Well, they are finally gone. As prolific as they were this year, every last pepper in my garden has been used. I've stuffed them, roasted them, marinated them, they've topped more than one sausage sub around here, they were included in a nice eggplant caponata, but enough is enough! I just know I'll be regretting these words come January.
So today I tried something a little different for me. A dish I make often, but never include peppers. Surprisingly, it turned out just great!
I made an old family favorite -- scaciatta (pronounced ska cha ta) or Italian meatpie or as some call it, pizzachino. I really don't consider this dish a pizza rustica, but you may. This dish is a two-crust pie of risen dough and typically filled with any assortment of meats, tuna, anchioves, vegetables or cheeses. In this meat pie I combined seasoned pork, veal and a little ground beef along with an assortment of my remaining peppers--both sweet and hots, some red wine, chopped onions, and of course, garlic. Earlier this year I posted my recipe for spinach pies. I use my same dough recipe but different fillings and shapes, or you can use a store bought, ready to use pizza dough. But any way you slice it -- they're all good. Served as an appetizer, late night snack or a side with a big salad and if you should have any leftovers, pop the slices into your freezer. They keep beautifully and you'll have a delicious and handy quick meal on those occasions when you just don't want to prepare a large dinner.
I ended up with about 1 1/2 cups of extra filling left over, so later this week I'll be making a chard pie topped with my leftover meat pie filling. As I said, anything goes here. Get creative!
Italian Meat Pie -- Scaciatta
fresh pizza dough - enough to make two 12 inch rounds
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1 large onion, minced
2 sweet red peppers, cut fine
2 green peppers, cut fine
3 hot peppers - cut fine, *optional
1 large potato, cut in tiny pieces
1/4 cup red wine
1 lb ground sweet Italian sausage
1 lb ground veal
1/2 lb lean ground beef
1/8 cup homemade spaghetti sauce (not gravy :) - *just enough to lightly coat the meat/vegetable mixture
pecorina romano cheese
shredded mozzarella cheese
ground fennel seed
basil, sweet marjoram, thyme, oregano, parsley to taste
In a large skillet, saute in olive oil the garlic, onion and potatoes until just tender. Add the rest of the vegetables along with the red wine and cook for 6-8 minutes over a medium heat. Next, toss in all the ground meats, incorporating well with the vegetables. Season with ground black pepper, herbs and cook until the meat is finished about 15 minutes or so. Add spaghetti sauce -- I ended up using 8 TBLS total-- just enough to lightly coat the mixture. Put a cover on your pan and let the mixture cook down a bit. Once cooled, I always pour off any excess oils by tossing the entire mixture into a collander. As this has been slowly doing its cooking thing, you can roll out your dough into two rounds. Coat your baking sheet with olive oil, wiping off any excess and place your first dough round onto the sheet, overlapping the edge some. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over the dough, and then again with pecorino romano. Begin to add the cooked and cooled filling, leaving a two inch border until you've covered the entire center of pan. You'll be rolling that portion upwards to seal your pie. Once again sprinkle with grated cheeses and top with some mozzarella cheese. (I used a multi package of mozzarella, fontina, asiago blend.) Here's a few photo's up to this point of preparation.
Pretty easy so far? Just about everyone has a few bags of pizza dough in their freezers -- at least I hope you do :+) Now all that's left to do, is to add your cover crust, pressing it in place to seal over the meat mixture only. And finally draw the bottom crust in a rolling action upward while pressing at the same time to seal well all around the meatpie. You want all the filling to remain in your pie without oozing out everywhere. Just give the top crust a few stabs with a fork,to vent it, and just a bit of drizzled olive oil rubbed over the crust and pop this bad boy into a 375 degree oven for approximately 25 minutes total, or until golden brown.
Once you remove it from the oven, cover it lightly with some aluminum foil and allow it to cool down completely, before slicing. Enjoy!