Easter recipes of the tradition of Liguria
Easter lunch par excellence in Liguria is rich of tasty and abundant dishes even if they are, as often happen in the traditional Italian cuisine, simple ingredients of the peasant culture. Besides the famous “Torta Pasqualina”, in Genoa and surroundings people use to serve stuffed lettuce and in the whole region there is always the famous lamb with potatoes and artichokes or the sweet “Cavagnetti”.
Here you can find some recipes, stolen from the traditional Easter lunch in Liguria:
Torta Paqualina is the Easter dish par excellence and it represents the Spring thanks to the use of eggs and herbs in the dough. The peculiarity of the shell of dough, that not many people know, is that the dough is divided in lots of small balls (up to 20 or more). The dough is rolled out in thin layers and overlapped on a pan in order to obtain a puffy result. The stuffing, instead, foresees fresh chards mixed with “Prescinseua”, acid fresh rennet, famous because it is the stuffing of the well known “Focaccia di Recco”. This local cheese has been used for centuries and in 1413 a witness mentions it as the only thing that the people of Genoa could give to the Doges as a present. Finally, the whole eggs enrich this savoury pie; they are poured raw on the stuffing. Once, women used to write the first letters of the head of the family on the shell.
Genoese stuffed lettuce
It is a tasty dish that can be served with broth, as a first course but also as a side dish or second course seared in a pan or baked with tomato sauce.
The recipe foresees to stuff big parboiled lettuce leaves, with a rich stuffing of meat, bread, eggs, parmigiano and other aromas as marjoram, rosemary and sage. There are different versions of the main recipe: in fact besides the cooking method, everyone can personalize its own stuffing according to the meat. Somebody chooses to use just ham, some others prefer veal grinded meat and other mix the lean parts of the veal with sweetbread, spinal cord and veal fat, reminding an ancient and poor culinary tradition.
Fricassee of lamb and artichokes
The king of the Easter table is fricassee lamb served with artichokes cooked in a pan. Pieces of lamb, in Liguria, are cooked in a pot, with white bread, broth, tomatoes and onion. At the end of the cooking, it is poured a cream obtained through scrambled egg with pine nuts, parsley and lemon. Another famous version of the Easter lamb is the roasted leg, seasoned with bay tree leaves and sage, served with artichokes or roasted potatoes. Strong and natural tastes if the Land, passed out through a generation to another.
To conclude the Easter lunch with a boom, prepare these small desserts of the tradition made of a sweet base of shortbread crust that encloses a egg with the shell. According to the tradition it was the way to give eggs to the kids, as a symbol of good luck. They are given as a gift during the day of Easter and ate also the day after as a break. The term Cavagnetto means, in dialect of Liguria, “basket” often with a red colour, nestled in dough strips.