Easter festive menu – Italian style

Grilled Easter lamb ©George M. Groutas/Flickr

Grilled Easter lamb, ©George M. Groutas/Flickr

All nations have their specialties and fancy dishes which they prepare for important events and celebrations. So it is in the case of Italians who definitely know how to cook. Easter Sunday is not only the culmination of a one week celebrations but is also an homage that welcomes spring.

In Italian Easter Sunday is called Pasqua and the following day is called Pasquetta, meaning little Easter. The Easter table is dressed up in the colors of spring, set and decorated beautifully with flowers and colored boiled eggs, and filled with the finest Italian dishes. Usually on Easter Monday or so called Pasquetta people go out for a picnic with their friends or family. Some people often go for a road trip and spend the holiday in another country.

Starters, appetizers and first course

The people of Italy tend to be extremely creative and adventurous in the kitchen during Easter time. They prepare several traditionally Italian dishes but not only. Usually the festive table is filled up with fried artichokes, octopus salad, tuna and swordfish seasoned with beans, grapefruit and salumi, an Italian salted meat made of pork. Besides these delicacies you might also find a great variety of torte Pasqualine, also known as savory Easter pies and ricotta cake. One of the most popular Easter dishes is the Lasagna and stuffed pasta.

Lasagna, ©plasticrevolver/Flickr

Lasagna, ©plasticrevolver/Flickr

Every household has its own special pasta recipe. Usually the pasta is homemade and is stuffed with tortelloni, ravioli or some other specifically Italian stuffing. Risotto is also a commonly prepared dish paired with asparagus, seafood or baby peas.

Main course

Before Easter everyone is fasting and they do not eat any meat but they make up for it on the Easter menu for the main course often contains different kinds of grilled or roasted meat. The most popular dish is the Easter lamb which is prepared roasted, marinated with lemon and seasoned with rosemary and served with artichokes and roasted potatoes. Lamb is prepared in various ways: sometimes grilled, made lamb chops, prepared as lamb stew with ravioli or other kind of pasta. Every region has its customs regarding the preparation of the Easter lamb.

Grilled Easter lamb ©George M. Groutas/Flickr

Grilled Easter lamb ©George M. Groutas/Flickr

In Tuscany for example the lamb is braised slowly with carrots and onions and served with cannellini beans. In Puglia the lamb is boiled and served with fresh vegetables and herbs. The people of Trentino make fried meatballs with rosemary and parsley. Vegetarians don’t eat meat but they keep the symbol of the lamb by making small cakes and pastries in the shape of a lamb.

Desserts and sweets

Dessert is an indispensable part of not only the Easter feast but to any kind of festive table. In Italy they prepare the famous Easter Bread sometimes as a dessert and sometimes as a savory pastry.

Italian Easter Bread, ©Jim,the Photographer/ Flickr

Italian Easter Bread, ©Jim,the Photographer/ Flickr

Chocolate eggs are naturally among the favorites as well. You will also find on the table Pastiera Napoletana, Pizza Pasqualina and casadina each coming from different regions of Italian peninsula.

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