Chitlins, I proudly present to you a literal Pizza Pie! How freakin’ cool is that? The first recipe this month for Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia edition (TWD/BWJ if you will) is pizza rustica. I was kind of exorbitantly excited about making this recipe because I adore pizza but I don’t eat it often, which is sad because I live in NYC and am practically surrounded by pizza (and bagels, and annoying tourists but I digress). And then, I read the recipe and my heart sank. Pizza rustica is made with pie crust. My arch-nemesis. [dun dun DUUUNNNN!]
You may recall from the pumpkin pie I wrote about that my mother had convinced me that pie-making wasn’t even worthwhile if you couldn’t make your own crust. And so for years I was terrified of pie crust, in fact, I’m still terrified of it. But I persevered, and here’s why: the BWJ book says you can use either butter or, wait for it…..waaaaiiiit for it…. LARD! [fist pumps!] HELL YEAH! I now had a reason to buy lard. And off I merrily skipped to the farmer’s market.
So, as it turns out, there are several types of lard. Regular lard which comes from the back fat of the pig and then leaf lard, which is the lard surrounding the kidneys and loins, both types are generally rendered to get rid of the icky bits. Leaf lard has a slightly less porky taste, which is great news for baking, and is also considered higher quality. So I proudly purchased my first 1/2 lb. of rendered leaf lard from Flying Pigs Farms (the same people that gave me that awesome description of different types of lard) at the Union Square farmer’s market.
Before you start buying up lard and all the other ingredients for this recipe I should make one thing clear. This dish is waaay closer to a deconstructed ravioli than it is to the pizza we are familiar with. I think it’s delicious, but if you’re not expecting the texture of the ricotta then it can come as a bit of a shock.
I added a few more things to my pizza filling, since just the two types of cheese and some prosciutto didn’t seem like enough. If you want some pizzazz I suggest adding 1/4 cup of grated parmesan or Locatelli, a few shakes of crushed red pepper flakes, and some finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes. I really wanted to add olives, but The BF doesn’t like olives in his pizza so I refrained. I was pretty sure I was already pushing the limits with the sun-dried tomatoes, anyway.
This week’s hosts are Emily of Capital Region Dining and Raelynn of The Place They Call Home, where you’ll be able to find the recipe. Or I would highly encourage you to pick up a copy of BWJ because it’s really pretty awesome.