Here comes the Easter bunny hopping back into our lives as we celebrate another spring, and with our furry friend comes the expectation of a grand feast. While you may be planning some lovely glazed ham or some roast lamb, and certainly prepping for all those chocolate eggs, Chef Michele Casadei Massari hopes to inspire you with some international flavors.
As owner and head chef of Lucciola restaurant in New York City's upper west side, Chef Massari knows a thing or two about authentic Italian cuisine. He infuses his menu with tradition and timeless technique, and the same is true for his holiday favorite.
"The Pizza di Pasqua is a typical preparation from the regions of central Italy, Umbria and Marche in particular," he says. "It's a perfect dish to celebrate Easter and Easter Monday—called, La Pasquetta in Italian—and the first warming rays of the sun with a nice picnic in the park."
Pizza di Pasqua, also known as Crescia di Pasqua or torta di Pasqua, is a thick and rich Italian cheese bread molded in a dome shape similar to the panettone you're used to having a Christmas. Parmigiano Reggiano is a main ingredient alongside the bready staples of flour and eggs. The warm, comforting concoction is usually served as an antipasto, often with a side of cold cuts or boiled eggs. Massari says it's a must-have for any Italian Easter picnic.
"Italian picnics are not like ordinary ‘picnics,’" Massari says. "They are elaborate, multi-course al fresco banquets that often involve a little nap in the grass—which is so Italian! I think that Pizza di Pasqua can be enjoyed any time, and the same goes for quick naps."
We teamed up with Chef Massari to bring you his go-to Pizza di Pasqua recipe, so you can share the joy of Italy with your friends and family. It's sure to impress your guests, and it might just become a new tradition.
"I love this quick and easy recipe," he says, "because it is prepared with dough using instant yeast which makes it simpler and faster, yet it retains all the great qualities of the savory bread."
Ingredients (For 6 People):
- 4 large Organic brown eggs
- 12 Oz flour 00
- Half a glass of seed oil
- Half a glass of whole milk
- 10 oz of Parmigiano Reggiano PDO 24 months
- 5 oz of Parmigiano Reggiano PDO 14 Months cut in small cubes
- 1oz of instant yeast for pizza
- Your favorite Dutch oven pot
- With the help of an electric whisk or a mixer, first work the eggs with the oil.
- Gradually add the flour, milk and grated Parmigiano Reggiano 24 Months.
- Add the yeast and the pieces of Parmigiano Reggiano 14 Months.
- Grease your Dutch oven pot and bake the pizza di Pasqua dough in a preheated oven at 350F for 45 minutes.
If you want to cook it grandma style
- Skip the Dutch over and grease an aluminum 3mm casserole pan very well.
- Insert the dough, cover with the lid and cook it on a stove top for about 45 minutes with a flame spreader. Use high heat for the first three to four minutes, then put the stove on low and cook slowly.
Aperitivo Pairing: Otto's Kin (Dark rum, Campari, Chinotto Lurisia, Orange juice, Lime juice, Parmigiano Reggiano 36 Months Peel)
Wine Pairing: A clean, fresh red wine like Ciliegiolo di Narni, from Umbria.
Beer Pairing: A persistent Italian Pale Ale with pink pepper, like the Almond '22 Pink IPA.