Italian Pizza Gaina Recipe

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A tasty pie with a tender shortcrust pastry filled with of all the Italian flavors you love like mortadella, salami, mozzarella and pecorino romano.


Prep Time: 1 hr
Cook Time: 1 hr
Total Time: 2 hrs
Servings: 10 servings



  •  cups (450g) all purpose (plain) flour
  • 8 oz (2 sticks/225g) unsalted butter (chilled)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk (more or less)


  • 1 lb (450g) ricotta cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • 8 oz (226 grams) mozzarella (cheese) (thick cut then diced )
  • 8 oz (226 grams) ham (thick cut then diced (see notes))
  • 4 oz (113 grams) mortadella (thick cut then diced (see notes))
  • 2 oz (56 grams) prosciutto (thick cut then diced (see notes))
  • 2 oz (56 grams) salami (thick cut then diced (see notes))
  • ½ cup grated pecorino romano
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper


  • Preheat oven 350ºF/180ºC. Grease a 9in/22cm springform pan with butter or oil.


  • Place flour, salt and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle and on the lowest speed, combine until a loose, sandy mixture is formed.
  • With the mixer still on low speed, add eggs one at a time until the mixture starts to come together. You may need a tablespoon or so of milk to bring the dough together.
  • Turn the dough onto a board ( no need to flour at this stage) and knead a little to form a ball. Divide the dough in two portions – ⅔ and ⅓ – and shape into discs. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate while you prepare the filling.


  • Place the ricotta in a large bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until broken up and becoming smooth.
  • Beat eggs in a small bowl. Reserve approximately 1 tablespoon. (You’ll use this later to glaze the top of the pie.) Stir rest of the beaten eggs into ricotta.
  • Add remaining ingredients to the ricotta mixture and stir well to combine. Set aside.

Assemble and bake the pizza gaina

  • On a lightly floured surface, roll out the larger portion of dough to at least a 16in/40cm circle and line the greased springform pan. Trim the dough to the top of the pan.
  • Spoon the filling into the pastry and smooth the surface.
  • Roll out the smaller portion of dough to at least 9in/22cm. Use the springform pan as a guide to cut a 9in/22cm circle. Fit the circle of dough over the ricotta filling.
  • Brush pastry with reserved beaten egg then fold over extra pie dough to seal the filling. Brush with any leftover beaten egg. Cut a slit or two in the top of the pie. Bake until golden brown.
  • Bake for 1 hour until golden brown.
  • Cool for 2 hours before serving or refrigerating to be eaten later.


Tips for success

  • For best results, don’t overwork the dough otherwise it will be tough. Mix until the dough just comes together.
  • Use dry ricotta that comes in a basket. If you can’t find it, drain tub ricotta in a sieve overnight in the fridge. Be sure to have a bowl underneath to catch the liquid.
  • Ask for the cured meats to be cut just under ½ inch/1cm thick. You’ll then be able to dice the meat easily at home.
  • Don’t add any salt to the filling because all the ingredients are salty enough
  • Allow the pie to cool at least 2 hours.
  • If you can wait, make a day in advance for all the flavors to develop.


Calories: 664kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 44g | Saturated Fat: 24g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 240mg | Sodium: 1179mg | Potassium: 273mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1114IU | Calcium: 299mg | Iron: 3mg
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