Of the various Christian holidays, the one children most eagerly await today is certainly Christmas. This hasn't always been the case, however. At least not in Italy, in large part because Christmas only became a materialistic giftfest relatively recently -- when I was a child it was still an occasion for family reunions, while children received simple gifts on Epiphany, from the Befana. Then, Easter was something to get much more excited about: Among other things it marked the end of Lent (which was observed to a much greater degree then than it is now), and all sorts of delights that had been banished for 40 days suddenly reappeared. Moreover, Easter brings to a close the three most important days of the Catholic year -- days of prayer and fasting, which were also marked by the marvelous smells of the preparations for Easter dinner. In Roman homes pizza ricresciuta would glow on the dining room table, awaiting the blessing of the priest, but nobody was allowed to taste. Small wonder children greeted Easter morning with joy!
Livio Jannattoni also remembers getting thoroughly soaked with holy water when the priest blessed the home, and his grandmother Teresa chortling with glee as he dripped. In La Cucina romana e del Lazio he suggests:
- Antipasti Misti -- Italian cold cuts, pickled vegetables, pickled fish, and whatever else suits your fancy.
- Brodetto Pasquale -- A broth-based Easter soup thickened with egg
- Fettuccine -- Seasoned with some of the sauce from the stew listed below
- Stewed Meat -- Served with carciofi or funghi trifolati (use the technique given for funghi trifolati for either vegetable)
- Boiled Meat-- The meat used to make the brodetto pasquale, with sautéed chicory (replace the spinach called for in the recipe with chicory)
- Roast Kid -- Served with baby potatoes
- Abbacchio Brodettato -- Kid in a lemon sauce, with artichokes (carciofi alla giudia work especially well) .
- Puntarelle -- A chicory salad with a hearty garlicky sauce.
- Pizza Ricresciuta -- A sweet pizza with ricotta and cinnamon.
- Colomba Pasquale -- An Easter Dove, a traditional cake.
- Fresh Fruit -- Whatever is in season and perfectly ripe
- Coffee & After Dinner Drinks
Other Eastery Things
- La Pasqua Napoletana
Neapolitan Easter recipes.
- Carciofi Alla
Rosemary learned how to love (and stuff) artichokes from the vendors in Rome's markets.
The Tuscan Jerusalem, a beautiful Tuscan town with a flourishing Jewish community until the War. The site discusses history, foods and wines.
Got more sites / recipes to suggest? Let me know!
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