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Pitta Inchiusa Calabrese
Pitta Inchiusa Calabrese (Stuffed vegetable pizza pie using spinach, tomatoes and onions)
Originated from: Calabria, Italy
Occasion: Any time
Contributed by: Adapted from an Italian cookbook published in the 1960s

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1 pound fresh home-made or store-bought pizza dough
1/4 cup lard, soften (for incorporating into the dough)

For filling*
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound yellow onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 pound fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 pound spinach, washed, cooked and chopped
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (optional)
2 anchovy fillets, chopped (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

For brushing
1 egg, beaten

*Fillings can be varied to suit individual tastes


Add the softened lard to the fresh dough. Knead until the dough is malleable, about 6 minutes.

Divide the dough into two parts, one slightly larger than the other.

Form into balls.

Place in containers, cover, and allow it to rest and double in volume.

Meanwhile cook the spinach. Drain. Cool. Chop.

Heat up the olive oil and saute the onions and garlic until soft and a light golden color, about 4 minutes.

Add the chopped tomatoes and simmer for about 5 minutes.

Add the chopped anchovy fillets and cooked spinach to the tomato-onion mixture and saute for another 5 minutes.

Remove from heat. Cool.

Grease a 10 inch pie pan.

Roll out the larger portion of the dough as thinly as possible.

Place the rolled-out dough in the greased pie pan.

Fill with the onion-tomato-spinach mixture. Top with Parmesan (if using).

Roll out the smaller portion of dough.

Place on top of the pie.

Seal edges.

Make air vents with a fork on the top of the pie.

Brush lightly with beaten egg.

Bake in a pre-heated 425 degrees F oven until the dough is golden brown -- about 45 minutes.

Serve warm.


This is a difficult dish to do -- even if one uses store-bought pizza dough, the likelihood of success is minimal at best. Any double crust vegetable pizza pie is difficult to get right, and this one is no exception. The yeast dough when mixed with tomatoes or greens can easily get mushy, sticky and soggy. Making a double crust stuffed pizza pie that is tasty and guest-friendly takes a great deal of skill. To succeed at it one has to roll out the dough as thinly as possible, and even when one does that, the dough inevitably rises and becomes too thick. Italian pastry shops in Montreal are starting to offer a variety of double crust stuffed pizzas, though they all seem to be made in rectangular-shaped pizza pans, rather than round-shaped pie pans. Possibly, it's easier to make stuffed pizzas in rectangular pans than in round ones (Crimping the edges might be avoided altogether!). Some pastry shop chefs seem to fold over the pizza dough on one side and leave the other open. Others make the stuffed pizza similar to a strudel in the sense that the dough is rolled around a stuffing. Often, the stuffed pizzas pies sold at Italian pastry shops don't look "traditional" at all, but that doesn't really matter (Does it?). If they're good, they're worth the price (Though too many are ridiculously over-prized!). Change is constant, especially in the food business.... Personally, I plan to avoid making stuffed pizza pies at home. Some things are best left to professionals. Actually, even store-bought stuffed pizzas don't appeal to me (Too much starch, too many calories and not enough flavor), so those who do like them should ignore everything I said and make up their own minds whether or not making vegetable stuffed pizza pies at home is worth the bother. For a variety of recipes that are similar to this one, check out the category on this website titled, CALCONI. Comments and photo: Mary Melfi.

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