Friday, February 8, 2013

Ricotta Pie

Copyright, Doug Kapustin Photography, 2013

Day 9

Quite a few years ago, when I was a young mom in my early 20s, I happened upon an Italian main dish recipe in an old cookbook that piqued my curiosity. At the time, it seemed a very ambitious cooking venture for me since I was fairly new to the culinary world. Since I was a teenager, I had been making meals for my family, but it wasn’t until my daughter was a baby that I really started to test my skills in the kitchen. 

I don’t remember the name of the cookbook in which I found a recipe called Ricotta Pie, but I do remember how exciting it was to make the first time. For years, I made the savory dinner pie frequently for our friends and family, then moved on to different recipes, and eventually, I essentially forgot how delicious it was. Recently, my good friend Kristy reminded me of the recipe, so I hunted through my stack of trusted favorites and found it. After some ingredient additions and a few minor adjustments, I recreated an even better version of the original that Kristy and I loved so much. 

When you hear Ricotta Pie, you might think of some dessert version of a cheesecake, but that’s not it at all. Ricotta Pie is an entrée best served with a healthy ladle of marinara sauce and a green salad, lightly tossed in olive oil and lemon juice. If I had to compare it to another main dish, I suppose I’d choose quiche, although Ricotta Pie is much creamier and definitely richer. It’s comfort food through and through, to be sure, and an absolute crowd pleaser. The combination of a warm, cheesy center peppered with bits of tender salami is fantastic. The hints of basil and garlic also add to the pie’s decadence. Serving the dish with a quick marinara sauce and light greens is a definite compliment to its richness and texture. 

So, Kristy, this one’s for you. Here’s to old times and the dearest of memories we’ve shared at the family table. I wish you were here to share this one tonight. 

Ricotta Pie


2- 9-inch deep dish refrigerated pie crusts
4 large eggs
1- 15 oz. container whole milk ricotta cheese
2 cups smoked mozzarella cheese, shredded
¼ lb. Genoa salami, cut into ¼ inch cubes
3 tbs. grated Parmesan cheese
1 large clove of garlic, minced (optional)
3 tbs. chopped fresh basil
2 tsp. chopped fresh Italian parsley 
½ tsp. pepper
Pinch of salt

Marinara sauce (see directions below)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Place one pie crust in the bottom of a 9-inch glass pie pan, making sure to form it to the shape of the pan as carefully as possible. 

Beat eggs and ricotta cheese until smooth. Stir in mozzarella, salami, Parmesan, salt, and pepper. Gently fold-in garlic, parsley and basil.

Pour mixture onto prepared crust and spread evenly. Place top crust over mixture, securing edges with a fork. Brush top crust lightly with melted butter or a lightly beaten egg and sprinkle with garlic powder or sea salt, if desired.

Bake for 1 hour & 15 minutes. Cool for 20 minutes before slicing. 

Serve each slice with marinara sauce. Serves 6. 

Quick and Easy Marinara Sauce: 


2 tbs. olive oil
¼ medium onion, chopped
3 tbs. chopped yellow bell pepper
1 can artichoke bottoms, chopped (optional)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1- 28 oz. can whole tomatoes with juice
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tbs. chopped fresh thyme
1 tbs. chopped fresh basil
1 tsp. dry oregano
1 tsp. black pepper


Put entire can of tomatoes in a food processor and pulse until roughly chopped. 

In a saucepan over medium-high, heat the olive oil. Add pepper and onion and sauté until tender. Add garlic and sauté an additional 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low. 

Add tomatoes and artichokes to the onion mixture, then add the salt, thyme, basil, oregano, and black pepper. Stir and simmer on low heat, uncovered, until all flavors are incorporated and mixture has reduced slightly—about 20 minutes. 

Season more to taste, if needed. Store in covered container, refrigerated, until ready to reheat and serve, OR for the ricotta pie recipe, set aside until ready to serve over each portion. 

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