Today is Easter Monday and in Italian, we call this day Pasquetta. For many (myself included), today is a holiday. I always enjoy having the day after a big holiday to myself as it gives me a chance to reflect.
I’ve had such a lovely Easter this year.
Not only did my work schedule calm down, but I had the chance to spend time with family and friends.
While Christmas is still my favourite holiday, I find Easter to be just as enjoyable but in different ways.
It’s lighter outside and even though it’s cold, you know that spring is just around the corner. And even though there’s tonnes of food, just as at Christmas time, everything seems just a bit lighter and the pace is a bit slower and not as pressure-filled.
This Easter was also special for me because I finally tried a traditional Easter specialty from Le Marche, the region of Italy where my father is from.
When I was growing up, my father would always regale us at Easter time with fond memories of a type of bread made at this time of year called Pizza di Pasqua or Easter Pizza.
A few times we were given a recipe for this bread by our family in Italy but for some reason, we just never made it. I was a bit reluctant to ask for the recipe again so instead I did some research and cobbled together a recipe that I think is very similar to the one that my father spoke of.
My father told us that they would add salami to their pizza but I decided that for my first try, I would keep the bread simple.
The bread started out with a very basic pizza dough recipe to which I added, after its first rise, flour and grated cheese (Parmigiano and Pecorino) and then beaten eggs. After a second rise, I spread the dough out into two earthenware dishes and let it rise again.
It finally went into the oven and I watched as my dough puffed up into two lovely offerings that were a cross between pizza and bread.
Once out of the oven, it was hard for me not to immediately cut into the bread but I exercised some patience and instead covered my little sweeties up and kept them safe for Easter lunch where I reheated and then served them with thin slices of Prosciutto di Parma.
The bread was light, soft and had a very faint cheesy flavour. For next year, I think I’ll use more grated cheese and I will definitely add salami.
But for a first try, it was a great success and it felt very special to place a dish on the table that represented my father.
Buona Pasquetta a tutti!