Special Italian Easter Pizza

1/2 pound bulk Italian sausage
olive oil
1 (1 pound) loaf frozen bread dough, thawed
1/2 pound sliced mozzarella cheese
1/2 pound sliced cooked ham
1/2 pound sliced provolone cheese
1/2 pound sliced salami
1/2 pound sliced pepperoni
1 (16 ounce) container ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
8 eggs, beaten
1 egg
1 teaspoon water

Cook and stir Italian sausage in a skillet over medium heat, breaking the sausage into crumbles as it cooks, until well browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Drain excess grease; set sausage aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Oil the bottom and sides of a 10-inch springform pan with olive oil.
Cut 1/3 of the dough off the loaf and set aside under a cloth. Form the remaining 2/3 dough into a ball and roll into a 14-inch circle on a floured work surface.
Line the springform pan with rolled dough, allowing dough to hang over the edge by 2 inches all around.
Layer half the cooked Italian sausage, half the mozzarella cheese, half the ham, half the provolone cheese, half the salami, and half the pepperoni into the pie crust.
Spoon and spread half the ricotta cheese over the layers of meat and cheeses.
Sprinkle half the Parmesan cheese over the ricotta.
Pour half the 8 beaten eggs over the layers; continue layering the remaining meats, sliced cheeses, ricotta cheese, and then Parmesan cheese.
Pour remaining beaten eggs over the last layer of Parmesan cheese.
Roll out remaining piece of bread dough to a circle about 12 inches in diameter; lay the piece over the pie to form the top crust. Roll and pinch the bottom crust overhang over the top crust to seal in the filling.
Beat 1 egg with water in a small bowl; brush the top of the pie with egg wash.
Bake pie in the preheated oven until the crust is golden brown and the filling is set, 50 to 60 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the middle of the crust should come out without raw egg.
Allow pie to cool in the pan for at least 25 minutes before releasing the spring and removing pie from the pan. Transfer to a serving platter and cut into wedges for serving.

Cook’s Note:
In many traditional Italian homes this recipe calls for the addition of hard-boiled eggs. They can be added to this recipe - simply slice 4 hard boiled eggs and layer with the meats and cheeses; bake like normal.
Aluminum foil can be used to keep food moist, cook it evenly, and make clean-up easier.

I make mine like this -

PIZZAGAINA

Cheeses:
2 batches homemade ricotta or 3 lbs Ricotta store bought
1/4 lb Provolone
1/2 large Mozzarella
3 eggs slightly beaten
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan
optional - bits of sweet Easter cheese
optional - my cheese blend of pecorino romano, asiago, parmesan, etc. with cracked black pepper

Meats: I eyeball all this -
1/4 lb Pepperoni
1/4 lb Prosciutto
1/4 lb Genoa salami or sopressata
1/4 lb sweet sausage browned and crumbled
1/4 lb mortadella, sliced and chopped
1/4 lb capicola (hot ham), very thinly sliced

Chop all filling ingredients finely, & mix together.

Pie Dough:
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 lb butter or lard or Crisco cut into cubes, then put in the freezer to get ice cold
2 eggs

Stir flour, salt & sugar together. Work shortening of choice into flour, mix the eggs in and add as much additional ice water as needed so that the dough comes together.
Divide part ¾ of the dough into a flat disc, do the same with the other ¼, wrap in saran and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Use an 9 or 10 inch inch springform pan, using the larger amount of dough for bottom & sides, ¼ for the top.
Fill with the cheese/meat mixture, but don’t pack or compress it, nevertheless making sure that there are no air bubbles in the filling.
Bake at 350 degrees for 1½ hours.

Sometimes I use my bread dough recipe in place of this crust recipe and assemble after the second rise.

We like it served with spaghetti/marinara sauce spooned over top.

And I make a meat-lovers as well.

So filling - so good.

My aunt made it with ham and hard-cooked eggs - whatever you like.