Obscure Italian Easter Foods

Earlier this week, I wrote about the Italian Easter pies, pizza grano (pastiera) and pizza chiena (pizza rustica), which are both served on Easter Sunday.  There are lesser-known foods that Italians eat at Easter.  Last year, I wrote about casatiello, a peppery Neapolitan Easter bread made with meat and cheese.  Here’s a recipe for casatiello.  Unlike pizza chiena, it’s a bread–not a pie, though some ingredients are similar.  It often has a hard-boiled egg in it for decoration.  I have seen Italian Easter bread at area bakeries, but it is not the casatiello my family made.  The bread I’m seeing at the bakeries is more like a plain bread with the hard-boiled egg in it. 

Easter bread

In addition to casatiello, there’s another dish served on Easter; however, it’s probably something you won’t be serving any time soon.  It’s called capuzelle, or lamb’s head.  Yes, it is sheep’s head.  My late aunt was one of only two people in my family who actually liked eating capuzelle.  My grandfather, who came from a mountain town in Southern Italy, ate capuzelle, including the eyes.  Ewe, gross, no pun intended.  I don’t know anyone who eats this anymore.  Like cotenne, which I’ve written about before, it was something that was eaten when people utilized all parts of an animal.  Here’s an essay about it that was published in Gourmet in 2009.  I am glad I don’t have a picture of this, but if you are interested, do a search on Google if you dare.  If you’re adventurous, Staten Island restaurant Enoteca Maria serves it.


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