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trillium

Passover & Easter in Italy: Foods & Traditions

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And hopefully recipes?

A few years ago I did a Roman meal with roast suckling lamb and carciofi romani, amongst other things. This year is going to be with a group with many different nationalities (French, Australian, Singaporean, and USian) but we've chosen Italian food as the order of the evening. I'm hoping to hear about favorites to inspire me in my choices this year. I'd like to make a nice minestra verde, but I tried one just by winging it last week and was very disappointed.

regards,

trillium

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Are there any Italians living in Italy in this forum??? I guess not.

Trillium, how did you make the minestra, and why were you disappointed? The traditional recipe calls for 3 or 4 different kinds of meat, as a relief from the lenten fast, but nowadays most Italians will make a lighter version. I'm making a veal broth with escarole and home-made meat filled tortellini, and even the tortellinini is a bit of overkill. :smile:

Have you decided on lamb or pork or something else or??? Either would be traditional. I'm making both, because of the amount of guests and fussy appetites - roasted stuffed leg of lamb with mint pesto, and pork loin cooked in milk (stovetop preparation). Also peas sauteed with mushrooms and tiny onions and two kinds of potato - English roasted and panzarotti (Neapolitan potato croquettes). Artichokes will be part of the antipasti.

Do you want a savoury torta like potato or a dolci like grain or fruit pie? Another tradition would be pizza rustica - a savoury cheese egg and meat filled torta presented as part of the antipasti (or right after midnight in my family).

Happy to write up and post any recipes if you are interested. Have fun.

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I tried to make an all green minestra, without a lot of meat. I ate a really good one in Roma but I'm hazy on the details. I used peeled fresh fava beans, artichokes, and cress. I added 1/4 c of carnaroli rice and a light chicken broth as a base. I used a small amount of garlic and some scallions. I didn't like it because the texture ended up being too monotonous and the flavor too muddled. Maybe I should just stick to one veggie to start with?

regards,

trillium

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I tried to make an all green minestra, without a lot of meat.  I ate a really good one in Roma but I'm hazy on the details.  I used peeled fresh fava beans, artichokes, and cress.  I added 1/4 c of carnaroli rice and a light chicken broth as a base.  I used a small amount of garlic and some scallions.  I didn't like it because the texture ended up being too monotonous and the flavor too muddled.  Maybe I should just stick to one veggie to start with?

regards,

trillium

From your description, it sounds like you are talking about Vignarola, a Roman style vegetable stew, usually with artichokes, peas, and fava beans. There are quite a few variations, though.

I know what you mean about muddled flavour. When I make something like this and want a brighter taste that accentuates each vegetable, rather than a stew type dish, I cook each veggie separately, and then add them to a light broth. For Vignarola, I usually use artichokes, peas, fava, and baby spinach, added to a chicken or roasted vegetable broth after cooking each separately, and then sprinkle on scallions and mint (or other fresh herb if you're mint phobic) as garnish. Pancetta or guanciale can be added too if that flavour dimension is desired.

Edit: Forgot to mention lemon, either in the broth, or the zest chopped fine as garnish. Also, eggs can be added to the broth as a straciatelle - I always do it like this when I make it as a strictly vegetarian dish.


Edited by The Camille (log)

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I know what you mean about muddled flavour. When I make something like this and want a brighter taste that accentuates each vegetable, rather than a stew type dish, I cook each veggie separately, and then add them to a light broth. For Vignarola, I usually use artichokes, peas, fava, and baby spinach, added to a chicken or roasted vegetable broth after cooking each separately, and then sprinkle on scallions and mint (or other fresh herb if you're mint phobic) as garnish. Pancetta or guanciale can be added too if that flavour dimension is desired.

Edit: Forgot to mention lemon, either in the broth, or the zest chopped fine as garnish. Also, eggs can be added to the broth as a straciatelle - I always do it like this when I make it as a strictly vegetarian dish.

What a good idea, and obvious too! Just not obvious to me. I had sauteed the artichokes in olive oil and they had this great taste and then poof! disappeared into the muddle of the mix and the fava beans were more done then I liked too. When you pre-cook the veggies do you stop them before they're completely done, and then finish in the soup, or just barely warm them in the soup?

I like the mint and lemon garnish idea too, thank you.

regards,

trillium

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When you pre-cook the veggies do you stop them before they're completely done, and then finish in the soup, or just barely warm them in the soup?

I'll warm them together in a saute or braise, just prior to serving, and then plate them and pour the hot broth over. Heating them in a lot of broth for a (relatively) short time, after the initial saute, doesn't seem to enhance either the taste of the vegetables or the broth, so why do it? This is in no way traditional, and a better cook might do it differently. It's just easier for me to control the taste and texture this way, and less stressful to keep it ready to go when I'm in the kitchen with a lot of other dishes working at the same time.

Theoretically, there's a magical flavour-meld that occurs with long slow cooking, but I haven't managed it with this one yet.

Have a wonderful holiday.

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It has always been my general understanding that Easter is the most serious food holiday for Italians and Italian-Americans, even more than Christmas.

I plan on going to the Bronx tomorrow to see if there's anything special in the offering. What kinds of things should I be looking for, and what are the special dishes prepared during Easter?


Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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Easter lunch is the focal part of the Easter Holiday in Italy. There are more 'traditional' meals than there are regions. The one constant dish, like so many other places, is lamb. The regular lamb or agnello, sold by the butchers is excellent and would normally be roasted with herbs of the region, there are also many braised recipes - sometimes with milk.

However the pinnacle of Easter dining would be to serve agnello da latte also called abbacchio both which refer to suckling lamb. Italians define this as a lamb of less than 2 months old, probably less than 20 pounds that has only been milkfed. This is some of the sweetest and most delicate meat you will ever taste. In good Italian tradition no edible part of the animal is wasted.

My father-in-law loves to cook for holidays and pulls out all the stops. Last Easter went like this:

>Antipasti: 3 types of salami, prosciutto cotto, prosciutto crudo, speck, lardo, bresaola, insalata russia, anchovies

>Primo 1: tagliatelle with fresh spring peas and carrots

>Primo 2: Risotto con Funghi

>Secondo 1: Branzino (sea bass) sauteed with sage

>Secondo 2: Lamb roasted with rosemary

Formaggi: 3 or 4 different cheeses

Dolce: Columba (a cake similar to a panatone but flat and in the shape of a dove)

The Monday after Easter, Pasquetta, is a holiday too and everyone goes on picnics. For some reason none of the leftovers ever seem to show up at the picnics.

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The Pizza Rustica -- is that strictly an Italian-American thing to prepare during easter or is that a tradition in Italy as well?

Never seen it - but we live in Lombardia. I believe in the south of Italy there are some traditional Easter Monday type pizze. It is possible.

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The Pizza Rustica -- is that strictly an Italian-American thing to prepare during easter or is that a tradition in Italy as well?

Never seen it - but we live in Lombardia. I believe in the south of Italy there are some traditional Easter Monday type pizze. It is possible.

In the NYC/New Jersey metro area, there is a type of pie -- which they call Pizza Rustica -- that is essentially a very thick quiche-like thing containing chopped up salumi, ricotta, eggs and other cheeses, with a pizza dough like crust. I am wondering if that thing is stictly Italian-American or if it is prepared somewhere in Italy. Perhaps Sicily or Naples.


Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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I have found several references to it as a traditional Easter dish of Naples. However there are almost no references to it in Italian on Google. Never been to Naples on Easter - family obligations you know.

San Felese Easter pie

I just sent some e-mails to friends down there to see if I can find out anything more.

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Ive never seen anything like that before...Are they really good?

Also, curious, How much do they cost?

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I will be in Firenze for Easter Weekend (Saturday night through Easter Monday) and I'm wondering whether it will be difficult to find open restaurants on Easter itself and the Monday after... I've been trying to track down any friends in the area to crash their Easter lunch, but, alas, have had no luck thus far. Any suggestions?

I've also heard of a Florentine Easter tradition that takes place after noon mass in the center of the city involving fireworks, two white oxen and a mechanical dove... Any truth to that?

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We managed to find a restaurant in Arezzo open on Easter Sunday: Osteria dei Mercati.

From the card: PIAZZAETTA SOPRA I PONTI

(sotto i portici di Via Roma)

Chiusura Domenicale

Aperto la domenica della Fiera dell'Antiquariato

• Saletta non fumatori

• Terrazza Estiva

Osteria dei Mercati

Do NOT miss their chocolate house dessert. It was one of the best meals we had in Italy: just simple but perfect family fare. Enjoy!

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ella, the festival you are asking about is called scoppio del carro (explosion of the cart) and is held every easter sunday in the piazza del duomo. here's a link to a page which will give you a bit of history, but if you put "scoppio del caro" or "explosion of the cart" into google, a ton of results will pop up.

having learned about it in an italian class i took, i have always wanted to see it but never have been in florence for easter. i hope you enjoy it.

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important to know.. most Italians make lunch the big meal,.. around 1pm.

Easter Monday is also a holiday here.. there is an antique fair in Greve in Chianti.

The Scoppio del Carro is fun, the Carro is called Brindellone and is kept in a secret GARAGE, near the Hotel Villa dei Medici.. my dream is to watch it being brought to the Piazza del Duomo.. I love Parades!

As soon as you arrive, make your reservations. tell me where you are staying and I will be glad to recommend somewhere nearby!

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Hi,

We are also going to be in Firenze on Easter Sunday although we have a train back to Rome at 15:29. Do you know whether we have enough time to eat lunch and get back to the station in time for our train ?

We are staying in the Hotel Alessandra which is at Apostoli 17, Borgo SS, between Via dei Tornabuoni and Via Por Santa Maria, Near Piazza Santa Trínita.

Can anyone recommend any other restaurants ? In addition what are the typical dishes in an Italian Easter Sunday meal ?

Thanks,

Rick

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lunch is usually at 1pm..

LAMB!!!

it is young milkfed lamb, grilled, roasted, fried chops and fried artichokes are my favorite!

Tell them you need to be out to get a train,, but fast service isn't one of Italy's strong points!

I would look at places near you.. Trattoria del Armando, il Profeta are on Borgo SS Apostoli

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In April 2006, some of us are cooking meals that reflect regional traditions of Lazio.

Since Rome is at the nexus of much Jewish cooking in Italy, I thought there might be some interest in exploring the way Italians prepare for Seder.

Second, this month Lynne Rossetto Kasper provides an Easter menu in Gourmet that reflects the cooking of Emilia-Romagna.

Any culinary recollections of these two holidays in Italy or if relevant, your family, are welcome. Please share knowledge, recipes or documentation of one's own cooking.


Edited by Pontormo (log)

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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