La Pasquetta is a day to relax following Easter. We have compiled some simple, yet delicious recipes to serve on Easter Monday. By all means feel free to spruce up your own leftover dishes. You can easily turn your Easter potatoes into a tasty potato salad or use extra penne to whip up your favorite cold pasta dish.
Although we hope for a beautiful spring day, if the weather does not cooperate, call over your closest family and friends and have a picnic in your living room. Throw a blanket onto the floor, grab a basket and some paper goods and create an experience that will last a lifetime.
This Easter Monday, before you head back to your normal weekday routine, consider setting some time and food aside to celebrate the beloved Italian tradition of La Pasquetta.
Asparagus Cheese Frittata
This traditional frittata is often prepared the day before Easter Sunday and served cold – a perfect addition to the Pasquetta picnic basket, with sliced tomatoes and cucumbers drizzled with olive oil and chunks of focaccia bread.
1 dozen eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream
pinch of sea salt
fresh ground black pepper to taste
3/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
1 bunch fresh asparagus
2 tbsp olive oil
1-1/4 pound spicy Italian sausage meat broken up
1 tbsp butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped
2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1 bunch green onions whites and 1/3 of green tops, chopped
2-1/2 cups fresh Mozzarella, cut into 1/2” cubes
Preheat oven to 400°F. Whisk the eggs together with 1/4 cup heavy cream, salt and pepper to taste and the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, then set aside
Lightly roast the asparagus. Cut off the coarse tips and drizzle with a little olive oil and salt and pepper. Bake at 400°F for 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven and cut into 1 ½” pieces and set aside.
Heat a large skillet to medium high and sauté the sausage in olive oil until no longer pink, breaking it up as it cooks. Drain the sausage and set aside. Add the butter, coating the sides of the skillet as it melts. Return the skillet to medium high flame; add the garlic and green onions and sauté for two minutes. Add the parsley and basil, stirring well, then add eggs, stirring briefly. Add the asparagus, sausage and mozzarella cheese and stir to distribute ingredients evenly.
Continue cooking over medium high flame, watching that your eggs don’t burn. Allow the eggs to cook until the bottom and sides are set, but the middle is still runny, about 3-5 minutes.
Place the frittata still in the skillet, in a 400°F oven and cook until completely set and the center is firm, 10-12 minutes. A butter knife inserted into the center should come out clean when done. After the frittata has cooled, slip out onto a plate or place a plate over the top and invert to release it from the skillet.
Notes: A cast iron skillet works best for this dish as it needs to transfer from the stove into the oven. A little cooking spray will help the frittata to come out clean and the skillet must be hot before the eggs are added to ensure they don’t stick.
Black Lentil & Chickpea Salad with Mint Lemon Dressing
2 cups black lentils, rinsed and picked over
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
6 scallions, chopped
1 (14 oz) can chickpeas
6 large, ripe plum tomatoes, chopped
½ cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives, chopped
For the Dressing
juice from 1 ½ large lemons
zest from 1 lemon
3 tbsp fresh mint
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
Cook the lentils until al dente in boiling water, about 20 minutes. Drain lentils and bring to room temperature. Use a blender or hand wand to puree the dressing ingredients.
Add the lentils and other ingredients into a large bowl, then pour on the dressing and toss to mix. Let salad rest at room temperature for 30 minutes, mix again, then serve.
Grilled Gorgonzola Figs with Honey, Balsamic Dressing
8 fresh ripe figs
about 2 oz Gorgonzola cheese
1/3 cup toasted, finely chopped walnuts
2 tbsp olive oil
fresh escarole, diced
2 tbsp honey
juice of 1 lemon
Trim off the stem end of the figs and using a sharp knife, cut an X into the top of the fig 3/4 of the way down leaving the bottom of the fig attached. Roll some of the gorgonzola into small balls about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch in size, then roll the balls into the walnuts, gently pressing the walnuts into the cheese balls.
Place the figs on a baking sheet, then place a cheese ball into each fig and gently squeeze the fig to enclose the cheese inside. Brush the figs lightly with olive oil and place under a preheated broiler. Broil until the figs are heated through and the cheese is just beginning to melt.
While the figs are grilling, divide the greens on top of each of four plates. Mix together the honey, lemon juice and olive oil to create a dressing. Place the figs on top of the greens and drizzle the figs with a little of the dressing. Serve immediately.
These sandwiches are traditional for la Pasquetta and there are really no rules regarding the creation of these finger foods. Normally the crust of the bread is trimmed away and whatever meats such as prosciutto and salami left over from the Easter antipasto are used. Other ingredients may include hard boiled eggs, paper-thin tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted peppers, olives, cheeses, even chopped artichoke hearts in oil are used. If you are so inclined, you might even whip up some Venetian mayonnaise for some of the sandwiches.
1 egg yolk
1 whole egg
1 tbsp high-quality ground mustard powder
½ tsp salt
1 tsp raw sugar
juice of 1 whole lemon
A splash of white wine vinegar
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Blend together the dry ingredients, plus the egg and yolk and white wine, then slowly whisk in the olive oil until the desired consistency is reached.
5 oz Prosciutto di Parma
18 slices Italian bread
12 leaves arugula
6 oz mozzarella
4 oz sun-dried tomatoes
2 hardboiled eggs
Build three tramezzini sandwiches with three layers of bread and two layers of prosciutto, arugula and tomatoes and one layer of mozzarella. Make the other three sandwiches with the remaining ingredients.
Insert two toothpicks on top of each sandwich to keep them together. Cut and discard the outer part of the bread. Cut sandwiches in half to shape in triangles.
3/4 cup oil
½ tsp vanilla
3/4 cup milk
1 cup sugar
6 cups flour, maybe more depending on consistency
4 tsp baking powder
For the frosting
1 tsp vanilla
2-3 drops pink food coloring
Mix together the eggs, oil, vanilla, milk and sugar. Then add flour and baking powder and mix together to create dough. The dough should be firm and not sticky. Place dough in the fridge for 30 minutes to cool. When you take the dough out, add flour to your hands and start shaping. The dough should not be sticky. Add more flour if necessary.
Bake at 350°F for 10-14 minutes. When finished, cookies will be slightly golden brown on the bottom, but white everywhere else. Cool cookies before adding icing.
For the frosting: Mix together the powdered sugar, vanilla and food coloring and slowly add small amounts milk, stirring until frosting thickens. Consistency should be runny, but not too thin. You want to be able to dunk the cookies and not have them break apart, but not have all the icing run off the top too quickly. Add some sprinkles to the top and enjoy.