Holidays in Italy mean one thing: a whole heck of a lot of food. (Even normal weekends entail this, so just imagine a holiday!) Today being Easter, I knew that I was going to have plenty of fodder for an excellent edition of the ongoing Sunday Lunch Chronicles. Coming out of my food coma, finally, I feel like I can write. (Well, we’ll see about that!)
Our epic Easter meal started off with pasta al forno. Talk about baked ziti on steroids folks! It is basically your classic baked ziti, with a bit of this and that thrown in. Parmesan cheese, provola cheese, tiny meat balls, shredded meat and hard boiled egg…Yes, hard boiled egg. It is definitely a dish that we enjoy once in a blue moon, but when we do…Umm, we have seconds?
The meat dish was capretto baked with potatoes and peas. (This is where I can go off on a nice tangent. When I speak or listen in Italian, it’s sometimes like stuff doesn’t quite register in my mind correctly in English. For example, challenge me to translate the word sfizio and I’ll tell you to grab a dictionary because I just don’t know. So when I heard we were having capretto, I was happy because we had it a while back and it was delicious. Where is the tangent leading to?) I just didn’t put two and two together to realize capretto is kid- ya’ know baby goat. I also had a half of a sausage from the ragu that was used for the pasta al forno.
Time to stop? Oh no, that would be a travesty! We each had a small slice of warm casatiello. If you haven’t been following along for a while, this post here will fill you in on what the hell a casatiello is. (Hint: Lardohydrate.) You won’t find a single table here in Naples without a casatiello or two.
We finished off the meal, naturally, with enough sugar to send us over the edge. There were the same pastries we get every weekend. Once again they were from Leopoldo, and once again I had the Oreo-inspired dessert. I wasn’t quite as wowed as I was last weekend for some reason, though.
Then, we went for THE easter dessert in Naples: the pastiera. Some love it, some hate it, but everyone has a piece of it on Easter. (Yes, even those that hate it!) The base is basically like a sugar cookie crust, but the filling is where things get interesting. You mix candied citrus peels, cinnamon, vanilla and orange flower water into a batter of ricotta cheese, egg, cooked wheat grains and lots of sugar. The whole thing is then baked to perfection. It sounds sort of weird, and it kind of is weird….LY DELICIOUS! I’ve also decided it is humanly impossible to have more than one slice of this cake for dessert, even if you really want seconds!
Well, that was it! Oh, who am I kidding, that was a ton of food! And guess what? Italians have a lovely tradition of making Easter Monday a holiday! Here it is called Pasquetta or “Little Easter” if you want to literally translate that. (Sure sounds better than calling it Dyngus Day, now doesn’t it?) Most Italians like to head out to the country or the seaside, if weather permits, to enjoy an alfresco lunch. We are staying in the city, but we’ve got a pretty good lunch planned out. I know you want to know more, so check back tomorrow for a full report!!!