The Easter holiday is one of the great culinary times of the year, and Italian Easter traditions are full of delicious savory, sweet and symbolic dishes.
In this article, you’ll learn the history and traditions behind Italian Easter dishes, as well as where to find the best Italian recipes for Easter time.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Easter is one of the most important holidays of the year for us Italians.
Easter celebrations begin the Sunday before the “Palm Sunday” in memory of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, which was greeted by the waving of palm leaves.
This is the beginning of Holy Week, during which various rituals take place.
Thursday commemorates the anniversary of the “Last Supper” and the “Celebration of the Eucharist”.
Good Friday is the day of the Via Crucis (Stations of the Cross): the streets are lit up with torches and the processions follow the story of Jesus’ trial, calvary and death.
At Saturday midnight the bells announce the Resurrection.
Sunday is the most important day, when the long period of fasting is broken and eggs and sweets in the shape of doves and eggs are distributed.
Easter Monday, which we call Pasquetta and means “little Easter” is named after the meeting of the winged messenger with the women who came to the empty tomb.
It became a holiday on the national calendar only after World War II, to extend the spring vacation. Since then, the use of out-of-town and outdoor trips has spread.
On top of all the religious activities that take place, one of the most important parts of Easter is usually the food.
We’ll explore the cultural significance of the most iconic Italian Easter foods, from traditional Easter bread to savory lamb dishes.
If you are looking for really easy and special Easter Italian recipes, you are in the right place!
Italian Easter Recipes
Below are my proposals for a tasty and delicious Italian Easter Menu perfect for Easter lunch or dinner.
To start lunch in the best way in Italy, you can’t miss appetizers, usually served with an aperitif drink.
#1 Pizza Rustica
Standing tall with a mix of eggs, meats, and cheeses, Pizza Rustica is an impressive dish to feed your Easter crowd. Made in a springform pan, the flaky crust features eggs for easier handling
Get the recipe: Italian Easter Pie
#2 Fava Beans
Easter is the triumph of rustic tables, which in Italy results in an incredible variety of cured meats, accompanied by seasonal vegetables and bread.
Easter accompaniments mostly involve fresh fava beans, which, from central Italy to the southern Italy, are eaten with pecorino cheese , salami, and pancetta and bread.
#3 Italian Focaccia
Can’t miss homemade bread on Italian tables.
I love making this focaccia, perfect to serve as an appetizer along with cold cuts and fava beans.
Get the recipe: Focaccia with Olives, Tomatoes & Rosemary
#4 Torta Pasqualina
Torta pasqualina is a rustic savory pie made with a puff pastry shell that hides ricotta cheese, eggs and finely chopped chard or spinach, originating in Liguria.
Get the recipe: Easter Spinach and Ricotta Pie
It is the symbol of Easter.
Whether it is hard-boiled eggs or stuffed, it doesn’t matter much.
In Italy it was traditional to take eggs to church to have them blessed, before breaking the end of lent by accompanying it with cold cuts.
#6 Torta al Formaggio (Cheese Cake)
One thing that is eaten at Easter in Italy almost everywhere is the popular cheese cake typical of Umbria.
This typical Umbrian dish is eaten as breakfast on Easter morning, along with cold cuts, cheese, hard-boiled eggs and good local wine
A specialty that has conquered Italian palates with simple ingredients such as precisely cheese (at least four types), eggs, flour salt and pepper.
A pasta that cannot be missed on the Italian Easter table, fresh pasta is prepared in some Italian homes for preparation.
Get the recipe: Lasagne
#2 Homemade Manicotti with Crepes
The crepes for this Homemade Manicotti are thick, sturdy and pasta-like.
They’re easy to make and incredibly delicious filled with four kinds of cheese and spinach and topped with tomato sauce.
Get the recipe: Manicotti
#3 Pasta al Forno (oven pasta)
A typical dish often prepared in Southern Italian tables on holidays.
Get the recipe: Rigatoni al forno
#4 Lamb Ragu
This quick and easy Lamb Ragu tastes like it’s been cooking for hours. It’s rich, hearty and there’s so many ways to serve it!
Get the recipe: Lamb ragu
#5 Bolognese Sauce
You can serve lasagna or baked pasta with this bolognese, but also great with fresh pasta.
Get the recipe: Ragù Bolognese
#6 Risotto with asparagus
A risotto that tastes like Spring – perfect for Easter Day.
Get the recipe: Spring risotto
#1 Roast Lamb
A typical Easter food in Italy, on the table of almost every Italian family on Easter Sunday, is lamb.
It is a dish pregnant with meaning, as it symbolically recalls the religious symbol of Christ.
Get the recipe: Italian Lamb
#2 Italian Lamb Shanks with Parmesan Polenta
Nothing says Easter like lamb!
Make these Italian braised lamb shanks served over cheesy polenta.
Get the recipe: Italian Lamb Shanks
#3 Smoked Lamb Chops
Easter is a time to gather with family and savor amazing meals.
If you’re looking for a unique spin on traditional Easter lamb, smoked lamb chops are the perfect way to upgrade your menu.
Get the recipe: Lamb Chops
#4 Abbacchio alla romana
Abbacchio alla romana is a typical recipe based on a baby lamb.
Its meat is very tender and is a traditional dish of Rome and Lazio and is prepared during the Easter holidays.
In the traditional recipe, the abbacchio, cut into pieces, is seasoned with a mixture of herbs, garlic cloves, oil and 1 glass of white wine, then placed in the oven for about 1 hour and finally drizzled with its own cooking juices.
#1 Ricotta Pie Recipe
For many Italian families the Easter meal is just not complete until a Ricotta Pie is served.
This authentic pie recipe is complete with sweet pasta frolla crust and a creamy ricotta filling.
Get the recipe: Ricotta pie
#2 Traditional Italian Dove Bread for Easter (colomba pasquale)
No Italian Easter is complete without a traditional Easter bread with a shape of a dove, which is the symbol of peace (called Colomba di Pasqua).
Easy to make in a bread machine, or stand mixer.
Get the recipe: Colomba
#3 Neapolitan Pie (pastiera Napoletana)
Pastiera is a traditional traditional Easter cake from Napoli.
This delicious dessert consist of wheat berries, ricotta and candied fruits.
Along with rum baba and sfogliatella, it is the classic Neapolitan dessert par excellence.
Famous throughout the world and the pride and honor of Italian pastry.
Get the recipe: Pastiera napoletana
#4 Italian Easter Bread (pane di Pasqua)
Italian Easter Bread is a rustic ring-shaped bread, a wonderful centerpiece and is easier to make than you might think!
The flavors of lemon and anise pair perfectly.
Get the recipe: Easter bread
#5 Easter chocolate eggs
Giving chocolate eggs at Easter is one of the sweetest and most beloved traditions among Italian children and represents a custom with very ancient origins that has now spread throughout Western culture.
Already in the Ancient World, the egg was regarded as a sacred object with a strong evocative meaning, as the guardian of new life.
Happy Easter to all!