The Italian pizza chiena. From Neapolitan Easter tradition, one of the most famous and delicious recipe.
SERVING: Serves 10-14
- 1 packet of active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 cups of warm water
- 5-6 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Makes approximately 2 pounds.
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 pound fresh, hot Italian sausage (in casing)
- 1/2 pound capocollo, thinly sliced
- 1/3 pound Genoa salami, thinly sliced
- 1/3 pound pepperoni, thinly sliced
- 1 pound fresh basket cheese***
- 1/2 pound mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
- 1 dozen eggs (8 will be beaten, 4 will be hard boiled)
- 1/3 cup minced fresh flat leaf parsley
- 15-20 cranks freshly ground black pepper
- 1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water for egg wash
- In a large bowl, dissolve in 2 cups of warm water, yeast, sugar, and salt.
- Using a spoon, gently blend. Add 5 cups of all-purpose flour and 2 tablespoons of olive oil to start.
- Blend with a spoon just until the dough starts to form, then using your hands, transfer to a floured surface.
- Knead well, adding flour if it’s too sticky, until the dough becomes springy and smooth. It should take a good 5-10 minutes of vigorous kneading. It will be soft and silky when done.
- Place the dough ball in a large, clean bowl coated with olive oil and rub some olive oil on top of the dough.
- Cover with a clean, dry dishtowel and let rise in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in size (at least 2 hours).
- Meanwhile, fill a large, heavy-bottom saucepan halfway with water. Bring to a light, rolling boil, and place four room temperature eggs in the water.
- Maintaining a light, rolling boil, cook them for 18-20 minutes.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove the eggs, place in a colander, and run under cool water.
- Tap the eggs against the counter top to crack the shells; remove the shells, and rinse the boiled eggs under cool water.
- Slice thinly and set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Remove the sausage from its casing and add to the pan.
- Cook for 5-6 minutes, or until browned and crispy. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
- Place oven rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
- Brush the inside surface of a 10 X 3 spring form pan with olive oil.
- Once the dough is risen, punch it down to release air bubbles.
- Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface, divide in half, and roll one half into a 12-inch round.
- Transfer the dough to a 10-inch spring form pan.
- Using your hands, fit the dough snugly in the pan, gently stretching it to hang 1 inch over the edge of the pan.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the 8 eggs, parsley, and black pepper.
- Fill the inside of the dough with alternating layers of sliced meats, cheeses, and sliced hard-boiled eggs.
- After 5-6 layers, pour half of the egg mixture over the filling allowing it to seep down.
- Continue layering the meats and cheeses, then pour the remainder of the the egg mixture evenly over the top. You should have enough for 10-12 layers.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out the second half of the dough to a 12-inch round.
- Place the dough over the filling, and using a sharp knife, trim excess dough until it just meets the rim of the pan.
- Using your fingertips, pinch the edges of the dough together, and gently roll the bottom layer over the top layer creating a seal.
- Then pinch the dough between your thumb and index finger creating a slightly fluted edge all around.
- Brush the top of pie with the egg wash.
- Bake pie for 60- 75 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool at least 20-25 minutes.
- Release the spring and transfer the pie to a serving plate.
- Cut into wedges and enjoy at room temperature.
Leftover pizza chiena can be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 5-7 days.
Individual slices can also be wrapped tightly in tinfoil and placed in a heavy-duty freezer bag for up to two months.
***Fresh basket cheese is a semi-soft cheese that is used primarily for binding ingredients together.
It can be found at Italian markets and cheese shops.
If you can’t find it, then substitute one (15-ounce) container of ricotta cheese (drained) and whisk it with 2 large eggs.