Updated: Apr 5
This recipe is as close to my family’s version as I could get! After visiting my zia last Easter, I realised her ‘Rice Pizza’ (as Nonna called it) is quite different to the more popular shortcrust pastry Pastiera di Riso or Napoletana style. Now I have 2 classic recipes for you to enjoy. This has a soft dough with a golden eggy thick rice filling. An Easter recipe that celebrates tradition and vegan cuisine!
The hallmarks of this version is its yellow hue from the eggs, thick filling and soft pastry - it merges with the rice like a lover! Instead of a shortcrust flaky pastry, we use a dough that is almost like pasta in softness. For the eggs, chickpea flour is the perfect alternative to create vegan eggs for binding, along with turmeric to yellow and a dash of kala namak which provides the eggy flavour. Kala namak is optional though, as it is a very subtle flavour once cooked. The oil and butter is to add the fat element that eggs and ricotta bring. For the ricotta, we blend extra firm tofu until smooth.
In our family, Rice Pizza would be made triple the size of this recipe - as Nonna would cook enough to feed the masses. I have many memories of a big tray arriving at Easter on our kitchen bench as if by magic. Of course, it was Nonna busy cooking up a storm and generously gifting us a whole Rice Pizza. Every Easter. Dad loved it so much, he taught himself how to make it, so he could eat it throughout the year! You too can make this any time you crave it.
If you do make this, allow it to rest overnight before serving. I can’t stress how much better the texture and flavour is. Rice Pizza really shines when you enjoy it the next day.
If you'd like to see my other version, Pastiera di Riso - recipe here.
PIZZA DI RISO - NONNA'S EASTER RICE PIE
¼ cup chickpea ‘eggs’ (2 tablespoons chickpea flour whisked with ¼ cup water + 2 tablespoons neutral oil)
1 tablespoon vegan margarine/butter (room temperature)
dash of turmeric
2 cups plain flour (all purpose)
200g extra firm tofu
¼ cup soy milk
2 tablespoons neutral flavoured oil
1 cup arborio or carnaroli rice
¾ cup of sugar
½ cup chickpea ‘eggs’ (4 tablespoons chickpea flour, a dash of turmeric whisked with ½ cup water)
zest of 1 lemon or orange
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon neutral flavoured oil
½ teaspoon kala namak (optional)
Pour the chickpea eggs into a large bowl. Whisk in the margarine. If the margarine is soft it will dissolve in the liquid. A few streaks are okay. Add the turmeric, and the flour a little at a time. Add extra dashes of water as needed. Combine until you have a soft dough. Knead for about 5 minutes. Cover and set aside to rest.
Tofu ricotta Add the tofu, milk and oil to a small food processor or blender. Process until smooth and creamy.
In a large pot, boil the rice in approximately 500 ml of water. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the rice is plump yet slightly al dente and the water is mostly absorbed. You may have to add a splash more water along the way to prevent it from sticking. Take off the heat.
Transfer the cooked rice into a large bowl. Stir through the sugar, prepared tofu ricotta, chickpea eggs, zest, vanilla, oil and kala namak (if using) until combined. It should be quite a wet mixture. However it will thicken as it cools.
Preheat oven to 180C.
Grease a cake pan or pie dish. Whatever shape you like. This time I used a 20 cm square tin - with a little dough and filling leftover.
Divide the dough into pieces and roll pastry into thin sheets, approximately 2mm thick. You can do this by hand or with a pasta machine, ensuring you dust with flour as you go, to prevent it from sticking.
Line your pan with the pastry sheets, in single layers.
Pour in the rice filling. You may either top with strips of pastry or with another sheet of dough to cover.
Brush the top layer of dough with soy milk.
Cook for approximately 45 minutes until golden brown and the rice has formed a crust.
Allow to cool completely before serving.
IMPORTANT NOTE: This is seriously best served the next day - the texture improves a hundred fold. If you have some patience, you will be rewarded!