In Boston’s North End it wouldn’t be Easter without a savory ricotta tart called pizza rustica or pizza chiena in Neapolitan dialect. A slightly sweet, flaky egg-enriched crust surrounds a salty filling of ricotta or basket cheese, Parmigiano and mozzarella cheese, with chopped pieces of prosciutto, salami and mortadella. Of course, each family has it’s own secret recipe. If you are interested in making your own pizza rustica, please check out my favorite recipe. If you don’t have the time to make your own, rush to Maria’s Pastry Shop on Cross Street…or better yet call and order one because the demand is so great that she can’t make them fast enough.
Basket cheese is traditionally used to make the savory ricotta pies, and very sought after by Italian families. Simply made by coagulating farm fresh milk with rennet and placed in a basket to drain its whey – no salt, no seasoning. Its mild dairy flavor will not compete with the other savory ingredients of grated cheese and cured meats.
Maria’s Pastry Shop
46 Cross St, Boston
The Cheese Shop –
20 Fleet St , Boston