Pasqua (Easter) is celebrated all over Italy. We do have a chocolate Uovo di Pasqua (Easter egg) that is hollow and filled with toys but no Easter Bunny. The egg is more symbolic of pagan Spring-rebirth- new life- all that marks the beginning of the season. Once we came to the US, we did get our Easter baskets from the Easter bunny and painted our eggs and filled our plastic eggs with money for our egg hunt. Our Southern Italian Food Traditions stayed intact and every year made our Easter goodies. As children, we abstained from meat from Good Friday until Sunday after church service--to commemorate the Resurrection. We handled meat and savories while we cooked these food-- which made it all the more tempting but could not eat them. As you would expect they tasted all the more delicious after such a fast! Nowadays, we are less practicing Catholics, as we are mostly devoted Italians, so church has gone but the food remains the same.
Video of our Southern Italian Savory Pies & Breads!
Here is our Easter Menu and I have asked my favorite wine expert Rob Cittadino of Vinvino Wine Co, to do the honors of choosing the wine for this menu:
(Remember he also did wine pairings for my Italian Christmas Lecture La Vigilia here!)
on Prosciutto Di Parma (aged 24 mon.), Mortadella and Testa with Grilled Olive Bread (Blue Ribbon Bakery)
Wine Pairing: Vernaccia di San Gimignano, Teruzzi e Puthod, Toscana. One of only a few wines that pairs well with artichoke
Primo: Homemade Lasagna (made with meatballs and ricotta fresca)
Wine pairing: Nero d'Avola, Baglio di Pianetto, Sicilia. This one from Noto, Siracusa is juicy and rustic yet elegant enough not to weigh you down so you have room for what lies ahead
Secondi: Neapolitan Meatballs and Oxtail Ragu
Wine pairing:Taurasi aglianico, Feudi di San Gregorio. Firm tannins, dark cherry, leather and espresso notes. Power and grace. If the ox was gonna eat his own tail, this is the wine he'd want!
Secondi: Roasted Lamb Shank with Oregano and Yogurt-Dill dip
Wine pairing: "Rosso Mattone" rosso di Montefalco( sangiovese, syrah, sagrantino) or "Vitruvio" single vineyard 100% Sagrantino di Montefalco, Cantina Briziarelli, Umbria. Next to aglianico, the ultimate lamb wine. Tarry, tannic, beast.
Savory Easter Breads and Pies Trio
Pizza Rustica (Easter pie) baked with eggs, Hard salami, pancetta and provolone
Wine pairing: "Terre Bianche" Turbato, Sella e Mosca, Sardegna. Partially oaked full bodied white that is sturdy enough to stand up to the salami without overpowering the eggs. (Sella e Mosca is last estate to grow this almost extinct varietal.)
Escarole Pie with Sardines and Kalamata olives
Tortaniello (Lard bread with cheese and various salumi)
Wine pairing: At this point someone has broken out the deck of cards and we're grazing while we play a few hands and enjoy glass after glass of Andrea Oberto's barbera d'Alba. Aged in 2nd and 3rd passage barrique it's the right combination juicy acidity and spice and sooo easy drinking.
Dessert: Pastiera (Farro- wheat berry pie)
Wine pairing: Marchesi di Barolo's "Zagara" moscato d'Asti, Piemonte or the more complex Fiano Passito of Luigi Maffini from the ancient Greek ruins of Paestum, Salerno.
Easter Pie Ingredients
Pizza Rustica (Easter Pie)