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  • Writer's pictureAdam Horvath

Pizzagaina- My Trek into Brooklyn for the Savory Italian Easter Pie

Despite the fact my father was born in Williamsburg, I’m really a bit of a Brooklyn virgin. I’m not saying BK and I never shared a few moments of heavy petting and some over the clothes stuff but other than a handful of concerts, fancy cocktails shaken by well-quaffed mixologists and a spin on the Wonder Wheel, I'm a noob. I needed to reach out to the experts before starting my trek into NYC's most populated borough for pizzagaina, a savory Easter pie filled with ricotta, Pecorino Romano and a variety of salty Italian meats baked inside a flaky crust. Fortunato Brothers, Mazzola, Frank & Sal's Prime Meats and Villabate Alba were amongst the recommended. So many choices?

When the guy at Villabate's, wearing the faded Forza Azzurri jersey and fitted red Lamborghini cap ordered 2 large pizza rustica and then showed up 5 minutes after I arrive at Frank & Sal’s for another half a dozen slices of their pre-sliced Easter pie, I knew I chose wisely.

Easter Pies Are Like Snowflakes

This is HOMEMADE! Courtesy @stecky75

When Italian immigrants first arrived in America, they didn’t always have access to the same ingredients needed for their old-world recipes, so they adapted and used the meats and cheeses available. Pizza rustica and pizzagaina are the Italian American offspring of the traditional Pizza di Pasqua and typically made for Easter morning brunch. Each recipe is as unique as the home cook's personality making it and while the savory pies from Brooklyn were all delicious, it's the homemade versions that are the best. My childhood friend Stephie makes this stunning latticed crust, stuffed with a mix of chopped ham, salami, prosciutto and egg with a blend of mozzarella, pecorino and mozzarella inside.

Meanwhile my co-worker's recipe is a flakey crust rolled out like a wide thin stromboli sans ricotta with a proper ratio of salty meat to cheese and egg. My friend grew up eating his nonna's pie of layered sliced hard-boiled, dried soppressata and a smothering of provolone and fontina cheeses. Each one, the baker's fingerprint and homage to their Italian heritage, with a little American fusion spliced in.

Italy is made up of 20 regions with their own version Easter pie for centuries. Both savory and sweet like the rice, grain and pizza di ricotta with notes of lemon zest. While this was my first trek into Brooklyn for a taste, I have grown up on the equally exquisite Italian bakeries like Aroma Di Napoli and Da Vinci Bakery both in Nutley NJ. All of these Easter pies are subtly different and are a worthwhile addition to your next holiday celebration.

Buona Pasqua, Happy Easter and Buon Appetito! And tell me who makes your favorite?

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2 Kommentare

02. Apr.

what’s the pronunciation on this one

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Adam Horvath
Adam Horvath
05. Apr.
Antwort an

Pizza gain a

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