written by Eleonora Aiello
Massa Lubrense is known not only for its cultural, historical and landscape resources, but also for its gastronomy. In particular, given the imminent arrival of Easter, we will go and see which are the main dishes of the Easter tradition in this area.
Casatiello, a name that derives from the Latin caseus (= cheese), is one of the savory dishes par excellence of the Easter holidays. Inside we can find a mix of cheeses, lard, cracklings and various cold cuts. All then garnished with unshelled hard-boiled eggs that are woven into the dough as a decoration.
It is a recipe that is handed down from family to family, each with its own secrets and procedures.
Compared to the salty casatiello it has a much longer and more elaborate preparation. It has a leavening process that can last for days, thanks to the use of “criscito” which in the Neapolitan dialect is nothing more than the mother yeast, which allows it to be stored for many days without losing its soft consistency.
It is one of the oldest Easter desserts on the peninsula. Its origins date back to pagan cults, prepared to celebrate the arrival of spring. It is a shortcrust pastry pie with a filling made of ricotta, boiled wheat, eggs, spices and candied fruit. The pastry of the pastiera is crunchy, in contrast to its soft gold-colored filling which has a flavor and scent that vary according to the aromas used. The classic version involves the use of cinnamon and orange blossom water, but this does not prevent you from trying different aromas.
They have always been considered the classic side dish of the Easter lunch. To prepare roasted artichokes, you need large, hairless, thornless artichokes with a long, straight stem. They are flavored with oil, garlic and parsley, and then cooked directly on the coals.
The handmade Easter egg
The choice of the Easter egg as a symbol of this holiday is linked to the fact that the egg is seen as a symbol of life. All the children are anxiously awaiting the arrival of this day in order to finally be able to break the chocolate eggs and unwrap the surprise. The eggs have been made to celebrate Easter since 1850 and are used only in Italy or in countries where there are large Italian communities.
Today, the Massa Lubrense pastry shops prepare artisan chocolate eggs of all sizes and for all tastes. A gift appreciated not only by children!
Handmade Easter dove cake
It was Dino Villani, advertising director of the Milanese company Motta, who, in the 1930s, invented a dessert similar to panettone, but intended for the Easter holidays. Since then, the Easter dove cake has spread to the tables of all Italians, and even far beyond the borders of Italy. The original dough, based on flour, butter, eggs, sugar and candied orange peel, with a rich almond glaze, has subsequently taken on different shapes and variations.
Easter menu with traditional dishes
For those who have no idea what to cook for Easter Sunday lunch, here is a menu to take inspiration from.
- Appetizer: casatiello, various cold cuts, cheeses and vegetables;
- First courses: lasagna or baked pasta;
- Second courses: lamb in the oven or mixed grilled meats with potatoes or vegetables;
- Desserts: pastiera and chocolate eggs.
These are the typical dishes of an Easter lunch in Massa Lubrense, but nothing prevents you from being able to create a personalized menu based on your preferences.