An Italian Easter lunch

By April 16, 2014Blog, recipes

Easter (Pasqua) is one of my favorite celebrations. The weather is often lovely as it falls in either spring or autumn (depending on which hemisphere you are in) and there is a seasonal change in fruit and vegetables available. It is all about birth, growth, celebration …..and feasting of course. This will be the third Easter without my dear papa’ and it is at these times of family celebration that I miss him most. I like to remember him in his prime, even in his early 80s, he would say things like “mi sento come un leone” (I feel like a lion). We traditionally had an Easter lunch at my sister’s large rambling inner city home. The menu was not traditional Easter fare, but it was celebratory with an impeccable matching wine list, from my brother-in-law’s extensive collection. And papà really loved those family feasts. This year will be a smaller celebration, at my house, and this is what I plan to cook:

First course – Tortellini in brodo
I love starting off with a traditional chicken brodo. This rich broth (which I have been known to call “liquid gold”) is made with a whole organic chicken. I will be making some tortellini either with peas and pancetta or with a simple ricotta filling. For my daughter who eats gluten free, I will be using the little elbows in place of the tortellini from the new Barilla GF pasta range. I was sent some samples the other week and I am impressed with the texture.

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Main course – Pollo ripieno con timo e limone
A whole chicken means celebration in my family. I always buy free range chickens, organic if possible. They might cost a bit more but they taste so much better and I like to think our celebratory meal is based around a happy chook, that ran around a farm. This dish is so easy and uses up those excess lemons you might have on your tree. I plan to serve the chicken with roast potatoes on the side and a giant green salad. The link to. the recipe is here.

chicken with ldemon and thyme

Dessert – Crostata con cioccolato e nocciole.
This chocolate and hazelnut tart with orange zest through the base and filling is not a traditional Easter cake but it is so delicious. I have been making one of these every weekend for a few weeks now – Easter seems like a good enough reason to make another one. The link is here.

hazelnut chocolate tart- italy on my mind

With coffee – Crostoli.
An Easter celebration would not be complete without mamma’s crostoli. They are crisp, light and delicious. She used to bring a giant bag of them to family celebrations, and the grandchildren couldn’t wait for her to lay them out and dust them with icing sugar. Now that she has given me her pasta machine, it is up to me to make them for family celebrations. Her recipe is here

Livia's crostoli

Before I sign off I would like to announce the winners of the Instagram competition I was running. Two winners will be receiving a copy of the new Nicky Pellegrino novel “Food of Love Cookery School”, set in a cooking school in Sicily, in the mail. Lisa and Alfredo LaSpina who run the Sicilian restaurant Bar Idda kindly agreed to pick the winners. In keeping with the theme of a photo that captures “food, love, friendship, Italy”, they selected these two winners:

– Marina Russo – for the picture of taking her papa’ out to lunch. Lisa and Alfredo loved this gesture and said they wanted Marina to adopt them.
– Cait Di Martino – for having a family dinner with her roommates. Lisa and Alfredo said they lived in a lot of share houses in their time so they loved Cait’s photo.

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Congratulations to both ladies for their photos that best caught the essence of food, love, friends and Italy! Thank you to all Instagrammers who entered, to Lisa and Alfredo for judging and lastly to Nicky for sending me two copies of her novel to give away!

And on that note, Buona Pasqua a tutti!. Happy Easter to you and your families xx

17 Comments

  • Lyn says:

    Buona Pasqua

  • Lovely memories, lovely menu. Buona Pasqua Paola. xx

  • Joanne OMara says:

    yum!!!I. want to eat some of that tart!!!!Maybe we can catch up over Easter. I am off from today. a dear colleague’s son died 22…tragic and unimaginable…funeral today. she lives just near you in falconer. Se you soon, Jo

  • jenny gruenhut says:

    Dear Paula,
    yum!
    Thank you for the continuing wonderful memories of Italy, your family and amazing food.
    I so remember your mamma’s unforgettable crostoli from year’s ago – every time I eat crostoli now I think of the wonderful parties from that time – and whether they measure up to the taste and crispiness of your mamma’s (which they very rarely do)!

    cia

    • Thanks for your kind words Jenny – I am so happy you remember mamma’s Crostoli and you share that memory! I will always remember this pie your mother used to make (maybe with salmon?) in a long narrow mould (maybe shaped like a fish?) – do you know the one I mean? It was so unlike anything my mother made – and I loved it!! xx

  • Lynda says:

    I was just thinking how I needed to revisit your recipe for crostoli! (the reason I found your blog in the beginning) Looks like a lovely menu. Happy Easter!

  • I feel home here, definitely! You could’t find a better menu for you Easter lunch! Tortellini in brodo represent to me the most significant taste of home! thanks for sharing!

  • Lucy says:

    Even though I’m a vegetarian, I would love a place at your table on Easter Sunday! I’m glad to read that you use free-range, organic meat (I think I might possibly go back to occasional meat eating in the future and this is the kind of thing I’d buy as well!) I can practically taste the things you’re cooking, the photos and descriptions are so good! Yum yum yum xxx
    La Lingua : Food, Life, Love, Travel, Friends, Italy

  • bakeritalia says:

    I’m sure it will be a wonderful, Buona Pasqua! I’m still not sure what to cook…mind you all the lamb has just come into the supermarket so I have a feeling the bbq will be brought out!

  • Happy Easter…thank you for sharing your delicious looking soup. I swear I can taste it just by looking at it. Also, love hearing your stories about your family!

  • Che buona!!!!! Buona Pasqua 🙂

  • C4momile says:

    Buona Pasqua from Italy. It seems, in Australia, we celebrate Easter more traditionally than I have observed here. I was so surprised to see business as usual on Good Friday. You wouldn’t even know Easter was upon us.
    Looking forward to finding a nice restaurant on Bologna to celebrate as the locals do.

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