Thursday, April 2, 2015

buona pasqua

My Italian-Aerican family celebrates Easter with as much enthusiasm and tradition as we do Christmas (Eve and day). So as I sit here in BWI waiting for my flight home, I'm full of excitement for the upcoming weekend. 

Gogo and I have a tradition of shopping on Federal Hill, Providence's Italian section, for special Easter ingredients and then having lunch together before going home and making the macaroni pastera, a crustless pie made from fresh egg noodles cooked in the water in which the Easter ham is cooked and mixed with eggs, cinnamon, Parmesan, and other spices. This is baked Saturday morning, and eaten at noon. Back when Mama Rose and Nonna were alive, we ate it to break not only a fast but also a silence imposed on Good Friday. 

When my dad was alive, he made a secret punch for Saturday night that made everyone...well...really drunk. And Cousin Chip made an enormous paella. In fact we called that night paella night, and it was a badge of honor to survive it without embarrassing yourself. 

These days, Easter Eve is tamer. We host dinner for 8-12 cousins and friends, usually a leg of lamb or pork roast. We color eggs before, and though there have been years that found us dancing in a conga line through my neighborhood, there have also been a few years when a handful of us slept at the beach in our VW van. 

Either way, Easter breakfast will have that ham, and rice pastera, frittatas, fresh cheese, my special cheese soufflĂ©. And a few of us, or many, will be there to share it. 

I hope your own Easter table is full--with family and love and the food that feeds your heart.