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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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