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Marion’s Guide to an Italian Easter

Easter is always one of my favorite times of the year. We usually have our children, their spouses and our five beautiful grandchildren over to celebrate the holiday. This year, we will all be doing our part during this health crisis, but I will still be cooking up a storm!

I love the spring flowers, especially the pastel colored Parrot Tulips, the chocolate bunnies, making Easter baskets and dying eggs. All of these things bring back such happy memories of my childhood and I look forward to getting everyone together for a huge family feast in the not-too-distant future.

 Use your time at home to prepare some special traditional Easter dinner recipes. It is a wonderful way to spend the afternoon or all day if you are up to it! Easter is all about the Resurrection, rebirth and renewal and it is the rough patches like today that help us to best appreciate the joys that life offers, especially family, friends and our wonderful Italian culture!

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

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

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.

SPINACH EASTER PIE – From Liguria, this savory pie is made with spinach and cheese.

Amaretto Glazed Ham


  • 9-10 lb spiral sliced ham
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 2-1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Amaretto
  • 1 can apricot halves, drained (reserve juice)
  • 1 cup apricot juice


Preheat oven to 325°F.

Whisk together the dry mustard, brown sugar and Amaretto in a bowl (reserving 2 teaspoons of the Amaretto) and blend to form thick glaze.

Place ham onto baking rack in 2-inch deep drip pan. Brush the glazing all over the ham and into the spiral cut slices.

Bake, basting every 20 minutes with drippings, until the internal temperature reaches 140°F (usually 8-10 minutes per pound). During last 20 minutes of baking, place the apricot halves on top of ham and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons Amaretto over top.