If you are having the family over for Easter, you might want to try some Italian recipes for Easter dinner.
Italian Recipes for Easter
When you start to talk about Italian recipes for Easter, you are opening the door to a very diverse menu. Yes, there are some foods that are common throughout Italy but each dish is made a different way and called by a different name in each region. A prime example of this would be the Easter Pie.
The observation of Lent in Italy means six weeks of fasting in one form or another. Usually when observing Lent, you would forgo the partaking of something that you enjoy: meat or wine are typical examples. Easter Sunday is the end of Lent and time to go back to enjoying whatever it was that you gave up. Since meat is the most common thing to abstain from during Lent, Easter dinner most often has some kind of meat, usually lamb or goat.
Easter Pie is a rich pie made with meat, eggs, and cheese and is a delicious way to end your fast. Easter pie goes by many names. Torta pasqualina, pizza rustica, and pizza chiene are just a few examples. All Easter pies start with a light and flaky piecrust and all have some kind of meat in them, but each one will differ depending on the region the family lives in. Local sausages and cheese would be the most common ingredients in the pie.
When I'm making a pie crust, I almost always use the recipe that I gave in my Caramelized banana custard pie recipe. But it was pointed out to me that not everybody has a kitchen scale, although they should, and not everybody keeps pastry flour in their kitchen, which I understand because not everybody makes pastry on a regular basis. So for those of you who are not Mad Bakers, here is a good, basic piecrust recipe.
Pie Crust Recipe
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- ½ cup shortening
- 1 stick of butter cut into ¼ inch cubes and chilled
- 2 eggs beaten
- 3 tablespoons of ice water
- Mix the flour and salt.
- Using a fork, cut the shortening and butter into the flour until the dough looks like large crumbs that are about the size of a peas.
- Add the beaten eggs.
- Mix until your dough is soft.
- Squeeze some of the dough between your fingers.
- If it holds together and does not feel dry, you are good to go.
- Otherwise, if it feels dry add some of the ice water.
- Separate one third of the dough from the rest of the dough.
- Form both parts of the dough into disks about an inch thick, one disk for each part.
- Wrap the dough disks separately in plastic wrap and let them rest in your refrigerator overnight. If overnight isn't an option, refrigerate the dough for no less than an hour.
- 8 ounces of Italian sausage removed from the casing
- 3 eggs beaten
- 1 cup of grated Romano cheese
- 2 pounds of ricotta cheese
- 8 ounces of mozzarella cheese, diced
- 4 ounces of prosciutto, diced
- 4 ounces of cooked ham, diced
- 4 ounces sopressata or any other hard salami, diced
- Brown the sausage over a medium heat.
- Remove the meat from the pan using a slotted spoon to separate the meat from the fat.
- Chop the meat until it is in small pieces.
- Beat together the eggs and the romano cheese.
- Add the ricotta, sausage, mozzarella, chopped ham, and salami.
- Mix until fully incorporated.
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
- On a floured board, roll out the large dough disk until it is a 14-inch circle.
- Roll the dough around your rolling pin and transfer it to a 9-inch spring form pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.
- Carefully press the dough into the pan so that it is fitted to the pan.
- Pour the filling into the pie.
- Roll out the smaller dough disk until it is 9 inches across.
- Cut the dough into ½ inch wide strips.
- Place the strips one inch apart across the top of the pie.
- Turn the pie one-quarter turn and place the remaining strips across the pie top.
- This should look like a lattice top.
- Pinch the top and the bottom dough together to seal the pie.
- Brush the dough with a well-beaten egg.
- Bake the pie for an hour to an hour and a half until the crust is golden brown and the filling has puffed up.
- Remove the pie from the oven and let it cool for at least ten minuets.
- Once the pan is cool enough to touch, remove the pan from the pie.
- Serve warm.