Pastizzu or Impanata Noto Style  

 

For Christmas, in the town of Noto, tradition calls for the preparation of a specialty called pastizzu. Pastizzu, or pasticcio in Italian; it refers to a dish composed of various ingredients wrapped in a sheet of pasta dough and cooked in the oven.   

The execution of this dish is mostly left to the discretion of the preparer and, except for the sheet of pasta dough to wrap the  pastizzu, the ingredients used depend on the availability or what the pantry has to offer. The following recipe is for guidance. 

 

Serves 8  

 

     

Pastizzu

   

Ingredients for the Dough 

·        2 lb flour 

·        2 oz fresh active yeast or 3 envelopes of dry yeast 

·        3 tablespoons olive oil 

·        ½ teaspoon sugar 

·        Juice of 1 lemon 

·        Pinch of salt 

·        Water  

  

Or buy 2 lb. of bread dough in your local Italian bakery and work 3 tablespoons of olive oil and the juice of 1 lemon into the dough. 

 

Preparation of the Dough 
In a bowl, mix ½ cup of warm water and the yeast. Add the sugar, ½ cup of flour and mix until it is well blended and a soft dough is formed. If it is too dry, add some water; if it is too watery, add flour. Set aside, covered in a warm place. After 45 minutes to 1 hour combine risen dough with remaining flour, add some lukewarm water, the oil, the lemon juice and a pinch of salt and knead to form an elastic dough similar to bread dough. Make into a ball, cut across the top to allow it to rise, cover and put in a warm place until it almost doubles in size, 1 to 2 hours.
 

    

Ingredients for Filling 

 

 

The Sauce   

·        1 ¼ lb plain sausages without casing 

·        3 tablespoons olive oil 

·        2 small size onion, finely chopped 

·        ½ cup dry red wine 

·        1 14 oz can peeled tomato, chopped 

·        ¼ cup finely chopped Italian parsley 

·        Salt and pepper 

Preparation

In a 4-quart saucepan, over a medium flame, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil with the onions and cook until the onions are translucent. Add sausage meat and sauté until the onions are light golden in color, stirring and breaking up any lumps of meat. Add wine and increase to a high heat to allow the alcohol to quickly evaporate. Lower heat to medium and add tomatoes; salt and pepper to taste. Lower the flame and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Let it rest a few minutes, then skim off any excessive fat, set aside and keep warm.
 

  Cauliflower

The Cauliflower 

·        Florets of a small head of cauliflower, about 1 lb 

·        ½ medium onion, finely minced 

·        2 tablespoons olive oil 

 

Preparation  

Blanch the florets in boiling, salted water for 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.
In a 4-quart saucepan, over a medium flame, heat the olive oil, add the onion and sauté until golden in color. Add cauliflower and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set on the side.
 

  

The Pasta 

·        1 lb pasta, penne or ziti rigate (ridged) 

 

Preparation  

C ook the pasta al dente, reducing the recommended cooking time by 3 minutes.
When pasta is ready, drain, return to the pot where it was cooked and toss with the sauce. Set on the side.

    

The Assembly  

·        12 oz ricotta 

·       1 ½ cups grated Piacentino cheese or your preferred cheese

Preparation 

When dough is ready, split it into 2 pieces. Briefly knead each piece and roll it to cover a greased round springform pan (10 x 2 ½ inches).
Sprinkle half of the cheese in the pasta and pour into pan. Add sautéed cauliflower, spread the ricotta evenly and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
Knead the other piece of dough and, before rolling it, moisten the edges of the pastizzu with water. Place on top of the focaccia and pinch to seal well.

Cut 2 or 3 slits on top to allow the vapor to escape.

 

The Baking 

·        2 tablespoons olive oil 

 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, bake for 15 minutes, remove from oven and wash top of the pastizzu with the olive oil. 


Return to oven for an additional 15 to 20 minutes until light golden brown. 
 

 

Serve it hot!