Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Pizza Rustica

Pizza Rustica is not a pizza in the way that we've come to understand it, although anyone who has spent time in Italy might well have come across it - Nigella Lawson

The verdict:
I'd longed to make this pie since I got this book. It just looked so fulfilling, so densely packed with fabulously rich and decadent ingredients.

My father in law was visiting and thought I was nuts for taking photos of the process. He thought I was even more nuts when I told him I was putting the photos on the internet! Never mind.

Anyway, my Pizza Rustica was ever so slightly disappointing, but I think I figured out how to fix that for next time. I'll leave out the vast quantities of provolone cheese, and I'll serve it cold.

Unusual or substituted ingredients:
This pie is crammed full of ingredients I've not bought in a long time. Nigella explains that the ingredients are rustica if you're in Italy. Not so much for the rest of us. Slabs of mozzarella, smoked provolone, mortadella, proscuitto make for a fun trip to the deli. I used sausages that were called 'Traditional Italian' but were made by a local Canberra butcher. I knew they were good pork sausages, very peppery.

Special utensils or cookware:
None. Just the spring form tin - a real staple for Nigella.

Maybe we should have a section on 'special skills required' because skill with pastry is something I lack.

With this much cheese, butter and deli meat in it, I don't think I'll make this too often. It's jam packed with artery hardening goodness. And if I repeat it, I'll cut down on the provolone cheese. It was incredibly salty and i found that really detracted from the pie.

But it's a lot of fun to compile all the ingredients and then construct the pie - even though I treat pie crust construction like a patchwork quilt, filling in bits with additional scraps of pastry!

You just know, once you've made it this far, that you can't go wrong, really. It's going to come out beautiful. It's great, plump masterpiece, I think. It was as high and as full as I hoped it would be.

Overall pleasure level:
Apart from the irritating saltiness I mentioned earlier, I thought this was a magnificent pie. Nigella warns that it tastes better at room temperature, or cold, but we were impatient and ate it hot. The cheese just spilled out of it.

However, the next day, I had a slab of the pie for lunch at work and straight out of the fridge, I thought it was absolutely marvellous. I liked it so much better. Sometime in summer, I'm taking one of these with a bottle of something very good and cold on a picnic and I'm going to love it.