Mary Contini's recipe for Pastone Napoletana
This recipe is taken from
The Italian Sausage Bible
by Mary Contini,
illustrated by Bob Dewar
and published by Birlinn.
Click on the cover to order
or to check store stock.
On the 15th of August, every Italian family makes for the hills and celebrates with a big scampagnata! As part of the picnic it is traditional to bring a 'pastone', a crumbly flaky pastry stuffed with ricotta and spicy Italian sausage, a sort of majestic ham and egg pie.
2 × 250g packets frozen puff pastry
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
For the filling
4 large free-range eggs plus 2 egg yolks
250g ricotta or cottage cheese
100g Parmigiano Reggiano, freshly grated
Sea salt and black pepper
200g spicy Italian sausage, skinned and chopped
2 fresh bay leaves, broken into 4 pieces
- Beat the eggs lightly with a fork, crumble the ricotta into them and cream them together
- Fold in the grated Parmigiano Reggiano and season the mixture well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas Mark 7
- Lightly grease an oblong tin, about 31 × 21cm and 3cm deep
- Roll out one of the sheets of puff pastry and line the tin, rolling it thin enough to fall slightly over the edge of the tin
- Roll out the other sheet of pastry to make a topping for the pie
- Fill the pie with half the mixture, and sprinkle the chopped Italian sausage on top
- Lay the two egg yolks on to the mixture, one on each side of the pie
- Scatter the pieces of bay leaf over, then add the rest of the ricotta mixture, spreading it evenly
- Cover the pie with the second pastry sheet, brush the edges with the egg whites and pinch the pastry all around, sealing it well; brush the top of the pastry with the rest of the egg white
- Score the top of the pie with a diagonal design, making a couple of holes in the pastry to let the steam escape
- Bake the pie in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes until it is lightly browned
- When the pastry is browned and crispy on top, take the pie from the oven, use a knife to loosen round the edges, and invert the pie on to a wire rack; tip the pie cooked side down back into the tin, so the base is now on top, and return it to the oven for another 20 minutes or so to let the bottom brown
- Cool the pie on a wire rack and eat it warm or cold