As with any holiday in Italy, celebrations mean food.   Throughout the year, tasty treats are dictated by the calendar – panettone for Christmas, castagnoli for Carnevale, focaccia con uva to celebrate the grape harvest.  As we prepare for the Easter weekend, Italians everywhere – both in Italy and abroad, a buying and or making colombe (dove shaped Easter cakes), giant chocolate eggs and pastiera Napoletana, all delicious goodies that will grace the Easter table on Sunday.  

This year instead of sweets, I am sharing a savory menu – pizza rustic or Easter pie – an egg pie stuffed with meats and cheeses.  It is a perfect addition to Sunday brunch and is great leftover served for dinner with a salad. The truly traditional rustica recipe is unbelievable – it contains about 4 pounds of various meats (capicola, sausage, pepperoni, cooked and cured ham, salami) and about 3 pounds of cheese. 

Historically it was eaten the night before Easter to break the Lenten fast. A meat and cheese bomb after having sacrificed for 40 days is completely understandable.  But in today’s world, let’s be honest: I know that giving up wine or gummy bears for the entire Lenten season may seem like the supreme sacrifice but I dare say that very few of us actually fast in the true sense. 

So in the spirit of some restraint, I am making Giada’s Easter Pie – less meat, less cheese, a little spinach to make me feel better.  Believe me, it is no less delicious.  (PS – don’t feel like making the pie dough?  There’s a red box for that and your secret is safe with me….)

Giada DeLaurentiis’ Pizza Rustica

Happy Easter – Buona Pasqua!

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