Pizza di Pasqua

Pizza di Pasqua – my aunt CC BY-SA 3.0


  • flour
  • pecorino cheese
  • parmesan cheese
  • hard-boiled eggs
  • ciauscolo
  • red wine


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Easter pizza in some areas is also called crescia di Pasqua or Easter cake or cheesecake or crescia brusca. It is a savory leavened bread typical of many regions of central Italy. It is made of flour, eggs, pecorino cheese, parmesan cheese, traditionally served for breakfast on Easter morning or as an appetizer during Easter lunch, accompanied by blessed hard-boiled egg ciauscolo red wine or, again, served in the picnic of Easter Monday.
The cheese Easter pizza is a standard product of Marche and Umbria (where it has obtained the recognition P.A.T. or traditional food product). There is also a sweet version.
This product’s peculiarity is its shape, given by the particular mold in which it is leavened and then baked in the oven: originally in earthenware, today in aluminum; it has a flared shape.


Easter pizza originated in medieval times by the nuns of Santa Maria Maddalena of Serra de’ Conti in Ancona. The name crescia (by which it is known in the whole Marche region) refers to the dough’s remarkable “growth,” that is, the leavening process, during baking in the oven.
The most ancient information about the preparation of crescia di Pasqua is found in a recipe book written by the nuns and dated back to 1848, titled Memorie delle cresce di Pasqua fatte nel 1848 and, later on, in an anonymous recipe book of 1864 titled Il Cuoco delle Marche.

The recipe over the centuries
Ancient recipe

Ancient cookbooks dating back to the 1800s contain the following recipe: “for three grows, and one for the Father Confessor, we need 16 pounds of flour, one half of milk, 40 eggs, 3 ounces of salt, pepper, one and a half ounces of fat, 3 pounds of dry cheese and 8 pounds of fresh cheese, including the eyes, two sheets of foil, and half a Paolo of good saffron, and this is enough for 24 people and the Father Confessor”. The 40 eggs included in this recipe were meant to commemorate the 40 days of Lent.
A recipe reported in the Memorie delle cresce di Pasqua made in 1848, instead, indicates: “flour 50 pounds, grated old cheese 10 pounds, fresh cheese as judged, milk three jugs and a half, oil 4 pounds and a half, as many eggs as needed, salt 1 pound and 3 ounces, pepper 3 ounces.”

Modern recipe

Nowadays, the main ingredients are flour, eggs, grated pecorino cheese, grated Parmesan cheese (or grana padano), pecorino romano cheese in pieces, extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, natural yeast, and milk. Some recipes also include other ingredients, such as saffron, or their substitution with similar ingredients, such as lard or butter instead of oil and Emmental cheese in pieces instead of pecorino cheese.
The dough must be kneaded for a long time to allow the glutinous mesh formation and promote leavening. The dough is then divided and put into special molds that, covered and kept in a humid place, are subject to a long process of leavening and then cooked, always according to tradition, in a wood-burning oven (in ancient times, they were brought to the baker to cook).

The sweet variant of Easter pizza – cantalamessa CC BY-SA 3.0

The sweet variant of Easter pizza
In Umbria and Marche’s areas, there is also a sweet variant. In addition to the presence of sugar, with or without candied fruit, the sweet pizza has a fiocca or a meringue glaze and beads of sugar.

Regional Recipe from Marche, Umbria, Lazio, Abruzzo, Molise


Cicerchiata – Giacaz Public Domain

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Cicerchiata is a typical Italian carnival cake, recognized as a traditional food product for Abruzzi, Marches, and Molise, and spread in Umbria and internal immigration from these regions, in Rome.
It is similar to the Neapolitan struffoli, a Christmas sweet with balls more prominent than the cicerchiata.


According to the Atlas of traditional products of Abruzzo (ARSSA – Abruzzo Region, 2004), the origin of the product is to be found in Abruzzo, in particular in the area of Sangro “thanks to the development of beekeeping that, yesterday as today, made available honey of excellent quality.” The origin of the name in those areas is the dialectal words used for the circle shapes, as well as there is a musical instrument called vatta-cicerchie (circle beater)
According to others, instead, referring to more ancient times, it would originate from the historical Umbria (roughly, the Umbria east of Tiber river and Marche). Thus, only it is subsequent spreading from Umbria to central Marche, to Abruzzo, and finally to Molise would have contributed to the opinion that it is sweet from Abruzzo.
According to others, cicerchiata is instead a sweet from the Marches.

Its appearance.
The cake uses flour, eggs, and olive oil, in some butter and sugar, liqueur, or lemon juice. This dough is obtained with tiny balls of about one centimeter in diameter fried in olive oil or lard. So drained, they are mixed with hot honey and arranged in a circle. As the honey cools, it cements the balls together and gives solidity to the structure. Some variants add different ingredients to the basic recipe, as it often happens with traditional and ancient sweets.

The etymology of the name
Marsican Cicerchia
A very similar sweet is mentioned in the tables of Gubbio as ritual and sacrificial food with the name, in ancient Umbrian language, of strusla. It is the continuation of sruikela, diminutive of struex, a variant of the most common strues, that means “mucchio.” The most excellent current scholar of the Umbrian language, Prof. Augusto Ancillotti, also states that the Italian “costruire” is “ammucchiare insieme.”
In all probability, the name cicerchiata has medieval origins. It derives from cicerchia (Lathyrus sativus), a legume similar to peas (Pisum sativum), and chickpeas (Cicer arietinum). They are very common at that time in the Umbrian – Marches area and also in southern Italy. Still, today, it is cultivated in Latium, Marches, Umbria, Molise, and Apulia, not on a large scale but as a typical specialty. According to what has been said, the meaning of “cicerchiata” would therefore be that of “pile of cicerchie.”

Similar sweets
There is a remarkable resemblance with Neapolitan struffoli, which would derive the name from the Greek adjective στρόγγυλος (stróngylos), meaning “of roundish shape.” Linguistically they have the same root from the Umbrian word strusla and therefore probably a common Indo-European origin.
In Greece, there is a similar cake called Λουκουμάδες (Lukumádes). Similar to cicerchiata are also Kurdish Loqme, Turkish Lokma, and Persian Lvkvmandas.

Regional Recipe from Abruzzo, Marche, Molise
Production area Abruzzo Frentana area, Marche region (all the regional territory and in particular the Ancona area), Foligno mountains

Cicerchie –

Cicerchie is one of the most ancient legumes of history: there’s proof of cicerchie beans in the Fertile Crescent archaeological sites dating back to 8000 BC. Moreover, they have an incredible resistance to droughts, so people relied on cicerchie as their main sustenance for months in tough times.
Forgotten for a long time, they are being rediscovered little by little, mainly thanks to the extraordinary nutritional values that turn this rustic legume into a wholesome meat alternative that is an excellent energy source and protein source. Chock full of vitamins, minerals like phosphorus and calcium, and edible fibers, it is no surprise that cicerchie called “the meat of peasants.”
They are a wild variety of chickpeas, very similar in taste and shape, with a more assertive personality and more earthy and rich notes—recipes for cicerchie range from warm soups and stews to salads bruschette.


Serves 10 people

One bag of cicerchie (1lb)
5 liters of water
Rosemary, or other preferred herbs
Leek, or garlic, or onions
Sea salt
Extra virgin olive oil

How to make Cicerchiata

Compared to other legumes, cicerchie need a longer cooking time at higher temperatures, especially to reach high digestibility.

  1. Soak in fresh water overnight or for as long as 24 hours
  2. Discard the soaking water and place cicerchie in the heaviest and thickest pot you have
  3. Cover with fresh water and bring to a boil
  4. Add aromatic herbs or leek to the boiling water.
  5. Cover with a lid and cook on a low flame; water has to be simmering.
  6. Cicerchie will be cooked when they have an evenly tender texture but still have a bite. Approximately 45 minutes / 1 hour
  7. You can salt cicerchie while they are boiling or at the end of cooking, while they cool down in their own juices.
  8. Once cooled, drain* and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Serve it on a slice of toasted bread as a flavorful side dish, or add a little additional broth and serve as a soup

*The cooking water of legumes is extremely rich in flavors and nutrients: it makes an excellent broth or base for any recipe. Do not discard and store in the refrigerator or freezer for further use.

Molise Salami

The best sausages are made in the Upper Molise, where it is still maintained the tradition of the butchery. An excellent reputation is for the brawn, especially in Castel del Giudice, Capracotta, and Agnone. There are also great tasting smoked ham, similar to a ventricina Abruzzo and certainly no less spicy occurs in Montenero di Bisaccia. Sessano has a particular specialty of pork liver sausage, known as “frascateglie” in the local dialect, quite similar to mazzafegati and fegatazzi of neighboring regions. Their use is widespread in the company of polenta.

At Rionero they prepares a special sausage, flavored by fennel and preserved in fat.

All the following salamis are from pork.

Cacciatorini DOP

Cacciatorini sausages are famous for their characteristic taste and small size, which is quickly seasoned and can always be consumed fresh since devoured one at a time. Moreover, this sausage’s name derives precisely from the widespread rural use of hunters who used to bring short links with them in their excursions because, considering their reduced size, they could place them easily in their sacks.

Coppa di Campobasso

In Campobasso, the pig’s head, cut off from the body, was hung in a hook and garnished with an orange in its mouth, two chilies in its nostrils, and a laurel branch each ear. This tradition is almost no existent today, but we can find it in some famous sayings, “vulesse vere la capa to’ appesa a la chianca ru Muccechille cu temone ‘mmocca.”


Molise’s version of Capocollo or Coppa, spiced with chili rather than black pepper.


It’s from fatty meat from the pig’s belly, shaped in rectangles or coiled. Essentially it is un-smoked bacon; it is served raw as an antipasto or cooked in numerous dishes.

Pampanella di San Martino

Small pork chops coated with chili pepper and garlic paste, roasted, then rubbed with salt and vinegar.

Prosciutto Affumicato

Smoked hams rubbed with wine and chili.


Grade pork (leg, loin, neck, etc.) Are minced and mixed with diced hard fat. It is seasoned with salt, pepper and stuffed into natural casings, but did not put in the press. It’s a version of Molise Guilmi fine sausage.

Salsiccia di fegato di Rionero Sannitico

Fennel-flavored sausage conserved under a layer of fat.

Salsiccia Stufata

Cooked sausage that may include pork liver.


Blood pudding scented with raisins, orange zest, parsley, chili, and garlic.

Soppressata di Rionero Sannitico

It’s a salami from lean pork meat and pork fat (preferably from small black pigs). A knife cuts the flesh rather than ground, then spiced, stuffed into casings, and pressed under a weight to obtain its characteristic flattened shape (hence the name).

Ventricina Molisana di Montenero di Bisaccia

Spreadable pork sausage similar to Ciauscolo; flavored with chili. A dry, good smelling, tasty sausage, seasoned by cold winds going upstream from the sea, fragrant and colored by “pepedigne” which all it penetrates.

Zuppa Di Ortiche


Conchigliette160 g
Ortiche 600 g
Pancetta salata 100 g
Pomodori 3
Brodo 1 l
Cipolla 1/2
Burro 1 Noce
Sale q.b.
Pepe q.b

How to make the Zuppa di ortiche:

Grate finely chopped onion into butter, combine thinly chopped bacon, chopped tomatoes, and nettle leaves and bake for 4 ‘.

Add broth and cook over medium heat for 30 minutes, adding salt and pepper.

Cook  and pour into the broth.

Serves 4

regional recipe from Molise

Tacchino Arrosto


One turkey, not very big
Six cloves of garlic
Freshly ground black pepper

How to make the Tacchino arrosto:

Prepare the turkey. Wash and clean the turkey and open it out with a clean-cut down the cartilage of the breastbone. Beat it out with a wooden mallet and dust inside and out with salt and pepper.
Place the turkey in a roasting tin, add the cloves of garlic, squash. Cover the turkey with water and bake in the oven at 200°C (400°F) for about six hours.
Turn the turkey over and cover with the juices in the pan to keep it moist. The tacchino arrosto must be colored on all sides.

Serves 4

Regional recipe from Molise

Polpi In Purgatorio – Octopuses In Purgatory

Pesca record di Polpi – Record catch of Octopus – Salvatore Migliari CC BY 3.0


  • 1 lb baby octopuses
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 onions
  • chili pepper, red
  • 1 sprig parsley
  • salt and pepper

How to make the Polpi in Purgatorio:

30 minutes preparation + 2 hours cooking

Clean the octopus in salted water and rinse well. Saute in the finely chopped onion in a pan with oil and pepperoncini.

Then add the octopus, parsley, and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Cover the pan with a lid and cook over low heat for 2 hours, stirring the octopus from time to time with a wooden spoon.

Add a little water and let evaporate. Serve warm.

Serves 4

Regional recipe from Abruzzo and Molise

Food history

The red peperoncino or spicy chili pepper is an essential ingredient in this dish: polpi in Purgatorio (or “octopus in purgatory”). Originally from America, chili peppers have been grown since 5,500 a.c. They were brought to Europe by Christopher Columbus, who described them in his diary as “spicier than our pepper.” The peperoncino had immediate success in the Old World, especially among the lower classes of the population, thanks to their strong flavor and low cost due to how easily they can be grown. However, because the wealthy did not appreciate their spicy flavor as much as others, the peperoncino eventually gained the nickname “the drug of the poor,” who used them in large quantities to give taste to bland foods.

Recipe Agnello Brodettato


  • 2 lbs. shoulder baby lamb
  • 1 1/2 lemons
  • 1 oz. lard
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 oz. prosciutto, chopped
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • parsley, chopped
  • marjoram
  • salt
  • pepper

How to make Agnello Brodettato:

Rub the lamb with half a lemon. Wash, dry and cut the meat into 2 oz. pieces. Melt the lard in a saucepan, add the prosciutto and onion and brown the lamb. Add salt and pepper. When the lamb is evenly browned, splash it with white wine. Cook till the agnello brodettato is tender, about an hour over a low heat, adding a few spoonfuls of hot water if necessary. Beat the egg yolks in a bowl with chopped parsley and marjoram, a tsp. of grated lemon peel and the juice of a whole lemon.

When the lamb has finished cooking, turn off the heat and pour the egg mixture over it. Stir and let the eggs coagulate, but do not let them set too hard. Serve the agnello brodettato with a green salad.

Serves 4-6