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Springtime Artichokes in Rome

Marion’s Guide to an Italian Easter

Easter in our house with our children, their spouses and our five beautiful grandchildren is one of my favorite holidays. I love the spring flowers, especially the pastel colored Parrot Tulips, the chocolate bunnies, making Easter baskets and dying eggs – my grandchildren bring back so many warm and happy memories of my childhood.

One of those memories is the classic traditional Easter table. Below are some of the foods that fill my table. Share our rich Italian culture and prepare and cook with your children or grandchildren – they will love it and most of all, they will remember it.

ARTICHOKES – Stuffed, steamed or fried are a feature of the Easter meal as a side dish or appetizer. Typically Roman.

GOOD FRIDAY AND FRIDAYS DURING LENT – The Catholic calendar dictates these days to be meat-free. Try Bronzino from Naples.

SCIUSCEDDU – Traditionally eaten on Easter Sunday, it is a little like egg drop soup. This simple dish contains very small meatballs and broth from Messina, Sicily.

LITTLE EASTER, PASQUETTA – The Monday following Easter is a holiday in Italy and is a day for relaxing with family. Typically in southern Italy, the day is enjoyed as Lunedi dell Agnello or Lamb Monday.

EASTER BREADS – Special preparation and differences are evident in each of the 20 regions of Italy. This is Pan di Ramerino, a Tuscan pie flavored with raisin and rosemary. It is eaten on Holy Thursday and made with 33 layers of dough, signifying Jesus was 33 when he was crucified.

SANGUINACCIO DOLCE – This dessert from Basilicata is made with chocolate and pigs blood to produce a rich cake. In the United States, cherries are substituted for the pig’s blood and the result is delicious. In the U.S. they look like chocolate stuffed ravioli.

RISO NERO di PASQUA – Black Easter rice is a Sicilian specialty prepared using squid ink, but there is a sweeter version in America, where the deep dark color of the rice comes from dark chocolate.

TORTA di RISO – This rice pie is from the Emilia Romagna. See page 24 for the recipe.

TORTA ALLA PASQUALINA – From Liguria, this savory pie is made with spinach and cheese. The recipe for this delicious pie is on page 24.