Italian Easter Pie | Pizza Rustica

Italian Easter Pie

pizza rustica

Pizza Rustica

Italian Easter Pie holds a special place in the time-honored food traditions of Easter celebrations for Italians and many non-Italians alike. Year after year, this dish has embraced the heart of Easter,  the holiest of all Christian celebrations. It is simply DELICIOUS!

Italian Easter Pie is known by several other names such as : Torta Pasqualina, Pizza Rustica, Pizzachino, and Pizza Piena to name a few.  Each version represents local twists of ingredients and the regional linguistic dialect to identify this holiday dish, depending on the region in Italy.

Regardless of the  different names of  “Pizza Rustica” in Italy, one thing is certain, Easter is called Pasqua and Buona Pasqua means Happy Easter in Italy… no matter where you go!

This is a classic Italian Easter pie.  It’s absolutely delicious and meant to be a dish, not only to celebrate Easter, but also to celebrate the end of Lent, a 40 day religious fast, that takes place just prior to Easter Sunday.  A great part of the fast is giving up meat from one’s diet. Consequently, the  meat and the calories of this recipe are very much a part of the complete celebration, especially if you’re trying to stay in tune with the full tradition behind the concept of this recipe.

Pizza Rustica, to simply explain it, is basically an enclosed quiche, packed with some of the most delicious Italian salami, ham, and sausage, mixed together with several Italian cheeses and bound together with eggs The whole thing is then enclosed with a pastry top, festively decorated, egg-washed and baked in a preheated  moderate oven.

Yes, some try to make this without the meats and lean more toward a vegetarian dish, adding: broccoli,cauliflower, spinach, etc., instead of the meats.

I do not suggest trying to turn this into a low fat, low calorie dish. Don’t start substituting low-fat cheeses for the  Italian cheeses the recipe calls for, don’t start pulling back on the eggs, just using the egg whites, or omitting the eggs all together. Then there is really no point in making the dish. Certain things just shouldn’t be made low-calorie and this is definitely one of them.

Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present to you the one…the only…Italian Easter Pie…..Pizza Rustica!

Italian Easter Pie, Pizza Rustica.

Pizza Rustica

Preheat oven to 375°F (Yields: 8-10 portions)

 Yeast Dough Crust:

  • 3 1/4 cups Flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Leaf Lard*  or 1 1/2 tablespoons Butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon Pepper (ground)
  • 1 (1/4 ounce) Yeast (active dry)
  • 1 cup warm  Water

 Assemble dough:

  • In a cup, mix yeast and warm water together. Set aside.
  • If making by hand, place flour on a pastry board and make a well. Add leaf lard (or butter), salt, pepper and yeast/water mixture.
  • If using a mixer, place flour in the bowl. Add the leaf lard (or butter), salt, pepper and yeast/water mixture.
  • Work together well until dough forms, continue working the dough until it is elastic and smooth.
  • Place dough in a deep dish, cover and allow it to rise in a warm place for 2 hours, or until doubled in volume.
  • When dough has risen, cut into 2 pieces.
  • Stretch one piece to fit into a greased 9-inch round springform pan. Reserve the other piece in the refrigerator for later to make top and decorations.

Tip: Place lined cake mold in the refrigerator while making the filling.


  • 2 lbs sweet  Italian sausage links ( I personally like a mildly-spicy Calabrese sausage, but this is your personal choice)
  • 2 Tablespoons Water
  • 1/4 lb  Prosciutto di Parma– chopped, medium dice
  • 1/2 lb  Capicola, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 lb  Pepperoni, medium dice
  • 1/3 lb  Genoa Salami, medium dice.
  • 1/2lb  Ham  regular boiled deli ham, medium dice
  • 2 lbs  Ricotta cheese, strained from it’s liquid if too wet
  • 12 ounces  Mozzarella cheese, medium dice
  • 6  Eggs– room temperature
  • Egg wash- Egg + 1 Tablespoon  Water
  • 1 Tablespoon  Italian Flat Leaf Parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup   Romano cheese or 1/4 cup  Parmesan cheese, freshly grated. (I use a combination of both to equal the 1/4 cup.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon  Salt
  • 15-20 turns  Ground black pepper

 Assemble Filling:

  • Cut sausage into small pieces (or remove from casings and crumble). Place in frying pan and brown lightly in 2 Tablespoons of water to render the fat. Drain and cool.
  • In a large bowl, combine ricotta, mozzarella, salt and pepper; add eggs one at a time, beating with a wooden spoon after each addition.
  • Add cooked sausage, prosciutto, salami, pepperoni, ham, chopped parsley and grated cheese to ricotta mixture and blend well.
  • Line the pastry crust with a single layer of the sliced capicola, all around including the edges. Any left over can be placed on top of the ricotta and meat mixture before sealing the top with pastry.
  • Once the pie is lined with the capicola, fill with the ricotta and diced meat mixture.
Closing with the pastry top:
  • After filling the dough-lined pan, stretch second piece of dough and place over the filling, pressing the edges closed. Be careful not to tear the dough. The top must be sealed.
  • If there is a lot of excess dough left on the edge, carefully trim some, but leave enough to flute the sealed edge. At this point any extra dough can be used to decorate the top of your pizza rustica.
  • This is fun for the kids! Make some flowers, bunny rabbits, Easter egg shapes, etc. Use your Easter imagination!
  • I like to brush the crust and the decorations with a bit of beaten egg wash before baking, to give it a beautiful  glossy finish.

To Bake:

  • Bake the pie in preheated 375°F oven for 45-50 minutes. Test with  a knife or wooden skewer . Pierce the pie after 45 min, midway down it’s center, hold there for a minutes, remove the knife or skewer, and touch the back of you hand, if it feels hot, it is done, if  it is just slightly warm or semi-cool it still needs at least 10 minutes more.
  • Once done, remove pie from oven and let set for about 10 minutes before slicing, if serving warm. Otherwise, let pie cool completely and refrigerate.


 Pizza Rustica, can be served warm or cold. I personally like it warmed up to be able to enjoy all the flavors of the delicious meats and cheese better. Warming it up, wakes up the flavors tremendously!

Happy Easter to All ~Buona Pasqua a Tutti!

 Click here for more Italian Easter, foods and traditions.

Check this link to learn more about leaf lard.

  • cath

    “Certain things just shouldn’t be made low-calorie and this is definitely one.”

    You are absolutely right! There is nothing wrong with enjoying a delicious traditional dish, the way it was intended to be made, while still maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

    Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  • Kim (Foodin New England)

    I usually don’t mess with perfection, and i can’t see making this low cal, low fat. I knew i did not want ham for Easter dinner, and this is PERFECT!!!
    Thank you for the history, info and gorgeous photos and recipe!! Bookmarked!

  • vivian

    I was thinking of making individual pies in a muffin pan. Do you have a modified recipe ? Yours is the closest I have seen to my ancestors recipe. I have nver tried this recipe on my own wohtout my mother supervising my every move so I am a bit nervous to be changing it up. Any help or suggestions would be appreciated. Thank You.

  • admin

    Hello Vivian,
    I can come up with a solution to your question though, I do not have an individual, Easter pie recipe per-say. I suggest you make the recipe as is… the dough and filling. Line your individual molds (muffin pan) with the crust. Follow the recipe, exactly the same. If you run out of dough, just make more and keep going till you have completed the number you require for your guests. Keep an eye on the baking time they will cook faster now.
    Let me know if this is helpful. Glad to hear this is a close recipe to you relatives, where were your relatives from?
    Happy Easter~ !

  • admin

    Very nice Comment Kim. :)

    This recipe will definitely remove the need for an Easter ham in a very delicious way.
    Enjoy~ Happy Easter!

  • admin

    Cathy, you got my point completely :)
    I hope others will feel as you do too, when it comes to enjoying food while maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

  • Linda

    This is a beautiful post along with a wonderful recipe! I never approve of replacing any ingredient with low fat/no fat fake food! Something that tastes this good can be savored and enjoyed without overindulging! I am definitely going to try out your recipe! Happy Easter to you!

  • Kimberly Kuhn

    WONDERFUL WONDERFUL WONDERFUL!!!! My mom often makes this recipe and does a little of this and that. It was nice to have an actual recipe to work from and it turned out like perfection. :) Great Easter Eve dinner and will be reheated for Easter morning breakfast. THANK YOU!!!

  • Lisa

    Pizza Rustica Story,

    Sitting in my office this week, I over heard my boss say, “I need a recipe for Pizza Rustica”. I jumped up and showed her your beautiful website with the number one featured recipe for Easter. She is making for her husbad this Easter! I will keep you posted on the outcome. Tx’s

  • franco

    Hi Lisa,
    Thanks for sharing how my pizza rustica post saved the day. Very cool. Hope your boss gave you the rest of the day off :)
    How did it turn out?

  • Clara Gold

    Ciao Franco,

    Thank you so much for the delicious ‘Pizza Rustica’ recipe. I made this dish for my father on Easter Sunday. It turned out beautifully! The recipe was very quick and easy to follow. The end result was fabulous. Not only did it look great, but it tasted even better.

    The following day, we fought over the leftovers. The flavors seemed to blend together even more overnight. We warmed it up and enjoyed it for lunch the next day. My five year old loved it and we all know that kids that age tend to be very picky eaters. He ate his portion and then took more from my plate!

    I did make a few minor changes. I used Whole Foods’ mild chicken Italian sausage(because they are less fatty and very well seasoned), and replaced the mozarella with ‘Provola’, a smoked mozarella type cheese in it’s place. The latter imparted a lovely smoky flavor. While it isn’t always available, provolone cheese can offer a bit of the same. The best can be found at Alleva in NY’s Little Italy district just south of Soho.

    BTW, the recipe for the crust worked beautifully. I used a little less yeast as you suggested since it was very humid here on Easter Sunday. I have to say that this particular dough really does work best for this dish because it did not crack in the slightest and baked up very nicely. This is critical since it has to be able to hold up well in order to maintain the ingredients contained within. Even the tiniest crack in the dough would allow the cheese and egg to leak out.

    I have added this recipe to my personal collection of favorites. As a cookbook fanatic, this is a place of honor! Thank you, Franco, for taking the time to patiently write out all the steps, and for taking the time to share additional tips to ensure a delicious end result. My dad absolutely loved it. And Lord knows a well fed Italian man is a happy one!

    Grazie, Caro.


  • Tonya

    I wanted to thank Chef Franco for encouraging me to make the “Pizza Rustica” I am currently a culinary student and enjoy making new and different things, I made this for my husbands family whom are Italian and it was a great success! It looked beautiful and tasted fabulous! The whole family were fighting over left overs and of course grandma won.

    Thank you Chef Franco you are a fabulous person and love your recipies, can’t wait to execute the next one.

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  • Diana

    My boyfreind is Italian ,an his mother makes the Easter meet pie every year an every year I ask her for the recipe she’s always gives me the run around & says stuff like I’ll just make u a pie .I never get a pie or recipe. So what I did this year I looked it up on line, an picked this recipe . O. M. G it was amazing and a hit


  • Franco Lania

    Hello Diana,

    I am very pleased to hear that you came across my Italian Easter pie recipe while searching for a recipe on line. Now you can tell your boyfriends mother that you have a secrete and delicious Easter pie recipe too. And if she wants your recipe she will have to share hers finally.
    You have some leverage now!

    Glad you liked the recipe and thanks for taking the time to write me.


  • Nicholas Capozzi

    This is the best version I have seen, closest to the version my family in Italy uses. It is the best I have found to the REAL Pizza Rustica. The entire page is great due to the back-round given. You can restassure this is top drawer.

  • franco2

    Hello Nicholas,

    This Pizza Rustica recipe is absolutely delicious. The dough is very easy to work with and bakes up beautifully.
    If you try making it for Easter this year let me know how it turns out for you.

    Happy Easter!

  • Josephine

    My family makes a variation of this pie every Easter as long as I can remember. My Mom always called it “bato” or “batel” and always put a cross on top of it to “ward off the devil”. Of course, she made it on Good Friday, so the temptation and willpower was even greater because we coldn’t eat it until Saturday. Today, my two brothers, mother and daughter compete as to whose looks better, makes more or tastes better. Yes, they usually makes some hot and some mild. Our family recipe includes italian sausage, ground beef, eggs (hard boiled and raw), ricotta and romano cheeses. My eldest brother made some a couple of months ago (February), because “he had a taste for it” and proceeded to tease all of us by sending a picture via email. My question to you is: have you ever heard the pie referred to as “bato” or “batel”?

  • franco2

    Hello Josephine,

    This is a really nice comment. It’s the stories like these that make these holiday dishes so very special. I want to thank you for taking the time to share your story and connection to Pizza Rustica.

    As for the the dish being called “bato” or “batel” I honestly can’t say that I have. This sounds very much like dialect words in Italian. What part of Italy did your family originate from? Sicily?

    Italy is a country that is very regional and from town to town names of things can drastically change and with the old Italian dialects it’s even more the case.

    I am interested to know what part of Italy your family was from. I also will check into these two words.

    Have a wonderful Easter

    Buona Pasqua,


  • Debbie

    My family has made something like this pie for years and years but mom has passed away without writing it down. This recipe is close but in no way does this make one 9-inch pie. I made the recipe exactly as you had it posted here and had more than enough to make two very generous 9-inch pies. The two pounds of sausage is almost enough to fill one pie in itself! Are you sure about the quantities here???

  • franco2

    Hello Debbie,

    I am glad you made the recipe. The recipe should say two 9in pans. The extra pastry and filling can always be saved for about 5 days in order to make another one.

    Thank you for your reply. Hope you found the end result to be delicious!


  • Guest

    I grew up with this beautiful tradition and this is the first time I am making it myself.
    My mother always used a rectangular baking dish and I would like to honor her tradition.
    Will your recipe work in a rectangular dish?
    My father was born in Gaeta and my mother’s people came from Terracina.
    Thank you for your recipe.
    Buena Pasqua!

  • lucille carberry

    I grew up with this beautiful tradition and this year I am making it for the first time.
    My mother always used a large rectangular baking dish. I would like to honor her tradition.
    Will your recipe work in a rectangular dish?
    My father was born in Gaeta and my mother’s people came from Terracina.
    Thank you for your recipe.
    Buona Pasqua!

  • Franco Lania

    Hello Lucille,

    This Pizza Rustica recipe will adapt nicely to a rectangular baking dish. Just be aware that the cooking time may change, depending on the size of your pan and whether or not you use all the filling. This recipe is a wonderful Italian Easter tradition and I’m glad you’re going to keep it going.

    Buona Pasqua to you, too!


  • Donna Cheatham

    What would you serve as sides to this awesome dish?

  • Joseph Picone

    My family is 100% Italian on both sides from Chicago (originally from Sicily an Milan). We called this dish “goutsone” or “coutsone”. Everyone knew the name, but no one knew how to spell it or what it stood for. Any ideas?

  • Franco Lania

    Hello Joseph,

    The names that you mention here for pizza rustica are most definitively derived from Italian dialect. That’s the amazing this about Italy. The names for things change drastically from region to region and even more so from dialect to dialect. I’m 100% Italian heritage too and I’ve only know this dish as Pizza Rustica, but I have many Italian friends that call it by a slew of other names as well. I wish I could help you out more with those names.

    As long as we’re talking about and eating the same delicious Easter pie I think we’re all on the same page.

    Have a Happy Easter ~ Buona Pasqua!

  • Franco Lania

    Hello Donna,

    Happy Good Friday,

    The side dish I suggest to accompany a Pizza Rustica would be a simple spring salad tossed nicely with a piquant vinaigrette.
    Happy Easter!

  • Sarah ‘n Spice

    So this makes 2-9″ pies, dough and filling?

  • Franco Lania

    Hello Sarah,

    This pizza ruistica recipe makes one pie. The pie consists of a dough recipe that is enough to make two 9 inch rounds. One to line the spring form pan and one to close it as a top. Any leftover scaps of dough can be used to festively decorate the top as well. Like I did in the photograph.

    Hope this was helpful and Happy Easter.

  • Sarah ‘n Spice

    Great! Making tonight, thanks so much! Happy Easter :)

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  • Pat Marselle

    You mention reheating the pie. How?
    Also , is there an internal temperature for the pies done nests?

  • Franco Lania

    Dear Pat,

    I reheat the pizza rustica in a toaster oven or your regular oven at a moderate temperature of 325ºF. Please, don;t use a microwave it will ruin the wonderful flaky texture of the outer pastry shell.

    As for an internal temperature for done-ness, that is a good question. I normally don’t check for a specific internal temp for this one. Usually, by the time the outer crust has cooked and colored nicely the inside is set and delicious. However, if you feel more comfortable checking the internal temperature with a thermometer bring it up to 130ºF. Any higher than that you risk having a dry filling and burning the crust.

    Happy Easter & Buona Pasqua!


  • Pat Marselle

    Thanks for responding to my questions. I’ll let you know how my pie turns out after serving it to family on Easter!! I used a spring form pan & made it one pie. My old recipe , like yours, was from my Mother- in -Law. She had 160′ as a guide. Thanks again.

  • nmfd72

    Italian tradition dictates these pies be served at “room temperature” as my grandmother always did. You can, of course, eat them any way you prefer. As far as I know there isn’t any Pizza Rustica Police!! Happy Easter!!

  • Franco Lania

    Sounds like a plan Pat! I am curious to know how your family liked this recipe.

    Have a wonderful Easter,

  • Pat Marselle

    The pie was a great success !! Reheated it at 350′. Perfect !
    Everyone said ” Keep this recipe for next year”!
    I will. Thanks for your help.

  • Franco Lania

    Hello Pat,
    I am glad that you had a nice Easter and that this pizza rustica turned out to be a great success. It does reheat nicely and it truly is a great recipe, one worth keeping. I’m so glad I could help. Feel free to ask me cooking questions anytime.
    Ciao for now!
    Franco –

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  • Carol Otto

    We make it with, cali ham, dry sausage, mozzarella in basket, regular mozzarella. Ricotta. Also make crust with just flour and water from cali home.
    We called it pizza guine. Not sure of spelling

  • Franco Lania

    Hello Carol,

    Thank you for your message. Pizza Rustica is made all over Italy during Easter and in many Italian-American homes throughout the USA. The recipe, and what is put inside changes from family to family, but the idea is always basically the same. As long as you like your recipe, that’s all that matters. Give my recipe a try one day, it’s excellent. And I would be interested to hear your feedback.

    As for the name you mention- pizza guine, I am not familiar. It sounds like you might mean pizza gran. But, that is an entirely different Italian Easter pie. It is also very delicious too. Click here for my Pizza Gran recipe->

    I hope this was helpful. (Pizza Gran image below)

    Happy Easter!