In case you hadn’t noticed, Italians love their carbs. That’s especially true at Easter, when breads and pies – from sweet to salty – take centre stage on our tables and in our bellies.
A savoury pie filled with cheese, eggs, and various types of cured meats such as salami and prosciutto, pizza rustica is as delicious as it sounds, and a staple across central and southern Italy. Served as an appetiser on Easter Sunday, the dish shines even brighter on Easter Monday, a day when many Italians usually go on picnics and spend time outdoors. It’s easy to see why: a cinch to carry and amazing even when it’s cold, pizza rustica is alfresco food at its very best.
For a variation on the theme, torta di Pasqua – also called crescia di Pasqua, torta al formaggio or crescia brusca – is another crowd-pleaser from Lazio to Umbria. A leavened savoury cake based on wheat flour, eggs, pecorino and parmesan, you eat this at breakfast on Easter morning, or as an appetiser during Easter lunch, accompanied by blessed boiled eggs, ciauscolo (a type of salami) and red wine, then bring to your Pasquetta picnic and back to work with you the following week (if there are any leftovers).
Lastly, there’s casatiello napoletano, a Napolitean classic. Another savoury bread made with flour, lard, cheese, salami, cracklings, eggs and black pepper, it is usually prepared on Good Friday, left to rise overnight, baked the following day, and eaten on Holy Saturday and Easter Monday.
Heavy on Easter symbolism, its ring shape is a reminder of the cyclical nature of the Easter resurrection and of Christ’s crown of thorns, while the strips of bread arranged to cage four eggs half-submerged in the dough are meant to represent the cross on which Jesus died.