Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter pastieri

In a previous post I mentioned how pastieri is one of my favourite Easter dishes to make simply because it's so easy. This dish was passed down to me from my Calabrese Nonna Filomena. Other than our family, I've never seen it made by anyone else. 

Mix all ingredients together before baking.

In Naples they make something called pastiera, which is completely different from our recipe. Go to the Napoli Unplugged blog for a mouth-watering collection of recipes. The Sicilians make a pastieri but it's a stuffed pastry, which looks fantastic, but still not like ours.

From what I've been told, after immigrating to North America, my Nonna's cooking was greatly influenced by her Neapolitan sister-in-law who was a wonderful cook. Could this be where the name came from? I'm guessing this recipe is a combination of influences of Italian immigrants from other regions, along with the availability of ingredients in a small city at the time they immigrated. 

Whatever the reasons, it's a lovely food tradition that finds its way onto the table at family reunions reminding us of how we're connected.
If you've made pastieri or recognize this dish, please leave me a comment. If you try this for the first time, let me know about it. 

Cut in rectangles and serve cold. Eat with your hands.

The recipe

Pastieri makes an interesting addition to an Easter Brunch. It keeps well in the fridge, making it a good prepare-ahead dish.

  • Cook 1 lb (or 500 g) linguini in salted water. Once cooked, rinse in cold water to cool (so it won't cook the eggs when they’re mixed together). Drain well.
  • Beat 1 dozen eggs
  • Add:
- Ricotta, 1 container (16-ounce or 500 gram)
- Grated cheese, 1 cup or more of parmesan, use romano if you like a stronger cheese
- Italian parsley, chopped, 1 bunch or 1/2 cup (to your liking)
- Black pepper, to taste

  • Mix all ingredients together and let rest for about 20 minutes.
  • Pour into a greased 9x13 baking pan. Press down on the pasta mixture with your hands (to get the air out) and smooth the top.
  • Bake at 350°F for 1 hour.
  • Remove from oven and cool.
  • Serve cold, cut into rectangular pieces. Eat with your hands.