April 25, 2011

Pasquetta - thinking small

In Italy there is a saying- Natale con i tuoi, Pasqua con chi vuoi.

Christmas with your family and Easter with whoever you like.

I guess that means you can spread out the food orgies? As much as I adore Italian food and lifestyle, the one thing I cannot get into are the never-ending meals.

I do try to pace myself and take small portions to arrive at the end of the meal- but ALWAYS need to go into hibernation when I am done to sleep off the food induced stupor which hit me after each huge meal.

Add on the stress and craziness from shopping with the Italians that are prepping for this extravagant meals of course after course and it really pushes me over the edge.

So this year, we decided just to go out to eat. Staying close by and knowing we would eat well we chose I Latini near us on the road from Certaldo to San Gimignano.

OH MY GOD- the place was packed-- good thing we reserved!

Luckily most of the meal, which was a fixed menu, was served so we could take what we wanted, which saved me some---but here is the menu,

Chicken liver crostini, bruschetta with tomatoes, several artisan cured meats.

Then two pasta courses:

Hand-rolled pici with rabbit and artichoke sauce and ravioli with porcini and zucchini blossom sauce.
Pici in foto.

Three main courses:
Pork in prune sauce, beef tagliata and roast lamb

and stewed artichokes as the vegetable-

then a "light" dessert-

a sort of Tuscan Strawberry shortcake-- a Vin Santo Olive Oil Cake with Crema Chantilly

Good thing these holiday food orgies only come a few times a year!

Pasquetta- is Easter Monday and today is a double holiday as it is also April 25th- celebrating the liberation of Italy during WWII.

We will be attending a lunch party in Florence commemorating the partisans who fought to liberate Florence, there are still a few alive and they attend the party.

I made a Naples specialty,Casiatello, to take for our picnic lunch.


1 kg 00 flour
100 gr strutto ( lard)

Make a bread dough first blending the strutto into the flour, then adding the yeast, water and salt.

Let rise until doubled in size.

Roll out into a rectangle.

Salami, provolone cheese, capocollo and pecorino romano

Chop up the first three ingredients into small cubes and spread over the dough.

Grate fresh pepper on top and then grate the pecorino romano cheese.

Roll and form a large doughnut shape and bake until golden.

Best served the next day.

I made mine smaller to have two loaves.

Traditionally they bake raw eggs in the shell on top, which them become hard-boiled eggs.

This is the perfect picnic food in Italy!

We are off to celebrate not Pasquetta, but the Liberazione- when Italy was liberated!
The war in Italy was a strange thing-- they changed sides, leaving Mussolini and creating peace with the Americans. then the Germans turned on them and the soldiers had fled, Italy was mostly protected by the Partisans. Today we are going to a luncheon in their honor, some are still alive?

Last week we went to the American war memorial---  Don't forget!
The first tombstone I looked at here was a young man that died in April 21 1945-- just a few days before the city was liberated

Grazie Carl


  1. Yup, a few partisans are still alive, not many. 66 years ago the Garibaldi brigate to which my grandfather belonged liberated first chiavari and then destruction, in liguria. Today I will be marching in his name in Milano.

  2. OMG! What a gigantic meal. It looks to be wonderful. Your recipe for Casiatello looks very much like something one of my aunts made. Our family is originally from Naples. My Aunt Mamie's version had no cooked in egg and wasn't a ring, but had layers of salami, capocola and cheese. I miss it. I think I'll try your version.

  3. My father fought with an American tank battalion here in Italy. Yesterday i was wondering wherein the country he was on that day of liberation.

  4. We visited the cemetery in Cassino on one of our recent trips. Very moving.

    I do think I would like a reservation at the restaurant too please! Good sized portion of the pici. Maybe even more than enough! Those meals do take pacing, don't they.

  5. That Tuscan Shortcake looks delicious! Do you know what all was in it?
    You're pictures are beautiful and make me hungry! Hope to see more soon!
    ~Nancy Lewis~