Pizza Rustica

Anna Thomas' The Vegetarian Epicure

6-8 generous servings

Pizza Rustica, from Anna Thomas' The Vegetarian Epicure, is not a recipe to take lightly. That's why we enjoy assembling it together as a family. We do so to celebrate some special event like a holiday, birthday, a lazy fall afternoon or some other time we want to be together. Give yourself at least a couple of hours, delegate the tasks to various family members, put on some good music and enjoy creating a masterpiece together.

Basic pastry recipe to fill a double crust pie
5 eggs
1 pound Ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons chopped onion (more, if you enjoy onions)
1 cup grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon parsley
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic
10 ounces tomato purée
4 ounces tomato paste
pinch each of marjoram and oregano
2/3 cup sliced, ripe olives (we prefer salted green Greek olives)
1/2 pound sliced Mozarella cheese (weíve been known to use other kinds)
1 large bell pepper, cut into sticks

Prepare your pie crust for a 10-inch pan. (The Vegetarian Epicure has a good recipe.) While you're doing that, have somebody beat the eggs and then stir in the Ricotta, onions, parsley, Parmesan, and salt and pepper. Set aside.

You can assign someone to dice or crush the garlic, heat the oil, and put the herbs and garlic in the hot oil. After sautéing them until the garlic begins to turn golden, add the tomato purée and paste, the olives, and more salt and pepper if you wish.

Meanwhile, someone can be slicing the mozzarella and cutting the bell pepper into pepper sticks.

Now gather around the pie pan, put the bottom crust in, and layer in your contributions: first about half the Ricotta mixture, then cover with mozzarella slices, followed by half the tomato sauce and the pepper sticks. Repeat all the layers and cover with the top crust.
Pinch the top and bottom crusts together and pierce the top crust in a number of places to let out steam. Bake at 425° for 35-40 minutes and let stand for half an hour.