Sausage pie

Note: This entry is slightly revised from a note I posted on Facebook a few years ago. It was, in fact, the seed from which this blog sprouted.

Sausage pie

As I was growing up, holidays and family gatherings were as significant for the food served as for the actual “reason” driving the get-together.  Easter was no exception.  We would often go out to the cemetery for a sunrise service, then visit my grandfather’s grave before starting the rounds of visiting various relatives.

Easter bread, pastiera, and “sausage pie” were seemingly on the table everywhere we went that day.  The last one was my favorite and I could never get enough.  My mom quizzed my great aunts and cousins for their recipes.  She had to transcribe an oral tradition distilled through years of experience to come up with a written recipe.  I still have the ragged copy she sent me when I was in college so I could make my first attempt at this family tradition.

Well used recipe from Mom

Over the years, I’ve read dozens of variations on this theme known by several different names (pizza rustica, pizza chiena).  One variety uses cubes of Italian lunch meats and cheese in place of the crumbled sausage and I make that every so often.  Still, each spring I make the recipe I got from Mom who got it from her Aunts-in-law and their children.  I don’t know how many of my cousins still make this treat, I hope many.

Easter “Sausage”  Pie


  • 2.5 pounds of flour
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 package of yeast dissolved in warm water (approximately 2/3 to 1 cup)
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ pound butter melted

Mix all ingredients to form soft dough.  Cover and let rise in draft free place (overnight).


  • 2.5 pounds Italian sweet sausage (out of casing)
  • 2.5 pounds Italian hot sausage (out of casing)
  • 3 pounds of ricotta
  • 8 eggs
  • Parsley
  • Grated cheese

Beat eggs and add to ricotta.  Mix in sausage, parsley and grated cheese until well blended.
Roll out dough (NOTE: this is a covered pie. Be sure to reserve dough to roll out and cover once the shell has been filled), fill, cover.  Brush top of pies with beaten egg, prick top to vent.  Back in 400 degree oven for 15 minutes, then lower temp to 375 until done (approximately one hour more).

Yield: 1 8 x 13 pie or 3 really full 8×8 pies.

Buon Pascale!


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5 Responses to “Sausage pie”

  1. Mark Says:

    This is a double crust pie, yes?

    • Jim Carlucci Says:

      Yes. It is. I apologize for not being specific on that. The “hand-me-down” recipe wasn’t either. It was a “given.”

      • Mark Says:

        I was pretty sure it was a double crust. I was thinking of others who might read this.

      • Jim Carlucci Says:

        I should correct that, I guess. On the other hand, “our” version of the pizza chiena (with the cubes of salumi instead of sausage) is usually prepared single crust style. I suppose the “sausage pie” could be done that way. Maybe with more of a pastry crust instead of the yeast dough and prepared in a spring-form pan.

        Would it be heresy to try variations out during the rest of the year?

      • Mark Says:

        Heresy or not, cook on!

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