My husband still has an uncle and an aunt who live in Naples, and they were happy to have us for the weekend. It was a soggy Easter in Naples, but it was Easter in Naples and even though we were indoors the whole weekend, it was still a lovely weekend. As with most holidays, Naples has some serious food traditions, the Easter table is not complete without them.
We arrived on Saturday night and started the feasting then. His aunt prepared a torta pasqualina, which is a savory pie with swiss chard, ricotta cheese and eggs baked into it, I love this pie and never knew how to prepare it, but was lucky enough to watch her and saw that it was simpler than I had imagined. They also had a casatiello, which is a must for Easter. It is a bread with salame and cheese baked into it, I can’t say that it is my favorite, but was the first thing that my husband went for. We decided to dig into it on Saturday, so that we would be able to enjoy it before stuffing ourselves with capretto the next day. It didn’t end there though, there was pasta cresciuta, which is a fried pizza; sautéed agreti, which are a delicious grass-like vegetable; steamed artichokes and freshly sliced prosciutto from the pig that they raised on their land in the countryside. Dinner was followed by pastiera, which is a Neapolitan Easter pie, and a fruit and strawberry tart. A long list, this is only Saturday.
Easter lunch was extravagant, and shouldn’t it be? Catholics give things up during lent, and from what I have seen here, they always give up some sort of food. They are obliged to eat fish on Fridays, which is kind of lovely, it really could be worse. The Easter feast is the end of the rules, even though it comes with rules of its own.
We started out with a delicious baked pasta with green and white tagliatelle, tossed in a sausage, ham and mushroom ragu and béchamel, layered with smoked cheese and baked to perfection. This is a recipe that I am going to try to replicate. The pasta was followed by the legendary capretto, which I believe is a goat kid as the name would indicate, but it isn’t clear if this is simply what Neapolitans call lamb or if it is indeed a goat kid. My husband is mixed up by this as well, not sure how it got lost in translation from Napoletano to Italiano, but it did somewhere in there. We had more torta pasqualina, more casatiello, salad and agreti and then everyone fell asleep on the couch watching Mary Poppins in Italian. It was lovely.