Easter is a wonderful time to explore Italy. One of the most important holidays, Easter (Pasqua) is celebrated for longer than a week, with rites starting on Palm Sunday and finishing on Easter Monday, Pasquetta.
In Piemonte, Easter Monday is time for picnics, and recipes made with eggs, usually gathered through “questue”: like a giving of the alms, but it’s a giving of the eggs. Gatherers go from home to home in the days prior to Easter, the eggs are then cooked and the meal shared by the community. Typical dishes are frittata, and here you can find recipes to make it also this Easter to celebrate it the Italian way!
While Puglia still remains in the shadow of other areas, we love this beautiful corner of the Italian boot! The most typical Easter sweet in Puglia is “scarcella”, made of flour, eggs, and sugar and shaped into typical forms such as eggs or doves, or simple doughnuts, then topped with colorful sprinkles. Easter celebrations are the most diverse in this region and very rooted in Christian traditions.
Veneto even has a salad named after this holiday — made of course with eggs — and a special sweet that resembles the more famous “colomba” but just different enough to make it their own dessert: “fugassa”, made out of butter, sugar, flour — how can you go wrong?!?
Traditional chocolate eggs are also filled with surprises and gifts. Master chocolatiers express their best in decorating them in the most wonderful ways!
We wish you a Holiday filled with love, health, peace, and laughter. From our family to yours, Happy Easter and we cannot wait to see you again!
Via Vitae Travels March Newsletter is ready, fully packed with our latest news, recipes, wine tips, and more!
Solo travelers are exploring themselves in the solitude and openness of the road. Plan A Solo Vacation Day encourages you to get out and explore the world on your own, and the self you find within it. Via Vitae Travels celebrates Plan a Solo Vacation all March long this year! Contact us today at 269-317-2239 or email@example.com to know more about our suggestions and deals for your next solo vacation in Italy!
We promised this recipe to you. A very simple dish, out of grandmas’ cooking books, heartwarming and deliciously made with what the vegetable garden can offer during the cold times of year. Cabbage, bread and broth, you cannot go wrong!
A Bit of History
Cabbage soup, or “zuppa di cavolo” is a very well known winter recipe in Piemonte. Tradition wants that on the evening of November 1 each family cooked some cabbage soup and before bedtime, the pot was left on the table, fully prepared for the meal, for the deceased souls of family members that were expected to visit the house one more time and enjoy the food. That is why it is also known as “zuppa dei Santi” (soup of the Saints), because of the day in which is prepared. Tradition also wants that the youngest members of the family, after a night out with friends, coming back home and hungry, were the ones eating the delicacy on the table, leaving every other family member to believe the deceased instead enjoyed the dish!
There are slight differences in preparing the basic ingredients. It just all depends on your personal preference, the taste of your guests, and family traditions. But what makes it a Canavesana soup is the cheese: toma or fontina are the best, as they are local to the area. The bread is the hard, left-over bread, because “nothing is wasted”. But of course you can use fresh bread too! As to the broth, either vegetable broth or meat/chicken stock will do the job. For more richness and flavor, some prefer to use sausage, ground beef, or lard, or a mix of any and all, others no meat at all; some use butter, some olive oil, “Tomato, tomato, potato, potato”! So without let or hindrance, here is the recipe!
Ingredients you will need:
Savoy cabbage leaves (4 to 6 depending on how big they are)
2 garlic cloves
Butter, 30 gr or same quantity of EVOO
Lard, 50 gr or sausage, 300 gr (omit if you prepare the vegetarian version)
Slices of bread, (hard left-ver or fresh, we used 1 baguette, 250 gr in this recipe)
Broth, 1 liter
Toma or fontina, 100 gr
Salt, pepper, nutmeg, bay leaves, and juniper berries to taste
1. Add butter, garlic, and meat in a pan, and sautée until everything is nicely cooked. If you want you can add white wine and/or tomato sauce to taste.
2. Add the cabbage leaves, only the green portion, previously washed, drained and sliced. Stir and add a little broth. Cook for 10-15 min.
3. In a baking dish prepare the first layer with some fried cabbage, then add the sliced bread, add more cabbage, a bit of cheese, and continue with layers of bread and cabbage and cheese until you’ve run out of ingredients, but keep aside a bit (or a generous amount!) of cheese. Add the broth until bread is well soaked and cover with remaining cheese. Make sure your baking dish is big enough and offers some extra room: the bread will soak the broth while cooking and the ingredients will double in volume. Bake it uncovered for 1 hour at medium temperature, so flavors will blend, then broil until golden brown, for the last 15-20 min. Let it cool a little (bread maintains the heat, so be careful!) then serve and enjoy!
We kept measurements in grams and liters so you can get used to the local tradition, just in time for your next trip to Italy with Via Vitae Travels! If you do not find neither toma or fontina, asiago or provolone can work, as long as the cheese is not too chewy, your preference will dictate the choice. For a dish the closest to the original, we recommend not to use mozzarella: although easy to find in the United States, the final result as far as the flavor and texture profiles would be just too different. Now – we are firm believers that whatever you like is the best way to cook just (about) anything!
Now it’s your turn! Don’t forget to let us know how it goes – have fun e buon appetito!
BY MARIELLA C. ZANOTTI & VANDA ZANOTTO AS THE CHEF
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