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Italian Easter Pie from Cook's Country

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS:
Made to feed a crowd, torta rustica, or Italian Easter pie, is a hefty construction of meats and cheeses wrapped in a pastry crust. So that it can stand up to the considerable fillings, we reinforce our crust with eggs and knead the dough to develop gluten. Instead of the deli’s worth of meats called for in some recipes, we use just two: hot capicola and Italian sausage. For cheese, we found that aged provolone and salty Pecorino make a good pair, while creamy ricotta mixed with eggs holds it all together. Sautéed broccoli rabe adds freshness and a touch of bitterness, and it wouldn’t be Italian without garlic.

SERVES 12

Use a cake pan that’s at least 2 inches deep. If your pan is light-colored, increase the baking time to 45 to 50 minutes. Substitute low-fat ricotta if you like. Note that the dough needs to rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour before you roll it out, and the baked pie must cool for about 4 hours.

INGREDIENTS

DOUGH

3 large eggs
3 tablespoons cold water
3 cups (15 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
6 tablespoons vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled

FILLING

1 tablespoon olive oil
12 ounces broccoli rabe, trimmed and chopped
8 ounces hot Italian sausage, casings removed
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound (2 cups) whole-milk ricotta cheese
4 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese, grated (2 cups)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pepper
8 ounces thinly sliced aged provolone cheese
6 ounces thinly sliced hot capicola
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water

INSTRUCTIONS

1. FOR THE DOUGH: Whisk eggs and cold water together in bowl; set aside. Process flour and salt in food processor until combined, about 3 seconds. Scatter butter and shortening over top and pulse until only pea-size pieces remain, about 10 pulses. Add egg mixture and pulse until dough ball forms, about 20 pulses. Turn out dough onto lightly floured counter and knead until smooth and elastic, about 20 turns. Divide dough into one 1-pound ball and one 10-ounce ball (roughly into two-thirds and one-third) and form each into 6-inch disk. Wrap disks tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.

2. FOR THE FILLING: Heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add broccoli rabe, sausage, and salt and cook, breaking up sausage with spoon, until sausage is cooked through and broccoli rabe is tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer to plate and let cool completely, about 15 minutes. Whisk ricotta, Pecorino, eggs, and pepper together in large bowl.

3. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease dark-colored 9-inch round cake pan. Roll 1-pound disk of dough into 14-inch circle on well-floured counter. Loosely roll dough around rolling pin and gently unroll it onto prepared pan, letting excess dough hang over edge. Ease dough into pan by gently lifting and supporting edge of dough with your hand while pressing into pan bottom and sides with your other hand. Leave overhanging dough in place.

4. Shingle half of provolone in bottom of dough-lined pan. Spread ricotta mixture over provolone. Scatter sausage mixture over ricotta mixture and press lightly into even layer. Shingle capicola over sausage mixture, followed by remaining provolone.

5. Roll remaining disk of dough into 10-inch circle on well-floured counter. Brush overhanging dough of bottom crust with egg wash. Loosely roll 10-inch circle around rolling pin and gently unroll it over filling. Trim overhanging top and bottom doughs to 1/2 inch beyond lip of pan and pinch firmly together. Fold overhanging dough inward so folded edge is flush with edge of pan. Crimp dough evenly around edge of pan with tines of fork.

6. Brush top of pie liberally with egg wash. Using paring knife, cut eight 1-inch vents in top of dough in circular pattern. Bake until filling registers 150 degrees in center of pie and crust is golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer pie to wire rack and let cool for at least 4 hours or refrigerate for up to 2 days. Remove pie from pan, slice into wedges, and serve.

The following three recipes are from Amazing Ribs and the main author/chef is Meathead Goldwyn.  Hilarious site that is hard core serious BBQ.  My favorite quote:  "If you boil ribs the terrorists win."  You really have to want to learn how to make most excellent grilled/smoked meats because Meathead is definitely serious.  I love the site.
The Ultimate Smoked Ham

Makes. 8 servings

Preparation time. 10 minutes

Cooking time. Approximately 10 to 12 minutes per pound total at 225°F if you use the foil wrap, but you need a thermometer to tell, not a clock.

Serve with. Grilled asparagus and grilled sweet potato steak fries

Ingredients

8 pound bone-in precooked wet cured ham
1 cup Chris Lilly's Spicy Apricot Glaze recipe below
1 cup chicken broth

1) You can do this step well in advance. Make 1 cup of Chris Lilly's Spicy Apricot Glaze. Make the sauce by putting the chicken broth in a pan and whisk in 4 tablespoons of the glaze over medium heat until it is dissolved. Put both the glaze and the sauce in the fridge.

2) Prepare your grill for 2-zone cooking and preheat it to about 225°F on the indirect side. If the skin has not been removed, remove it, and trim off almost all the fat leaving no more than a thin layer. If it came with a prepackaged glaze, throw it out. If there is a glaze already on the meat, rinse it off. Chris' glaze is better. If it is spiral-sliced, let some water get into the sliced areas to help reduce moisture loss.

3) Place the meat on the indirect side of the grill, add a handful or two of wood for smoking as described in my articles on the Best Setup for a Charcoal Grill, the Best Setup for a Gas Grill, the Best Setup for a Bullet Smoker, and theBest Setup for an Offset Smoker. You do not need much smoke since the meat has been smoked once already. Close the lid, and smoke for about 1 hour.

4) Tear off about 5' of aluminum foil, if you have double strength, that's better. Fold it in half to make it about 2 1/2' in length. Take the ham off the grill, place the flat, cut end on the foil making sure you don't puncture the foil, pour 1/2 cup of water over the meat and seal the meat and water in the foil making it look like a giant candy kiss. Crimp the seams tight. We don't want any steam escaping and water leaking. This technique helps it cook faster by generating a little steam, which penetrates faster than dry heat, and keeps the meat moist. Place the package back on the indirect side at about 225°F. If you have a leave-in meat thermometer, insert it now through the foil into the fat end, so the tip is about 1" away from the bone. Watch the oven temp and try to keep it around 225°F.

5) When the meat temp hits about 130°F, open the foil, paint on the glaze, leave the foil open to catch drips, close the grill, and roast for about 10 minutes until the glaze gets thick. While the glaze is setting, get the sauce out and warm it on the hot side of the grill or the side burner or indoors. How long will it take to hit 130°F? That depends on the thickness of the meat and the accuracy of your oven thermometer. As I tend to repeat in every recipe, you cannot trust your grill thermometer no matter how much you spent o your grill, and you need a meat thermometer to tell when the meat is done. Please read my article on thermometers and take action.

6) After about 10 minutes, open the grill, dip your basting brush in the pools of glaze on the foil and paint the meat again. Add more glaze if you wish. Now remove the foil, and pour any drippings into the sauce pan. Leave the lid open, remove the thermometer and move the ham over to the hot side. Stand right there and watch so the glaze does not burn. Don't walk away even to get a beer. Let the glaze sizzle, but not blacken. You are just trying to caramelize the sugars and develop more flavor. After about 3 or 4 minutes, roll it a bit and keep rolling it until all sides have sizzled except the bare meat side. Leave it bare. By now the temp should have risen to 140°F. Go ahead and check if you want, but trust me, it's there.

7) Taste the sauce. If you want it sweeter, add more glaze, but it shouldn't need more sugar. Pour the sauce into a gravy boat, and move the ham to a cutting board, bare side down. Carve it by slicing in from the sides towards the bone in the center of the top. Then slice down along the bone to release the slices. Serve, and spoon a little sauce over the meat.

Chris Lilly's Spiced Apricot Sauce

When I make his recipe I like to give it a bit of smokiness by using smoked paprika instead of regular paprika and chipotle powder instead of the cayenne powder. But don't skip anything else, especially the cloves, they are a crucial part of the flavor profile. I like to add a 2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar to the mix.

Makes. 1 cup, enough for an 8 pound ham or two slabs of ribs
Preparation time. 15 minutes
Cooking time. 10 minutes

Keeps. Because it has a high sugar content, it can keep for months in the refrigerator.

Ingredients

1/2 cup apricot preserves
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1/8 teaspoon sage flakes
1/16 teaspoon ground cloves

Method

In a medium bowl, combine the glaze ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate until you need it. It will keep for weeks.

Columbia Gold Barbecue Sauce Recipe

Yield. A little more than 3 cups. Click here to calculate how much you need and for tips on saucing strategies.

Preparation time. 30 minutes.
Keeps. It can keep for months in the refrigerator.

Ingredients

2 cups prepared yellow mustard
2/3 cup cider vinegar
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon chipotle Tabasco sauce or you favorite hot sauce
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules or 1 cube
2 teaspoons dried rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon celery seed
3 teaspoons mustard powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

About the mustard. To be authentic, use yellow ballpark style mustard, not Dijon. Besides, it just doesn't taste right with Dijon.
About the tomato paste. You can substitute ketchup if you wish.

Method

1) Mix the wet ingredients together in a bowl.

2) If you are using a bouillon cube, crush it with a spoon in a bowl or mortar & pestle and add it to the bowl. Crush the rosemary leaves and celery seed in a mortar & pestle or in a blender or coffee grinder and add it to the bowl. Add the rest of the dry ingredients to the bowl and mix thoroughly. Let it sit for a an hour in the refrigerator for the flavors to meld. No cooking necessary. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for a month or more.

Roasted Radishes with Brown Butter, Lemon, and Radish Tops

Brief high-heat roasting mellows a radish's peppery flavor and turns it into a whole new root vegetable. Using the green radish tops adds color and amps up the radish flavor. Be sure to rinse the green tops thoroughly before using them. This would be a great side dish for roasted pork loin or leg of lamb.

ingredients

2 bunches medium radishes (such as red, pink, and purple; about 20)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse kosher salt
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
preparation

Preheat oven to 450°F. Brush large heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet with olive oil. Cut off all but 1/2 inch of green radish tops; reserve trimmed tops and rinse them well, checking for grit. Coarsely chop radish tops and set aside. Cut radishes lengthwise in half and place in medium bowl. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil and toss thoroughly to coat. Place radishes, cut side down, on prepared baking sheet; sprinkle lightly with coarse salt. Roast until radishes are crisp-tender, stirring occasionally, about 18 minutes. Season to taste with more coarse kosher salt, if desired.

medium-high heat. Add pinch of coarse kosher salt to skillet and cook until butter browns, swirling skillet frequently to keep butter solids from burning, about 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and stir in fresh lemon juice.

Transfer roasted radishes to warmed shallow serving bowl and drizzle brown butter over. Sprinkle with chopped radish tops and serve.

Pancetta-Wrapped Asparagus with Citronette

2    pounds medium asparagus
1/2    pound very thinly sliced pancetta
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange
2    teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4    cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2    teaspoons chopped thyme

Tightly wrap each asparagus spear in a slice of pancetta and refrigerate until chilled, about 20 minutes.

Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. In a small bowl, stir the orange zest and juice with the mustard and olive oil; season with salt and pepper.

Grill the asparagus over moderate heat, turning often, until they are just tender and the pancetta is crisp, about 5 minutes total. Transfer the asparagus to a platter and drizzle with the dressing. Sprinkle with the thyme and serve.

MAKE AHEAD The uncooked pancetta-wrapped asparagus can be covered and refrigerated overnight.

Crispy, Creamy Potato Puffs

These enticing Chilean potato puffs, known as papas duquesas, are a cross between mashed potatoes and french fries.

2 1/4    pounds baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
Salt
1 large egg, beaten
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons nonfat dry milk
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Vegetable oil, for frying

Put the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Add a large pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes and return them to the saucepan. Cook for 1 minute over high heat, shaking the pan frequently to dry out the potatoes.

Pass the potatoes through a ricer into a large bowl. Stir in the egg, butter, dry milk, cheese, flour and nutmeg; season with salt. Using floured hands, roll the potato mixture into 1-inch balls; you should have about 60.

Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1/2 inch of vegetable oil until shimmering. Working in batches of about 12, fry the potato balls over moderately high heat until they are browned on 3 sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels, season lightly with salt and transfer the potato balls to a large rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining balls.

When all of the puffs are fried, reheat them in the oven for about 10 minutes. Serve at once.

MAKE AHEAD The recipe can be prepared through Step 2 and refrigerated overnight. Bring the potato balls to room temperature before frying.


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