Easter is one of the most important holidays in Italy and is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon of spring and can vary from March 22nd to April 25th. One thing that never varies is the quality of the Colavita family of products. The Italian Tribune is proud to bring these Easter Dinner recipes to you, sponsored by Colavita. As a family-owned business, the Colavita tradition of bringing the finest olive oil to your family has spanned the generations. Now the line of exceptional products by Colavita includes many Italian specialty items that deserve to be a staple in your kitchen and in your cooking. Don’t forget the Perugina Chocolate this Easter. Colavita USA is the distributor of these outstanding products in the United States. Colavita – a trusted family brand.
Deviled Green Eggs
The Colavita twist on green eggs includes creamy pesto and sour cream. This deviled green egg recipe is a delicious appetizer. This recipe yields 12 eggs, but can be easily increased to accommodate a larger gathering.
- 6 eggs, hard boiled
- 3 tbsp Colavita Pesto sauce
- 3 tbsp sour cream
- salt and pepper to taste
- fresh basil for garnish
Hard boil the eggs – bring a small pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the eggs carefully so that they don’t crack and boil for 10 minutes. Remove the eggs from the hot water and allow to cool. Peel the eggs and cut each in half. Remove the yolks with a spoon and place them in a medium bowl. Set aside the whites. Add the Colavita Pesto Sauce, sour cream, salt and pepper to the bowl and mix well with a fork. You can use a food processor to yield an extra-smooth texture. Scoop the yolk mixture back into the hard-boiled egg whites and garnish with a fresh basil leaf. For an extra special presentation, place the yolk mixture in a piping bag and pipe the yolk mixture into the whites.
Sciusceddu (Meatballs and Egg Soup)
This Sicilian recipe for ricotta meat balls is delicate, yet very appetizing. “Sciusceddu” is a dish that comes from the city of Messina in Sicily, where it is traditionally served at Easter.
Per 4 servings
- 4 cups meat broth
- 7 oz veal meat, chopped
- 2 oz breadcrumbs
- 3 ½ oz Colavita Piave Vecchio cheese, grated
- 3 eggs
- 3 ½ oz ricotta cheese
- parsley, chopped
- salt and pepper
Make a mixture of minced meat, one egg, breadcrumbs, half of the grated Colavita Piave Vecchio cheese, chopped parsley and a little water; then form meatballs about the size of a small egg. In another bowl, beat the eggs with the ricotta cheese previously sieved, the remaining Piave Vecchio cheese and a dash of salt and pepper.
Bring the broth to the boil and put the meatballs in. Cook for about twenty minutes, then add the egg mixture, stirring vigorously for a few moments. Remove from heat and serve the “Sciusceddu” piping hot.
Béchamel Lasagna with Spinach
It is traditional to serve a pasta stuffed with cheese at Easter. A spinach lasagna with a Béchamel sauce is the perfect dish before enjoying lamb.
For the Béchamel Sauce
- 4 cups milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup white flour
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- salt and pepper to taste
For the Lasagna
- 1/4 cup Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 cup onions, chopped
- 3/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 lb fresh spinach, cooked
- 1 lb ricotta cheese
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups grated Parmigiano cheese
- 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
- 1 package Colavita Lasagna (17.64 oz)
For the sauce – Heat milk until hot – but not boiling. In another pan, melt the butter. Whisk in flour and cook 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Add cream gradually. Stir until sauce thickens.
For the Lasagna – Sauté garlic and onions in Colavita oil until translucent and the oil is dried up. Stir in spinach and ½ cup of parsley. Set aside. Mix rest of parsley, ricotta, eggs and 2/3 cup Parmigiano. Boil pasta until al dente. Meanwhile, oil a large lasagna pan, then layer the pasta in the pan and begin the process. Layer ingredients in following order. First, 1 ½ to 2 cups of Béchamel sauce, 1/3 of noodles, half spinach mixture, all of mozzarella. Next 1 ½ to 2 cups of sauce, 1/3 of noodles, all the ricotta mixture, the rest of the spinach mixture. Finally, 1 ½ to 2 cups sauce, remaining pasta, the rest of the sauce. Sprinkle 1 1/3 cup of Parmigiano on top. You can increase amounts of cheese if you like.
Bake covered at 350°F for 45 minutes. Uncover for another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow 10 to 15 minutes for Lasagna to settle. Cut into squares and serve.
Loin of Lamb with Artichokes
Lamb is a staple on every Italian Easter table. The loin of lamb is a tender and prized part of the animal. It is an ideal cut for roasting, but since it doesn’t have a layer of fat for protection, care should be taken not to overcook it. Like all lamb, it should be served pink in the middle. Always remove the meat from the fridge an hour before cooking.
- 2 lb loin of lamb
- 1 jar Colavita Artichoke Hearts in EVOO
- 3 ½ oz Colavita Balsamic Vinegar
- 6 oz Colavita Capers
- ¾ cup Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 sprig of rosemary
- 1 small bunch mint, chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
On a large cutting surface, lay out lamb, cut side up so that it folds open. Sprinkle the inside with salt. Wash the capers and mix with the oregano and 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Spread over the lamb and allow it to sit; refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Tie lamb up with the sprig of rosemary on the outside, so that it is rolled and secure. Season with more salt and Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Cut the Colavita Artichoke Hearts julienne style, into short, thin strips. Place them in the pan with 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and sauté until tender. Once the artichokes are done, add the chopped garlic and mint; mix gently.
Pre heat the oven to 375°F. In large sauté pan over high heat, add 2 tablespoons of Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil and heat until hot, but not smoking. Add the lamb and sear on all sides until golden brown, being careful not to burn the rosemary, about 5 minutes. Transfer to oven and continue cooking for another 20 minutes or until medium rare. Just before the lamb is finished, add the Colavita Balsamic Vinegar of Modena as a finish. Remove from oven and let rest uncovered for 8-10 minutes before slicing.
Place the cooked artichokes in the center of a dish. Slice the lamb and place on top of the artichokes. Drizzle it slightly with the drippings remaining in the pan and serve.
Wild Dandelion and Tiny Fresh Favas
Nothing says spring more than wild dandelion and sweet, tender fava beans. The slightly bitter flavor of the greens is mellowed when combined with the sweet favas and pairs well with lamb.
- 3 bunches wild baby dandelion greens
- 2 lbs fresh fava beans (the smaller the better)
- 2 tbsp Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus more for drizzle
- 1 clove garlic, peeled
- salt, to taste
Trim and wash the dandelions and dry well. Split open the fava bean pods and remove the beans (they are covered with another peel; do not remove it). Bring a pot of water to boil and toss the favas in. Cook 2-4 minutes, depending on size, until just tender (think al dente) and bright green. Remove the beans (save the cooking liquid) and let them cool slightly.
Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan with the garlic clove, add the dandelion and let it begin to wilt. Add the favas, along with 1 tablespoon of cooking liquid and cook both together until the liquid is evaporated and the dandelion and favas are tender. Season to taste, dress liberally with olive oil and serve.
Strawberry Mostarda Olive Oil Crostata
This strawberry delight makes for a different kind of dessert. The sweet strawberry mostarda, combined with the flaky olive oil pastry crust, are an ideal combination. Although it may taste perfect, the crostata should have a rustic look to it.
For the olive oil crostata dough
- 1 1/4 cups Colavita Farina Flour
- 1/3 cup Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 3 tbsp sugar
- zest of 1 lemon
- ½ tsp salt
- 3-4 tbsp ice water
For the mostarda
- 2 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered; + 1 cup hulled and sliced
- 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp sugar, divided
- 1” piece of ginger, peeled and grated
- 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp cornstarch, divided
- 1 egg
For the olive oil crostata dough
Add the flour, Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil, sugar, zest and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine. Add the olive oil and pulse until it resembles a coarse meal. Add in the ice water, one teaspoon at a time, pulsing, until large clumps begin to form. Pour the mixture out onto a clean surface and form into a ball, then flatten into a disc. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least one hour.
In a medium bowl, combine the 2 cups of quartered strawberries with the 1/4 cup sugar, ginger and thyme. Let the mixture sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
For the mostarda
In a medium saucepan, bring the strawberry mixture to a gentle boil for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the lemon zest and juice and continue to cook for about 12-15 minutes more until the mixture has thickened. In a small bowl, combine 1 teaspoon of cornstarch with a tablespoon of water to dissolve. Add this to the still boiling strawberry mixture and stir to combine. Pour mixture into a clean bowl and allow to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Assembling the crostata
Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 400⁰F. Place the sliced strawberries in a medium bowl and sprinkle the cornstarch and 1 tablespoon of sugar over them and toss to evenly coat. Set aside. To roll out the dough, place the disc between two large pieces of parchment paper and roll out to a 12” circle. Carefully transfer the parchment paper with the rolled-out dough onto a large baking sheet.
In a small bowl, beat the egg and have a pastry brush ready. Spread a thin layer of the strawberry mixture on top of the dough, about 2/3 cup, leaving a 2” border all around. Arrange the sliced strawberries on top of the mostarda then fold the dough border in over the filling, using the parchment paper to assist. Pleat and pinch any areas of the dough needed to seal any cracks. Brush the top of the dough with the egg wash and sprinkle the remaining sugar on top. Bake until the crust is golden, about 30 minutes. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack to cool completely before moving the crostata to a serving plate.
Mini Lemon Cream Pavlovas
These little meringue nests are the perfect dessert for Easter — both sweet and tart, they are a taste of spring and super easy to make with our olive oil lemon curd!
- 5 large egg whites, room temperature
- 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 cup superfine granulated sugar
- 2 tsp Colavita Aged White Wine Vinegar
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- ½ cup Olive Oil Lemon Curd, divided (see separate recipe)
- fresh mint leaves and lemon zest for garnish, if desired
Heat oven to 300⁰F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a 4” ramekin as a guide, draw 9 circles on the parchment.
To make the meringue – In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites and salt on medium speed until light and frothy, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar by tablespoonfuls and continue to beat until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. Add the vinegar, cornstarch and vanilla and beat until stiff and glossy peaks form, about 2 minutes longer.
Evenly divide the meringue among the circles drawn on the parchment and spread with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon to make a circle with a slight indentation in the center. Bake 30 minutes and then turn the oven off. Allow the meringues to remain in the oven until completely cooled. They will be dry to the touch with a crisp exterior.
Meanwhile, make the lemon cream. Beat the whipping cream on high until soft peaks form. Fold in 5 tablespoons of the lemon curd and mix until blended. To assemble, spoon 3 tablespoons of the lemon cream into center of each meringue and top with a teaspoonful of remaining lemon curd. Garnish with fresh mint leaves and lemon zest, if desired.
Olive Oil Lemon Curd
- 6 tbsp Colavita Premium Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup lemon juice
- 2 tbsp lemon zest
- 1/4 tsp coarse sea salt
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1 tbsp heavy cream
Over medium heat, warm oil in a heavy bottom sauce pan. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar, lemon juice and zest and salt.
Whisk in the egg yolks and cream until smooth and return to heat stirring constantly until the mixture is thick enough to cling to the back of a spoon, about 3 minutes. Do not allow the mixture to boil.
Pour the curd through a fine mesh strainer into a small bowl. Cover the surface of the curd with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate until ready to use.