I love Easter time. I love the sense of renewal, of new beginnings, of warm sun in between the breeze. It’s a great time of year, especially for Italian goodies. Traditionally, Neapolitans make pizza chiena, a pie that is filled with ricotta, mozzarella, chunks of salami and ham, and eggs. I saw this week that the bakeries and shops in Little Italy were selling it. It’s also called pizza rustica. The one pictured is from La Bella Ferrara in Little Italy.
There’s also another pie, a wheat pie, called a pastiera or pizza grano (though that’s not what my family called it) that is a sweet ricotta and wheat pie. The wheat filling can be bought in cans or jars imported from Italy to be incorporated into the pie. Both Di Palo’s and Alleva Dairy on Grand Street in Little Italy have it.
We also make an Easter bread, called casatiello, that is a ring filled with the same things as the pizza chiena that encases some hard-boiled eggs. I notice that some bakeries sell this as a sweet bread without the pizza chiena filling. Ferrara’s on Grand Street has it. The one pictured below comes from La Bella Ferrara on Mulberry Street.
Some people also make struffoli at Easter, though my family has not traditionally done that.