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 recipes to you, sponsored by Colavita. As a family-owned business, the Colavita tradition of bringing the finest of olive oil to your family has spanned the generations. Now the line of exceptional products by Colavita includes many Italian specialties 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 U.S.Colavita – a trusted family brand.
Soup: 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 ½ oz Ricotta cheese
salt and pepper
Make a mixture of minced meat, one egg, breadcrumbs, half of the grated Colavita Piave Vecchio cheese (or Parmigiano), chopped parsley and a little water; then form balls about the size of a small egg. In another bowl, beat the eggs with the Ricotta cheese, the remaining Piave Vecchio cheese and a dash of salt and pepper.
Bring the broth to the boil and add 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.
Pasta: Manicotti di Pasqua
Using Colavita Lasagna and marinara sauce, a traditional Manicotti di Pasqua recipe is updated using the freshest and most flavorful ingredients.
1 lb Colavita Lasagna
6 cups Colavita Marinara Sauce
8 oz package fresh spinach
1 tbsp Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano cheese + extra for topping
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Boil lasagna until they are pliable but not cooked all the way. Rinse in cold water and pat dry.
For the filling – Place fresh spinach along with 2 tablespoons of water and 1 tablespoon olive oil in small frying pan; add salt, pepper and cook until wilted, about ten minutes. Drain well; squeeze all of the water out of the spinach. In a medium bowl, mix the ricotta, Parmigiano, mozzarella, eggs and spinach well. Keep in refrigerator until ready to use.
To assemble – Place a layer of sauce on bottom of baking pan. Cut each strip of lasagna in half and spread 1 to 2 tablespoons of ricotta mixture on the pasta, roll and place seam down in the baking dish.
Continue until all lasagna is used. Pour sauce over top and sprinkle with additional Parmigiano. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 minutes more. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.
Main Course: 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, refrigerated, 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.
Insalata: Wild Dandelions and Tiny Fresh Fava Beans
Nothing says spring more than wild dandelions 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 lb 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 dandelions 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 dandelions and favas are tender. Season to taste. Dress liberally with olive oil and serve.
Dessert: Strawberry Mostarda Olive Oil Crostata
This strawberry mostarda olive oil crostata 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
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 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 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 pre-heat 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.