigil) to have a good time the tip of Lent. The dish was initially created as a means to make use of up leftover components after the fasting interval of Lent. In consequence, it was historically full of no matter components have been available through the Easter season, together with cured meats, cheese, and loads of eggs.

Pizza Chiena vs. Pizzagaina

Whereas the unique Pizza Chiena and the fashionable pizzagaina share many similarities, there are a number of key variations between the 2 dishes.

Firstly, Pizza Chiena historically doesn’t have a flaky pie crust, whereas Pizzagaina does. The crust of Pizza Chiena is made with a easy bread dough that features lard, which makes it firmer and fewer prone to take in an excessive amount of liquid from the filling. Pizzagaina, then again, is usually made with a pie crust that’s just like a quiche or a savory tart.

One other distinction between the 2 dishes is the kind of cheese used within the filling. Pizza Chiena sometimes features a choice of agency cheeses, whereas Pizzagaina typically contains ricotta as nicely.


Filling the Pizza Chiena

What Can I Put Inside a Pizza Chiena?

Pizza Chiena was at all times meant to be a leftover “fridge cleaner,” so you’ll be able to typically embody no matter sorts of cured meats and cheeses you might have available or want. Basic filling components embody salame, mortadella, prosciutto crudo, prosciutto cotto (ham), capicollo, cured pancetta, provolone, primo sale, smoked scamorza, Parmigiano Reggiano and pecorino romano.

The one actual “rule” it’s best to follow is to keep away from watery cheeses as they’ll destroy the pie. It is a time to steer clear of contemporary mozzarella!

Watch the Pasta Grammar video the place we make Pizza Chiena right here:


Makes: One 9-inch pie

Cook dinner Time: 4-5 hours, largely unattended. Greatest made the day earlier than serving.

For this recipe, you’ll need:

  • 4 1/8 cup (500g) bread flour (even higher if yow will discover a high-protein flour)

  • 1 3/4 tsp (7g) yeast

  • 5 tbsp (70g) lard

  • 1 1/2 tbsp (20g) olive oil, plus further for greasing the pan

  • ~ 3/4 cup (200ml) water, adjusted as wanted

  • 2 tsp (10g) salt, plus a pinch further for the eggs

  • ~ 9 oz. (250g) combined cured meat, chopped

  • ~ 13 oz. (365g) combined agency cheeses, chopped

  • 8 massive eggs

  • Recent black pepper

  • ~ 5 oz. (150g) grated Parmigiano Reggiano and/or Pecorino Romano cheese, or to style

  • Semolina flour for dusting (optionally available, you’ll be able to substitute bread flour if essential)

  • Mixing bowls

  • Plastic wrap

  • Whisk

  • Spatula

  • Rolling pin

  • 9-inch springform pan, or comparable (it’s best to have sufficient dough to go slightly bigger)

  • Basting brush

  • Fork

  • Paring knife or kitchen shears

Combine the flour and yeast in a big mixing bowl. By hand, combine within the lard and olive oil till each are comparatively evenly distributed into the flour. Add half of the water, and proceed to combine till a tough, damaged dough begins to type, then combine within the salt.

Proceed so as to add slightly little bit of water at a time till a agency dough solidifies. Relying on the circumstances, it’s possible you’ll want roughly water than what we’ve listed, so regulate as essential. Switch the dough to a clear work floor and knead for 10-Quarter-hour. If it sticks, mud it with extra flour as essential.

Type the dough right into a ball, cowl it with the blending bowl, and let it relaxation for 10-Quarter-hour in order that the gluten can chill out. Knead the dough just a bit bit extra—it must be a lot smoother now. Place the dough ball again into the blending bowl, cowl with plastic wrap and let it rise at room temperature for 2-3 hours, or till it doubles in dimension.

When the dough is sort of prepared, preheat an oven to 370 levels F (190 C).

In a big bowl, combine collectively the chopped meat and chopped cheeses collectively. Individually, whisk the eggs with a pinch of salt and black pepper. Pour the eggs into the meat/cheese and blend all along with a spatula.

Subsequent, add sufficient grated cheese to soak up and thicken the surplus liquid from the eggs. It’s possible you’ll want roughly than the quantity listed above, so be happy to regulate. The ultimate combination must be fairly thick and never too liquid.

Lower 1/3 of the completed dough off and put aside for later. Mud a piece floor with semolina flour and roll the rest out into a giant circle with a rolling pin. If the dough sticks, mud it with flour as essential. The dough sheet must be massive sufficient to drape right into a 9-inch springform pan with loads of overhang. Achieve this, and gently press the dough into the pan to fill all of the corners and canopy the edges. With a fork, poke loads of holes into the underside.

Fill the pie with the meat, cheese and egg combination. See some egg residue left within the bowl? Don’t throw it away! And don’t fear if the filling doesn’t fully fill the pan as much as the rim. Use a spatula to evenly distribute the combo in order that the highest is flat.

Roll the 1/3 portion of the dough you put aside till it’s massive sufficient to cowl the highest. Drape it over the pie, and trim the sides in order that they line up with the rim of the pan. Likewise, trim the sides of the underside crust in order that they only barely overhang. Roll the underside crust edges inward to seal the highest shut. Should you like, you’ll be able to press a fork into the crust across the rim to additional shut the pie.

Poke just a few holes together with your fork into the highest of the pie. Now, keep in mind the egg left over in your bowl? Use your hand to evenly unfold that over your entire floor of the pie. This can assist create a good looking, golden crust.

Bake the pie for 50-60 minutes on the underside rack of the oven, or till the crust is golden brown. Let the pie cool fully earlier than eradicating the springform mildew.

Pizza chiena is finest served chilly the next day. Historically it was stored for a number of days at room temperature, however be happy to refrigerate if that makes you extra snug.

Buon appetito!

You may be keen on testing our Torta Pasqualina recipe, one other savory Easter pie. On the lookout for one thing candy? In our opinion, Easter is not Easter with no good Pastiera!