Thursday, April 8, 2010
Last year I posted our family recipe for tarrale (Italian Easter cookies); so this year it’s pizza chiena’s turn.
Neapolitan pizza chiena
This recipe comes from my Neapolitan grandfather, with some modifications made in the 100+ years since he brought it to this side of the Atlantic. It’s in the running for my favorite food of all time; it has lots of sentimental associations, of course, but it’s also really savory and really satisfying and I look forward to it all year long.
1 recipe pasta dough
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
½ cup small soup pasta (orzo, stars, or similar)
¾ lb/375 g hard salami in a hunk
2 dozen L or XL eggs
1 lb/450 g ricotta*
1¼ cup grated pecorino romano cheese
Grease a 13”x9”x2” (33cm x 23cm x 5cm) baking pan generously with 1 Tbsp of the olive oil. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.
Bring a small pot of water to the boil. Add 1 Tbsp salt and cook the pasta for 5-7 minutes. Drain, then return to the hot pan. Mix in oil to keep from sticking together. Set aside to cool.
Cut the salami in ½-inch/1-cm thick slices, then cut these into ½-inch/1-cm dice. Set aside.
Roll the pasta dough into an oblong or rectangle about 18”x15” (46cm x 38cm) and as thin as you can make it. Drape in the baking dish and pat gently into the corners. Leave overhang outside. Set aside.
Break eggs into a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Add ricotta and grated cheese and continue mixing until combined. Add pasta and salami and stir to distribute evenly through the mixture.
Pour the egg mixture into the pasta shell. Fold the pasta carefully over the filling, making sure to cover it completely. Trim off excess to avoid too-thick layering.
Bake for 1-1.5 hours, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for at least 30 minutes before cutting.
Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold from the fridge. It really doesn’t matter.
* I made my own ricotta using this method, and I thought it made a significant difference to the finished product.