There’s something savory for a change; something rustic and delicious in its best Italian simplicity. You can call it a filled focaccia or pie. But either way, the main point remains the same. There are two layers of soft yeasted dough filled with a mixture of ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, and spicy salame. The focaccia could make a perfect lunch, but if you are not allowed to consume a glass of wine during your lunch break, better serve it for dinner with a fresh crispy green salad on the side.
The recipe is adapted from Carol Field’s “Italy in Small Bites”.
Makes one 11-inche round pie, serves 8 as a meal, 16 as an antipasto
For the dough:
- 2 ½ tsp (1 package) active dry yeast
- ½ tsp granulated sugar
- 1 ¼ cups warm water (about 105F)
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 400 g (scant 3 cups) all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp salt
For the filling:
- 15 oz ricotta cheese, as fresh as possible
- 2 large eggs, lightly whisked
- 6 oz mozzarella cheese, diced
- 3 oz spicy salame, diced
- 2 ½ oz Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
- ½ cup Italian parsley, finely chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Generous grating of nutmeg (about 1/8 tsp)
- 2 to 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Make the dough:
Whisk the yeast and the sugar into the warm water in a large mixing bowl or in a bowl of the stand mixer; let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. With a wooden spoon, stir in the olive oil, then the flour and salt. Stir until the dough comes together. You may need to add another tablespoon of flour. Knead for 4 minutes by hand on a lightly floured work surface, or for a couple of minutes with the dough hook in the heavy-duty mixer on medium speed. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover with oil-sprayed plastic wrap, and leave in a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes, until almost doubled in volume.
Make the filling:
While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 450F (if you have a pizza stone, place it into the oven before turning the oven on). Brush an 11-inch tart pan with removable bottom (or a 10-inch springform pan) with olive oil. Set aside.
Press the ricotta through a sieve, or whirl it in a food processor to aerate and lighten it. Transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in the eggs, mix well. Stir in the mozzarella, Parmesan, parsley, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
Assemble and bake the focaccia:
Divide the dough into two pieces, one twice the size of the other. Roll out the larger one to form a circle about 13 or 14 inches in diameter, and lay it gently in the oiled tart pan, so that it covers the bottom of the pan and slightly overlaps the sides. Lightly oil the dough and spread the filling over it. Roll the second piece of dough out to form an 11-inch circle, and set it on top of the filling. Trim the overhanging dough and press the two layers of dough together to close the focaccia. Prick the top crust with a fork and brush with olive oil.
Bake until golden, about 25-30 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan on a cooling rack, then unmold. Cool on the rack until warm and serve.