Pizza Rustica from Baking With Julia is really a savory ricotta tart with a pastry crust and deep filling of ricotta, eggs, cheeses, and prosciutto. I made a vegetarian version without the prosciutto, adding sun-dried tomatoes and spinach sauteed with garlic and shallots.
As I’ve been cooking the recipes from Baking With Julia, I’ve wondered how the cookbook (and the public television show on which it was based) would differ if produced in 2012. Would it include gluten-free recipes or molecular gastronomic baking? I think there might be more ethnic options and “healthy options,” emphasizing local ingredients, and natural products. I wonder if the chefs that contributed the recipes still make them or have adapted them to changing tastes or skills or available ingredients.
I was curious about Nick Malgieri who contributed the Pizza Rustica recipe, and so I googled him and found out that he has a website, http://nickmalgieri.com/, and that there are two versions of Pizza Rustica included. The Pizza Rustica alla Neapolitana is similar to the Baking With Julia recipe, but includes sausage as well as prosciutto. The Milanese version includes onions, spinach, ham, and Emmenthal cheese.
The crust was my favorite part of this recipe, for its flavor and texture – I substituted 2/3 cup whole wheat flour for some of the all purpose flour. It also provided the opportunity to use my new tapered cherry rolling pin. This dough was very forgiving. The cracks and irregular edges were easily pinched together to create a seamless bottom crust.
Filled and topped with lattice strips, the pizza rustica was very decorative.
Out of the oven, the crust was nicely browned, and the filling was flecked with color. I would try this recipe again with sweet onions instead of the garlic and shallots. I think the sweetness of the onions would better compliment the sweet crust.