Nick Malgieri
Nick Malgieri

Pizza Rustica alla Milanese

This Lombard version of pizza rustica uses cooked ham and Swiss cheese instead of the more traditional southern prosciutto and mozzarella.

Makes one 12-inch pie


3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks

Spinach Filling

3 pounds fresh spinach, stemmed, rinsed and drained
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup sliced sweet onions
Salt, pepper and nutmeg
1 pound whole milk ricotta
1/4 pound Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated
6 eggs
6 ounces thinly sliced cooked ham
6 ounces thinly sliced Emmenthal cheese

One 12-inch round pan, buttered

  1. Set a rack in the lowest level of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Butter a 12-inch round pan, 2 inches deep.
  2. For the dough, combine dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse several times to mix. Cut butter into 12 pieces and add to work bowl. Pulse to mix in very finely. Add eggs and yolks and continue pulsing until dough forms a ball. Form the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate. Roll 2/3 the dough and line the pan. Chill crust and remaining dough while preparing filling.
  3. To cook the spinach, place it in a large pan that has a tight-fitting cover. Add the spinach and cover the pan. Place on high heat and allow to cook until wilted. Drain and cool in a colander. Press excess moisture from spinach and chop it.
  4. Heat the butter in a sauté pan and add the onions. Cook until limp, then add the spinach. Stir in the spinach thoroughly, then cook for a minute or two to make sure there is no excess moisture. Season and cool.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, beat the ricotta to soften it. Beat in the grated cheese, eggs and spinach mixture. Spread a third of the filling in the dough-lined pan and cover with half the slices of ham and cheese. Spread with another third of the filling, then cover with the remaining ham and cheese. Spread with the remaining filling.
  6. Roll the dough for the top crust and cut it to an even 12-inch diameter. Place it on the filling, then fold the dough from the side of the bottom crust over it all around. Pierce the top crust with a fork at 2-inch intervals. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until crust is baked through and filling is set. Cool and unmold. Serve warm or at room temperature.