Chef John's Pizza Rustica


Some people describe pizza rustica as an Italian meat-filled quiche, but I think this traditional Easter recipe is way closer to a savory cheesecake filled with a massive amount of goodness. The light, flaky crust holds together an embarrassment of riches--sausage, smoked ham, salami, and pepperoni, plus ricotta, mozzarella, and Pecorino Romano cheeses. It's definitely not like pizza! Note: To be sure you have enough dough for the crust, you might want to double the dough recipe!

Prep Time:
50 mins
Cook Time:
1 hrs 15 mins
Additional Time:
1 hrs 25 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 30 mins
8 servings


For the Crust:

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • ½ cup very cold butter, cut into pieces

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 large egg, beaten

  • 4 tablespoons cold water, or more as needed

For the Filling:

  • 1 (16 ounce) container ricotta cheese, drained

  • 8 ounces low-moisture mozzarella cheese, cubed

  • 2 ounces grated Pecorino Romano cheese

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 7 large eggs, beaten

  • ¾ pound cooked, crumbled Italian sausage

  • ¼ pound smoked ham, cubed

  • ¼ pound salami, cubed

  • ¼ pound pepperoni slices, cut into strips

For the Egg Wash:

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 teaspoon water


  1. Combine flour, salt, butter, and olive oil for the crust in a large bowl. Blend butter into the flour with a pastry cutter until it resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center of the flour-butter mixture, pour egg into the well, and mix with a fork until egg is mixed in, about 1 minute. Add cold water and mix briefly with a fork. Switch to mixing with your hands and press mixture into a ball. If it seems dry, sprinkle in some more water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until dough comes together.

  2. Transfer dough to a work surface and press into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to rest for at least 1 hour.

  3. While the dough is resting, combine drained ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, Pecorino Romano cheese, salt, black pepper, beaten eggs, cooked Italian sausage, smoked ham, salami, and pepperoni for the filling. Mix thoroughly until extremely well combined; don't worry about overmixing. Cover and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.

  4. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Rub a 9-inch springform pan with olive oil and dust with flour.

  5. Place dough on a lightly floured surface. Cut off 1/3 of the dough and set aside for the top crust. Roll out the remaining dough for the bottom crust, using only as much flour as needed, into a 15-inch circle, about 1/8 inch thick. Roll the dough onto the rolling pin and transfer to the prepared pan. Tuck the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan, being careful not to stretch it. Remove any excess dough, dampen it with water, and use it to fill in where needed.

  6. Transfer filling into the pan, press firmly into the edges to ensure there are no air pockets, and smooth out the top.

  7. Roll remaining dough into a circle that's slightly wider than the pan. Roll dough onto the rolling pin and transfer to the pan. Position the top crust properly and press to seal it with the side edges.

  8. Mix egg and water for egg wash together in a small bowl.

  9. Brush egg wash on top of dough to moisten entire surface. Trim off excess dough if desired. Fold the side dough down from the pan edges onto the top crust and crimp edges with your fingertips until fully sealed. Brush once more with egg wash.

  10. Place in the center of the preheated oven, and immediately reduce the heat to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bake until top crust is a beautiful golden brown, about 1 hour 15 minutes.

  11. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the ring and let cool another 15 minutes before slicing into wedges.

Chef's Notes:

If you don't have a pastry blender, you can use your fingertips to blend the butter and flour together.

Make this with whatever combination of cheese you want, like Parmesan, provolone, or Fontina. Use either sweet or spicy Italian sausage, and try other meats like coppa, prosciutto, or gabagool.

You could cook this in other large baking dishes, but a 9-inch springform pan is the best choice.

Double the dough recipe if you want to be sure you have enough to work with.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

767 Calories
51g Fat
36g Carbs
40g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Calories 767
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 51g 65%
Saturated Fat 23g 116%
Cholesterol 332mg 111%
Sodium 1817mg 79%
Total Carbohydrate 36g 13%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 40g
Vitamin C 5mg 26%
Calcium 502mg 39%
Iron 4mg 23%
Potassium 428mg 9%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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