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Easter Meat and Cheese Pie

IMG_2804.jpgHere's another Italian specialty that I've learned to make in the last few years...perhaps proving that you can teach an old dog new tricks. It's meat and cheese pie, an Easter specialty loaded with cold cuts to celebrate the return to eating meat after a Lent-long fast. My version is based on the one from Patsy's Italian Family Cookbook.  I spent many hours at Patsy's watching Chef Sal and his crew making their old-school dishes that have made the restaurant famous for over 70 years.  My version is actually streamlined, as I used a four-cheese pizza mix and sliced cold cuts instead of the individually prepared ingredients.  The dough is easy to make, thanks to instant yeast (you don't have to worry about the water temperature).  The pie goes by many names--Pizza Gaina or Pizza Chena (both dialect variations of Pizza Piena, which is Italian for "filled pie") or Pizza Rustica.  No matter what you call it, it is delicious.  I am always surprised at how easily is comes together.  


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