Italian Easter Rice & Ricotta Pie

Torta di Ricotta e Riso

Ricotta is typically made from the whey of mozzarella, provolone, and other cheeses in Italy. It is made from sheep’s, goat, buffalo and cows milk whey. It is a sweeter, dryer cheese then the version made in the US, which is made of cow’s milk. It is lighter and is naturally low in fat. Used in many dishes in Italy such as cassata, biscotti, pizza, and pasta i.e. lasagna and ravioli, Ricotta is the favored cheese in Easter dishes in Italy. Calzone, Pizza Rustico, cassata, torta di riso, cannoli are made in every household on Easter.

Torta di Ricotta e riso is an Easter specialty in my family. Some might call this a calzone or pizzagaina, but we call it a torta or pie. If you are a vegetarian this torta is the original recipe and requires no adjustments as it contains only rice and ricotta. I have added a little lemon zest to the original recipe. This happened by mistake one Easter as I had in my mind another of our Easter recipes and mistakenly add the zest. I really liked it and kept it in my torta recipe. You can use orange zest also, which goes very well with Ricotta. We also make a pizza rustico, ravioli and a torta de formaggio or Italian Ricotta cheesecake.

Torta di Ricotta e Riso makes an impressive luncheon dish.

Recipe Summary
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 30-40 minutes @ 350 degrees
Yield: 4 loaves. 8-2” slices per loaf

7 cups flour
2 eggs (allow them to come to room temperature)
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoons shortening
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup warm to mix as needed

2 lbs. whole milk ricotta
1 1/2 cups cooked long grain rice
4 eggs
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest (optional)

Egg Wash
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon water

Dough in a food processor
Make the dough by mixing the eggs, and flour, baking powder, shortening and salt in a food processor using the dough utensil. Add the water slowly and allow the dough to form a ball. Remove it to a board and knead it for 15 minutes until it becomes smooth. Cover it with plastic wrap or with a clean kitchen towel.

By Hand
Put the flour on a board and make a well in the middle. Add shortening and salt and baking powder. Put the eggs in the middle and using a folk, begin to bring the flour into the well until you have all the mixture and flour blended into ball. If you need to add water, do so but only a little at a time. Knead and set-aside covered with a cloth or plastic wrap.

Cook the rice for about 20 minutes until done and allow it to cool. While the rice is cooking prepare the ricotta mixture. Mix the ricotta, eggs, and lemon zest (zest is optional) and salt. Combine the rice after it has cooled with the ricotta mixture.

Roll the dough out to a 12”x 8” oblong shape. Place the filling in the middle and fold the dough over the filling in an envelope shape. Crimp the edges by folding the dough over one section at a time starting at one end. Brush with an egg wash (egg yolk and 1 tablespoon of water beaten together) and bake until golden brown. Cool before cutting the torta.


~ by Patricia Turo on February 13, 2010.

7 Responses to “Italian Easter Rice & Ricotta Pie”

  1. Amazing filling, not familiar with this one in our family but sounds heavenly and looks even better…never thought about rice as a filling thanks for sharing, everything you make is fantastic, and the cookies are to die for as it brings back many fond memories of my long since past grandparents and mom, thanks for bringing me back those great memories~


  2. By the way check out a new site we are on, would love to have you join us and add your recipes there.


  3. This is a new one for me too but I’m sure it’s delicious.

    For Easter, we do Pizza Rustica (with meats + cheeses) and our Pizzagaina which is sweet wheat pie (with chocolate chips, not fruit).


    • This is the greatest thing about food blogs, you learn about others recipes. I just got a comment from someone who had a recipe for an Easter bread that my grandmother made all the time and we lost the recipe. Great Easter present!

      Have a nice Easter!


  4. This is not new for me I grew up in South Philly my Great grandmother made this along with Ham Pie the rice was my Fav. This is exactly how it looked and hopefully tastes. She was from Sessa Celento Italia Thanks for Bringing a Great Memory back



  5. I have been looking for this recipe for years. It’s exactly the recipe
    that my grandmother made. She was from Calabria.
    This was always my favorite Easter treat.



  6. Reblogged this on Piacere – Food & Travel without rules!.


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: