Pizza Rustica

I always so enjoy making family recipes. The first time I met John’s grandparents (who are tiny and super Italian– I LOVE THEM) they fed me the most delicious dish–which I still can’t pronounce the Italian name of–Pizza Gaina–pizza gyay-nuh. However, the more common name is Pizza Rustica. John’s father sent us a picture taken of his grandmother’s handwritten recipe. If you can call it a recipe–it’s a loose list of ingredients and amounts along with tips. Wonderful. Why would you need more than that if you already know how to do it, haha. I learned tons making this recipe, and thus I’ll include notes with lots of pictures (John got excited about being official photographer).




  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp shortening (Crisco) or margarine
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • lukewarm water to blend
  1. Mix all the ingredients. I used a food processor to blend all together. Otherwise, you can mix the dry ingredients, work in the shortning, lightly scramble the eggs and add into dough, then add water until dough comes together. Usually, when a dough recipe suggests adding water to bring the dough together, it’s usually just a tbsp or two of water. This, however, required more like 1/8 of water. Don’t be afraid to add water in small amounts until it comes together.
  2. Spilt dough in two: make one piece about 2/3 of dough, the other 1/3 (one will be the body in the pan, the other will be the top).
  3. Wrap these two pieces up separately and tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  4. Roll out the 2/3 piece of dough. NOTE: My mother taught me this! I facetimed her to check out my dough– I’m still nervous about making dough!– and she suggested rolling out the dough on lightly floured parchment paper. Then, when it’s rolled thin, you can place the pan upside down on the rolled out dough, and flip the whole thing over. That way you don’t have to try to lift the dough and rip it. Maybe the dough was about 14 inches both ways? But you can eyeball it based on the size of your pan.
  5. Fit the dough to the pan. John’s grandmother says there’s no need to grease the pan first. Also, leave a little overlap to connect the top. NOTE: I used a 8 inch springform pan. It was a little too deep however. So a deep 9 inch pie pan would be idea. Roll out the second dough piece after you fill the pie.

imageIntense face.






  • ¼ lb each of ANY of the following: prosciutto, salami, dry sausage (which John says is anything that’s precooked and sliceable like pepperoni), pepperoni, capa-cola, mozzarella, provolone, and a little grated parmesan
  • 6-8 eggs

NOTE: We used ¼ lb of prosciutto, 2 kinds of salami (felino and calabrese), mozzarella, provolone (which I shredded in my food processor), and a few slices (6-8 thin slices) soppressa. We ended up using 6 eggs. John’s grandmother says only to use enough eggs to wet your other ingredients- she suggests only adding 2 eggs at a time til that occurs.


  1. Add the topping into the pie crust in the pan. Roll out your smaller, second piece of dough and top the pie. Seal the two pieces of dough. John’s grandmother notes that the dough will shrink away from the pan as it cooks.
  2. Heat the oven to 350 degrees and then cook for 45-60 minutes.




Eat warm or cold. I’m telling you; this dish will change your life.

If you want to reference other recipes, here are two from Giada and the NYT.


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