Pizza Gain or Pizzagaina, Pizza Rustica, Italian Easter Ham Pie


Note the slice of PizzaGaina pictured here includes beaten eggs, our recipe utilizes hard boiled eggs. Thanks to Patflinschrod for the photo.

Pizza Gain Aka Pizzagaina, Pizza Rustica, or Italian Easter Ham Pie Recipe

PizzaGaina goes by many names including Easter Pizza, Pizza Chiena, PizzaGaina, Italian Ham Pie,  Pizza Gaina, Pizza Rustica, Italian Easter Ham Pie, Stuffed Easter Bread, Pastiera, etc. And just as there are many names for Pizza Gain there are various versions of the classic Easter dish.  For example, in provinces such as Campania (for example, the city of Naples), Easter Pie is made with eggs, ricotta, and grains of whole wheat.   The version from Campania is called pastiera and it includes a custard-like filling (often flavored with oranges).  Travel down the coast and you’ll find that on the island of Sicilia Pizza Gain includes pasta, pork, eggs, and regional cheese.   In the province of my mother and father (viz., Calabria),  pizza rustica is prepared with mozzarella, ricotta, regional salumi or ham, sausage, and hard-boiled eggs (as a reader pointed out, if you like your PizzaGaina with a custard like filling then you may want to prepare a version that includes beaten eggs).  Remember that “regional cooking” (In Italy) means that a dish can vary from village to village and not only from Province to Province.

Pizza Gain Aka Pizzagaina, Pizza Rustica, Italian Easter Ham Pie
Pizza Gain Aka Pizzagaina, Pizza Rustica, Italian Easter Ham Pie
  • Make a batch of our pizza dough
  • ½ pound julienne provola (note: provola is different than provolone and is much more neutral in flavor; you can purchase small, whole, provola at a good Italian market)
  • ½ pound of Prosciutto cotto, cut into strip
  • 1 -2 cups of grated Pecorino
  • ½ pounds of additional salumi such as Genoa salame, thinly sliced cacciatore, etc. cut into strips (optional)
  • 1 pound of sweet sausage, cooked and sliced ¼-inch thick
  • Whole milk mozzarella, shredded or cut into think strips
  • 4-5 hard-boiled eggs, halved
  1. Take half of the dough and roll out thin and line a baking sheet (you're looking for ¼-1/2 dough thickness with ¼ being optimal). Add a layer of shredded provola, sausage, mozzarella, and grated Pecorino.
  2. Next, add the eggs and prosciutto / ham and secondary salumi such as Genoa salame or a form of thinly sliced cacciatore. Add the remaining mozzarella and grated pecorino.
  3. Take the second half of the dough and roll it out once more; placing it over the layers of filling. Seal the edges with your fingers or a fork.
  4. Place a few slashes in the pie and allow the bread to rise for 20-30 minutes.
  5. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit oven for about 20-30 minutes. The crust should be golden brown when cooked properly.




  1. Not quite the way my Calabrian immigrant parents taught us…here is our recipe,  We are making it tomorrow instead of the traditional Good Friday where everyone hovers around the pie until midnight when they are “allowed” to sample….no matter the version YUM, YUM. YUM!

    • Hi Mary,

      Thanks for the note. As we mentioned to another reader, PizzaGaina varies from region to region in Italy and our recipe is an interpretation on a typical Calabrian version. My parents are also from Calabria (near the seacoast town of Bagnara Calabra). And to be perfect honest with you I do not make this recipe very often, nor do the villagers in and around Bagnara Calabra (however there seems to be a deep connection with this dish here in the States).

      Your recipe looks great and it looks like your crust is less of a bread like substance, utilizing Crisco.

  2. I will try provola in my pizza giana this year…if they have it at Jerry’s.

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