Pizza Gain – My Italian Family Tradition
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When I was first asked to share an Italian recipe with the readers of My Style Daily, it was hard to narrow down which of the many to share. There are so many recipes that have helped to weave the fabric of my family, figuring out which would be best was really hard. Then it hit me. Pizza Gain. Thanksgiving is coming up and it always makes me think of my mom. You know that saying: “Spread some holiday cheer”? Well, my mom didn’t just spread holiday cheer – she was holiday cheer. And she always kicked off the season with a huge Thanksgiving feast, which included the Capo family recipe Pizza Gain (aka Easter Pizza). Some years we would have 20 people – some years we would have 40. The more, the merrier, was definitely my mom’s motto. If she ever caught wind that there was a friend of ours that didn’t have a place to go for Thanksgiving, she would insist that they come to our house. There was nothing more heartbreaking to my mother, than the thought that someone would be alone on this holiday.
I would wake up each Thanksgiving morning, bleary-eyed, and head down to the kitchen, where there would always be a bubbling pot of sauce and meatballs on the stove. I would then grab a cereal bowl, fill it with sauce and grab a crust of bread to dip in the sauce, and voila – breakfast. After breakfast, it was time to roll up our sleeves and get to making the Pizza Gain. I remember how proud my Grandpa Capo would be when he walked down the stairs and saw me kneading the dough for one of his favorite treats. Once I had mastered the recipe, I continued to make it for my Grandpa every time I could, until he passed away. It has become such a part of my holiday tradition that I can’t get through Christmas without making at least one batch of Pizza Gain – even if I just have to sit there and eat it all myself.
Years later, even though both my mom and Grandpa Capo are no longer here watching over me as I make this year’s batch, I still feel the pride of making this recipe that was handed down to Capo, after Capo, after Capo. It is, of course, rich and sinful, as every good holiday recipe generally tends to be. And if you make it on Thanksgiving, someone will undoubtedly tell you that you made too much food for the number of people attending. But if you made too much food, then in my Mom’s opinion, you did the right thing. As she would always say: “I hope they leave my house happy, but the one thing that they will never say is they left my house hungry.” And if you are wondering how much sugar and spices to add to the sweet version of this recipe, I will leave you with one last quote from my Great Grandmother Gately: “If it tastes good to you, don’t worry about anyone else.”
Capo Pizza Gain
3 cups Flour
1 ½ teaspoons Baking Powder
½ teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Sugar
½ cup Milk
½ cup Vegetable Oil
Filling (Sausage Filling)
1 lb. Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
1 ½ Tablespoons Parsley
¼ cup or to taste Grated Parmesan Cheese
½ lb. Italian Sausage fried and sliced (sweet variety with fennel)
Filling (Sweet Filling)
1 lb. Ricotta Cheese
Sugar, Cinnamon & Nutmeg to taste
For the Dough: Mix sugar, eggs, milk, and oil; then sift in the flour, baking powder and salt. Knead until the dough is soft and smooth. One batch of dough makes enough for two Pizza Gains. I generally will make one Sausage Pizza Gain, and one sweet filling Pizza Gain.
Roll the dough 1/8” thick.
Place filling in the center of the dough; fold and pinch to seal around the filling. It will look like a big calzone. After it is formed, mix 1 egg with ½ cup water and brush the dough. (It will make your finished Pizza Gain nice and shiny).