I have fond memories of my nonna making pizza rustic when I was a child. She’d make this double-crusted pizza that was filled with eggs, olives, and Swiss chard that, at the time, I thought was a little odd and a little intriguing. I distinctly remember a week we were visiting with Nonna and she’d made this pizza for us. It seemed that she was constantly in the kitchen, cooking something up for us, and expecting us to eat. I remember a phone call she had with my mother in which she shared her concerns that we weren’t eating enough and my mother explained that we weren’t used to eating so much. Oh my gosh, the food was delicious, but it was never-ending. We certainly didn’t starve during that visit!
Today, my mother often makes pizza rustica for family gatherings. A week or two before Easter, my husband asked whether we’d have it with Easter dinner. I sometimes joke that we’ve converted him into a good Italian man – I mean, he asked for pizza rustica for Easter! I should grab his cheeks and jiggle them like I recall my Nonni grabbing mine and saying, “Bella, bella.” (I also remember my cheeks stung a bit after that. I love those small flashes of memories.)
In an effort to make my own version of pizza rustica, I called my mother and asked her for the recipe. As with many homemade dishes, the recipe went something like this: you need pizza dough, some hard-boiled eggs, mozzarella, and prosciutto. No measurements, no concrete directions. Below you’ll find my attempt at formalizing this recipe for you to recreate in your kitchen. I hope you enjoy it fills your belly and your soul.
Enough pizza dough for two traditional pizzas (I was in a bit of a hurry, so I bought two bags of this dough.)
12 oz. of shredded mozzarella
1 lb. of thinly sliced prosciutto
1 can of black or kalamata olives, drained and roughly chopped
4-6 hard boiled eggs, peeled and sliced
1 egg and a little water for an egg wash
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Allow the pizza dough to come up to room temperature. Knead each dough ball on a floured surface. Set the dough aside and let it rise. Once the dough has doubled in size, you can begin working with it. Work with each dough ball separately. You’ll need to punch the dough down and knead it once more before rolling it out. After you’ve rolled it out, place one of the crusts on your pizza tray or stone. I used a Pampered Chef pizza stone.
Next, layer half of the prosciutto on the bottom crust. Resist the temptation to each the other half.
Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese on the pizza. Be generous with the cheese. You may find you want more than 12 oz. of cheese. If so desired, use freshly grated mozzarella cheese.
Layer the pizza with the chopped olives and sliced eggs. Depending on the size of the pizza, you may wish to use more or less olives and eggs. Of course, I think more certainly wouldn’t hurt anything.
Finally, spread out the remaining prosciutto. (Okay, snag a bite or two for yourself – I know I did!) Stretch the top crust over the pizza and roll up the edges to lock in the ingredients. Score the top of the pizza so there are vents for steam to escape. Brush the top of the pizza with the egg wash you prepared and sprinkle the pizza with Kosher salt. Bake the pizza for approximately 30 minutes. Make sure the crust has cooked thoroughly before removing it from the oven. Allow the pizza to cool for a few minutes, slice it and enjoy.
This pizza is equally delicious served cold. If in season, consider adding Swiss chard to the filling. You might also wish to add marinara sauce on the side for those who like a little sauce with their pizza. Enjoy!