Happy April everyone! I wish I could say it was spring, but here in Minnesota it still looks like winter. Rain showers have turned to snow and ice. I am quite fed up with this weather. But it is an excuse to make something hearty and delicious. Because you definitely need something comforting in a spring blizzard. As there was a general craving for pizza at my house, I made a delicious recipe for pizza rustica.
Not only is it absolutely delicious; it looks fantastic too. This pizza loaf is filled with delightful meats and fresh mozzarella with just the right amount of sauce. Whether you make it into the loaf or go for a traditional pizza pie, this recipe is sure to be a family favorite.
First you need to make your pizza dough. I know making pizza dough from scratch may sound daunting, but it is very easy. All you need is:
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 packet dry active yeast
- 2/3 cup warm water
Not too bad right? The only other things you need are a little patience and elbow grease. 🙂 First of all, Combine the yeast and warm water in a large bowl. Let that sit for about five minutes to hydrate and activate the yeast. After the five minutes or so, you will see some bubbles forming which means it’s ready for the other ingredients.
Add the flour, salt, and olive oil and mix together. When all the liquid is adsorbed by the dough, dump it out on a hard surface and begin working the dough. You want to knead the dough until it becomes smooth. You may need to add a bit more water. I usually keep a cup of water nearby and dip my fingers in it. Then I work the water into the dough with my fingers. Just add a little at a time until you get a smooth consistency without the dough being sticky. Cover the dough and leave to rise in a warm area for around 45 minutes.
While your dough is rising you can get your fillings ready. You will need:
- 3/4 lb. Italian sausage
- 1 package of frozen spinach (thawed)
- 1/4 lb. pepperoni
- 1/2 cup of pizza or spaghetti sauce
- 3/4 lb. sliced fresh mozzarella
- 1 egg
With 45 minutes of proving time, you will be able to get everything ready proved that you thaw out the frozen sausages and spinach. Start by cooking the Italian sausage completely then cut into large chunks. Next squeeze as much of the water out of the spinach as possible. Whip up the egg and mix that into the spinach. I’d also recommend patting the mozzarella with a paper towel to dry the slices a bit. My pizza rustic had quite a bit of moisture that came through the top because I forgot that step. It still tastes delicious regardless. You can also start preheating your oven to 400° as well.
Once it’s done raising to about double in size, punch it down and separate about one-fourth of the dough for later. That will become the top. Now it’s time to make the base.
Begin by rolling out the dough into a rather thin sheet. You will want it longer so that it covers the length of the tin. Then grease the loaf tin thoroughly with butter. Place the sheet of dough gently into the tin and press into place. Start with the bottom edges and corners working your way up the sides of the loaf tin. Once the bottom, sides, and top edge are pressed into place, you can trim off the excess dough with a sharp knife.
Now that your crust is ready, it’s time to fill your pizza. Place a layer of mozzarella slices along the bottom of the loaf.
Next place a layer of cooked sausage over the cheese. Spread the sauce over that and then top with the spinach and egg mixture. Place another layer of mozzarella on top of that and finished the fillings with a layer of pepperoni. Yum! It looks so good already, but we still need to top it and bake it.
Take the fourth of pizza dough that you set aside and roll that out.
Make sure you roll it out large enough so it will cover the top of the loaf completely. Next moisten the edges of the dough already in the tin with a bit of water. Lay the sheet of dough over the top and press into the sides of the loaf. Trim off the excess dough and press the joined dough edges together even more. Then with a sharp knife, cut several slits into the top.
Place your loaf of pizza rustica into a preheated 400° oven. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until the crust is golden browned.
And voila! Okay it doesn’t look all that special on the outside. You can also see where the moisture I mentioned before ran out of my pizza. But it’s cutting into it that really makes it irresistible.
See?! Doesn’t that look amazing! The spinach not only adds flavor but also a pop of color. And the pepperoni and cheese…excuse me while my mouth waters. It’s just delicious and you really have to make this to taste for yourself. I’m already thinking of what other pizza toppings might be wonderful in this dish. Sauted mushrooms and bacon are coming to mind. 😀 Just yum! I recommend treating your family to this pizza rustica as soon as possible.
This ceramic loaf pan has been infused with copper to add strength and non-stick performance. It even has an easy serving lift out tray that is perforated for a crisp crust on the bottom. It’s also dishwater safe so clean up is easy. Quantities are limited so check it out today.
Hopefully your spring is feeling far more like spring than ours is. Whether the weather is fine or foul this recipe will be enjoyed by everyone. Next time I’ll be bring you some fun products to really get your spring into gear. Until then stay safe and remember you are always welcome at home with Heartland.