Tagsafternoon tea bakery baking bbc bloggers cafe cake chefs chocolate christmas comfort food competition cooking cupcake desserts dinner edinburgh experiments finding comfort Food from the tree good things in small packages ingredients italian italy lunch masterchef moderately easy pasta pastry recipe recipes recycle restaurant restaurants reviews scotland scottish soup TFGE themed total food geeks tv vegetables win
Arianna’s Italian Easter Menu
Back from a nice morning in the sun and just about to start planning my forthcoming series of lectures… Yes, I shall be working in one of the Universities in the city for the next fortnight!
Before I did so, I thought I would honour my promise and share my family Easter menu traditions. On Easter Sunday, lunch is the mainstay of the day… and again, what we prepare bears witness to the fact that my household is a mix, as it where. Whereas my Dad’s family is Roman through and through, my Mum, despite being born in the city, still cooks many of the dishes that are typical of her parents’ region, Sardinia. This is well reflected in her offerings to the table at Easter: Sardinia being an island of peasants and sheep-herding, lamb is a key staple… and since we live in central Italy we cannot simply do without globe artichokes from the Lazio coast, the cimaroli ones (they are usually very round with leaves close together, a bit like a big ball!). To honour the Spring, sorrel, nettles and other leafy brassicas are also never amiss.
So this year we started with a small pastry starter to be had with our bubbly – small pastry shells that I baked (the pastry is the same as for the potato and cress pie I blogged about the other week), filled with fresh sauteed mushrooms and also stewed onions (we had some leftover from Saturday dinner). First course was a lasagna with tomato and mince sauce, topped with mozzarella and grated Parmigiano. And the main course, as I anticipated, lamb: this year Mum opted for lamb just roasted in the oven and seasoned with salt, pepper, plenty of rosemary and cloves of garlic. She also roasted potato wedges with the same herbs… a real wonder! We also had the artichokes filled with sweet mint leaves (from our herb pots) and chopped garlic, stewed in plenty of olive oil, salt and pepper.
For the veggie at the table, i.e. me, the menu was different but equally spring like: spaghetti with fresh tomato and basil sauce (first glut of tomatoes from south Lazio! ); sorrel and nettle pie with pinenuts and raisins and roast potatoes and an artichoke like everyone else!
For dessert we had a slice of the traditional colomba di Pasqua… my nephew, true to himself, had another go at his Easter egg too, and so did my Grandmother (she is 99 and doing really well), who enjoys her chocolate too!
My Dad was as usual in charge of the wine, bubbly was another good bottle of Franciacorta, whereas we had a bottle of Sudtyrol Gewurtztraminer with the first course and a bottle of Dolcetto d’Alba with the lamb. I hasten to clarify that we did not finish either of them as we do not go beyond a glassful or so and several of us do not really drink… but still, it worked a real treat!
Pasquetta is the day of the leftovers in Italy, as I said, going out on a day trip is traditional, and people bring picnic baskets with cold lunches made with what is left from the day before – we did not do so this time, having been invited to lunch by my Aunt. She ails from the area of Lazio, South of Rome (la Piana di Latina), so her cuisine reflects her origin a lot; she made another little feast for us. The traditional Tuscan ravioli (also called tortelli, filled with ricotta and spinach) were served with sausage and tomato sauce (no worries, the veggie option was of fettuccine with a light tomato sauce, so I was very happy!) and the main course was stewed sausage and also, there was another roasted rack of lamb with more roasted potatoes to go with it! Aunt is fab as foraging and we left with a big bag of wild asparagus and wild sorrel and other bitter herbs, happiness for me, since we had these today at lunch–the asparagus went in an omelette and the herbs were just eaten cold after having been steamed, just dressed with olive oil and lemon juice.
Now I do need to get down to business… but I thought that, since April means start of the Spring and rebirth and hosts Easter this year, I would share this with the Total Food Geeks Tribe!
Watch out for my next post, which, true to the theme, will be more on my recent adventures in my Mum’s kitchen… experimenting with her!
Powered by Facebook Comments