Recipe: Pizza Rustica with spinach, mozzarella and ham!

Pizza Rustica is fun and easy, you need a good dough, some fillings and you are ready! If you have guests coming over it`s a bit more interesting than a normal pizza nd you can gather many many nice compliments from your friends and family. I first noticed them in Puglia, where the cheese and ham filing is the most common. To be honest i wasn`t really impressed with the one I had there as it was a bit dry for my taste. But I liked the general idea and wanted to come up with my own version.

The dough is a basic bread and foccacia dough, which is very very easy to make. Note to self when you choose the filling for pizza rustica is that the dough needs a very warm 230C oven, so if you pick same raw ingredients like meat etc., most likely not going to cook within 10 minutes. So make sure the stuffing is already ready to eat. Besamel sauce -not a lot just a little- can prevent the dough getting too dry, and even a day after making it will be nice and soft.

Ingredients

Dough

  • 1,5 Kg. bread flour
  • 4 tbs dried yeast
  • 2tbs sugar
  • 3tbs salt
  • 600ml luke warm water

Filling

  • 10 slices of ham
  • 1kg of fresh spinach
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • bit of oil
  • 1 big mozzarella sliced
  • bechamel sauce – butter, milk, flour, nutmeg, salt,white pepper

Sift the flour in a big bowl, make a hole in the middle, add the yeast, the sugar and the salt, and mix it together. gradually add the water, and mix it with a wooden spoon, make sure your dough isn`t too wet, otherwise you`ll need to add more flour. Take it out from the bowl, to a clean lightly floured surface, and mix it well together. Add more flour or water if needed. Put it in a clean bowl with some oil, and cover it with a clean cloth. Leave it at a warm place, so it can rise.

Note: Usually the dough doubles its size in about 1 hour. Depending on your flour or yeast it can take up to a little more time so don`t worry. Don`t touch it or start making it if the dough didn`t rise!

Meanwhile, if you use fresh spinach, wash it at least 2-3 times, and make sure its clean. Chop it up a little, and saute it with some oil, garlic, salt and pepper. If you use frozen spinach leafs, make sure you get rid of as much excess water as possible. Make some bechamel, not much, if you don`t want to mess around with it, as you need only a little, you can use sour creme or creme fraische as a substitute. Get the rest of the ingredient`s ready, and heat up your oven to 230C.

When your dough is ready, take it out of the bowl, and mix it a little bit more. Cut in half. Knead the first half to the shape of your baking tray. Make sure your tray is well oiled. Put the dough in and add the ingredients. First some bechamel (not much just lightly, to cover, the ham, spinach, and the cheese on top. Knead the rest of the dough and cover. With a fork make some holes on the top, and put it in your oven. It usually needs not more than 15 minutes to be ready! Put it on a wire rack to cool. And enjoy the heavenly pizza!

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