Easter is the most important religious event for Catholic people – together with Christmas – and it is also the celebration of the end of winter and nature’s rebirth.
In Italy, Easter Sunday is a national event, but also the Monday after is a holiday called Little Easter or Angel’s Monday. If for Easter Sunday Italians eat at home or at a restaurants with their relatives, in Angel’s Monday they usually go out for a picnic with friends to enjoy the first days of Spring.
There’s a curious saying in Italy for this occasion:
Christmas with your family, Easter with whomever you like
During the forty days of Lent, many Italians abstain from meat and other pleasures. On Holy Friday, or Venerdì Santo, the inhabitants of hundreds of villages slowly make their way along ancient roads—sometimes in bare feet—carrying torches to commemorate the Passion. Finally, on Easter the solemnity and abstinence come to a joyous end and a special lunch.
Here, you can find an example of a typical Easter lunch to try.
There is no typical appetizer for Easter, but usually cured meats and cheeses are served in some form. The most common antipasto is young pecorino cheese with beans and salame, or various kind of Torta Pasqualina (Easter pies) handmade at home and prepared using flour, eggs, cheese, herbs and other ingredients which change in each region.
The first course can be baked pasta – in different recipe based on regional ingredients – or stuffed pasta as ravioli or tortelli savored with tomato sauce, Ligurian pesto or Ragù Bolognese sauce (tomato sauce with minced meat).
The Main Course
For centuries the most popular main course for Italian Easter has been lamb, symbol of “offering” in Catholic religion. Today, Italians main course for Easter is fried or roasted lamb, sometimes it is served grilled with roasted potatoes and artichokes.
Chocolate eggs are the favorite of kids due to the surprise put inside. Every region has its Easter Sweet, but the most popular is Colomba Pasquale or Ester Dove: a sort of cake made with flour, eggs, sugar, natural yeast and butter. It usually contains candied peel, then the dough is fashioned into dove shape and topped with pearl sugar and almonds before being baked.
Vegetarian Easter Menu
Even if typical Eater lunch includes a lot of meat and cured meat, also vegetarian celebrate the Easter! So, if it’s your case here find some advice:
- Fried artichokes and special variety of cheeses are a savored alternative to cured meats and salame as appetizer.
- Staffed and baked pasta can be substituted with a vegetarian lasagna baked with vegetables, béchamel and parmigiano cheese.
- In alternative to lamb, you can prepare stuffed and baked vegetables as main course. You can use courgettes, peppers, eggplants and tomatoes stuffed with a mix of cheese, eggs, breadcrumb and the cooked pulp of the vegetables. Serve your stuffed vegetables in pair with a salad or baked potatoes.
- In vegetarian households, the symbolism of the “sacrificial lamb” can be represented by small lamb-shaped cakes and pastries that are eaten for dessert.
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