Gluten-Free Pizza Chiena or Pizza Rustica, or Savory Italian Easter Pie
Pizza chiena or pizza rustica is a savory Neapolitan pie served at Easter time. My family is from the area surrounding Naples and they called it pizza chiena, pronounced like pizzagaina, or pizzagain, as they pronounce the hard ch sound as a hard g in Neapolitan dialect and the last vowel is often left off.
Gluten-Free Pizza Chiena
For the crust:
5 cups gluten-free flour, not sifted
5 teaspoons xantham gum
3/4 cup shortening
Put your flour on your work surface. Dot with shortening and incorporate until it becomes somewhat crumbly (won’t be as crumbly as gluten flour would be).
Make a well and add eggs, incorporating them. Add enough warm water until you have a workable dough. Knead for about 5 minutes. Put a little olive oil in a bowl. Add the dough ball.
Cover with plastic wrap or a towel and let rest for about a half hour.
For the filling:
People use different ingredients in the filling. It usually always has ricotta, eggs, grated cheese and salami. From there, it varies. You can also use gluten-free soppressata, capocollo, mortadella, or Italian sausage. We only used soppressata, capocollo and salami. One of my grandmas used provolone. Also, some provolone can be sharp and you don’t want it to be too dominant a flavor. Some people lump all the ingredients in there, some people chunk it, some people dice it very small, some people layer it. It’s all your preference.
1 lb. ricotta (Use a good brand with no added gums or thickeners.)
1 lb. basket cheese (If you can’t get this where you are, you can just use another pound of ricotta. Or you can let one pound of ricotta sit in a colander or in cheesecloth the night before to drain out water.)
1 cup gluten-free salami, diced or not (You can use any of the above listed meats, as long as they are gluten-free.)
1 cup gluten-free prosciutto, diced or not
1 cup grated pecorino romano cheese
1 cup fresh mozzarella, diced
black pepper to taste
egg yolk for egg wash
In a bowl, mix all ingredients. Just stir it all together. No mixer needed.
Grease and gluten-free flour a 10-inch springform pan or a 13×9 rectangular pan or a large cake pan or pie dish (depends on how much filling you have).
Cut off 2/3 of dough. Roll it out into a circle and line springform pan.
Fill with filling.
Roll out remaining dough into a circle. Top pie with it. I used an Italy-shaped cookie cutter to decorate the top. You can use any shape you like or no shape at all. Brush with egg wash.
Bake at 375 degrees for 1/2 hour. Lower heat to 350 for 1 more hour. Let cool for a few hours. Refrigerate. We eat this at room temperature or cold from the refrigerator.
–Dina Di Maio