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Showing posts from March, 2016

Pastiera Napoletana (Neapolitan Easter Wheat Pie)

Easter and its traditional foods make many references to the rebirth, not just of Christ through his resurrection, but also through continuing traditions from pre-Christian times.
One major symbol still quite evident from the pre-Christian springtime rites and linked to Easter is wheat.  It was a widespread custom in Italy to sprout some wheat berries in a dark corner of a room at the beginning of Lent.  My maternal grandmother still continued this tradition in Australia and would make its offering to the alter on Holy Thursday.  These would decorate the Easter Sunday alter at the Italian mass of her parish church. 
As a child I remember the days leading up to Easter were always solemn and not much in terms of activities nor chores were undertaken. We weren't allowed to turn on the radio or TV, it was a time of pray and reflection. So to help break the gloomy atmosphere for us children, sweets were prepared in advance.  My grandmother would make i canestrini - little baskets with an…

Lagana Chiapputa (Pasta with Vin Cotto)

La Lagana Chiapputa is one of papa's favourite sweets. It is prepared on the day of Santa Lucia, but in more recent times mamma would make it whenever papa` craved for it – frequently!  It has become his signature sweet dish claimed as his own, and is made with much passion.  This is a simple ancient desert typical of the province of Potenza,Acerenza my father’s birth town. 

Lagane is a type of fresh pasta similar to tagliatelle.  Thicker and shorter lagane are made with water and durum wheat flour and salt.  Many southern Italian regions claim paternity of this pasta and it is also known as sagne. The name is connected to ancient Latin and Greek lasagne known as laganum and laganon. In Basilicata lagane are cooked along with legumes, in particular with chickpeas.  It is said that lagane and chickpeas was the typical dish eaten by brigands raiding the Vulture woodlands in the mid XIX century.  

Photo Credit: Acerenza by Vincenzo Mazzaro

Papa' recounts stories of time spent in the…