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

"This is my Grandmother's recipe for Pizza Gain (AKA PizzaGaina, Pizza Gaina, Pizza Rustica, Italian Easter Ham Pie, Italian Ham Pie, Easter Pizza, Pizza Chiena, etc.). There are many varieties out there depending on the region of Italy you are from. My family makes it in their traditional style from their village in Naples (Napoli) Italy. There are some areas that use sausage or hard boiled eggs, this one does not. This is also the recipe for a very large pie. I make it in my roasting pan without the rack in it. It is meant to be divied up & shared. I give a hunk to about 6 different people. The story, as its been told to me, is that during Lent & the 40 days of fasting... this Pizza Gaina was made by the Italian women on Good Friday as an abundance of meat & richness that was abstained during Lent. It was prepared, cooked, and chilled on Good Friday, but could not be cut & eaten before noon on Easter Saturday. Although some people serve it on Easter Sunday. Many Easter dishes were made in advance so the local Priest could come and Bless the prepared foods for the Feast of Easter. My family would all gather at my Grandparents house on Saturday & enjoy it together with our Aunts, Uncles, & cousins. It's a tradition that I'm glad to continue to keep those memories going. You can make your own pizza dough for this or purchase it. I sometime buy it at our local pizzeria. This is served chilled. When heated, becomes runny. Also, I cut up all the meats & mozzarella the night before so it's ready to go Friday. I also put a heat-proof oven liner on my bottom rack in case anything oozes out. * Want to specify almost everything is cubed or cut to little slices cubed... Also, please read the ingredients thoroughly, like the capicola is the HOT capicola, proscuittini isn't listed so I made the notation... etc. ** See photos for stages of preparation from start to finish ** Also, for ingredients, I was able to find all of the meats, fresh basket cheese, and fresh mozzarella at the deli-counter in my local supermarket and they are also found in Italian Specialty Shops or Deli's."
Pizza Gain Aka Pizzagaina, Pizza Rustica, Italian Easter Ham Pie created by anniesnomsblog
Ready In:
3hrs 30mins


  • 2 12 lbs ham (sliced thick from deli-counter or cubed pieces of boiled ham)
  • 14 lb prosciutto (this is the regular proscuitto, next ingredient is as described, proscuittini)
  • 14 lb prosciutto (PROSCUITTINI, AKA Pepper Ham, Black Peppered Ham or prozuttini)
  • 14 lb capicola (HOT CAPICOLA, spiced-hot capicola )
  • 14 lb hard salami
  • 14 lb genoa salami
  • 1 lb fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 1 lb mozzarella cheese (1 entire brick of whole milk mozzarella, cubed)
  • 1 lb Italian cheese (FRESH BASKET CHEESE, AKA Easter cheese or Farmer's Cheese)
  • 3 lbs ricotta cheese
  • 1 stick pepperoni (sliced)
  • 3 tablespoons parmesan cheese
  • 15 eggs
  • 4 lbs pizza dough


  • Cube ham meat. Cut sliced meat by rolling & slicing or cutting with scissors. Cube mozzarella. In very large bowl, add ricotta & basket cheese. Add 15 eggs. Hand stir with whisk. Add 3 heaping tablespoons Grated cheese - then stir in the cubed meat and cheese.
  • Brush pan with oil then melted butter. Roll out & lay dough. Add cheese/meat mixture. Add top layer of dough and pinch bottom & top dough seams together tightly.
  • Brush top with oil then egg. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Make Easter Cross with large fork to vent. Bless.
  • Bake 375º x 10 min then 350º x 60 min then 325º x 30-45 minute.
  • Remove from oven. Brush top with melted butter. Cool 2-3 hours Turn upside down overnight on large board. Cover pizza tightly with paper towel, foil, & dish-towel. Refrigerate. Serve noon or later on Easter Saturday.

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  1. Randy Y.
    Looks really good and expensive. Was going to make it but there is only two of us. Need to get rid of leftover ham. This would feed us for a week. Will make it tho' in post covid time.
  2. Ed S.
  3. June F.
    Would like to know what size pan you use for this. I don't what to get it all mixed up and not have the right size pan. It's to expensive to screw up.
  4. donnamarie13us
    Can someone please tell me the exact size pan they used? I am making this today and really need to know.
  5. donnamarie13us
    Hello Jersey Girl...I am planning on making the Pizzagaina tomorrow and bought a 16X13 Roasting Pan. Is that going to be too big? Please let me know. I would rather find out sooner than later. And you said Northern NJ. I am originally from Lodi. Thank you. Donna



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