Naples Holiday food with an Italian American

     While researching a new travel concierge group in Naples, Italy this year I learned many new things about Naples that I shall report in a later post.   More important is I have met a new ‘travel friend’.   Although busy cooking for 20 family members this Christmas, Tina was kind enough to share with me the menu for their feast:  tonight’s menu (we’re 20 family members tonight!) 

  • Smoked salmon on toast
  • Penne with Arugula and Feta Cheese
  • White (vegetable) Lasagna
  • Linguine with Clams
  • ****
  • Cauliflower salad (Insalata di rinforzo)
  • Parmigiana di Melanzane
  • Mozzarella tidbits (bocconcini)
  • Tuna Quenelles with Wine Sauce
  • ****
  • Cassata Napoletana
  • Struffoli
  • Panettone 
  • Pandoro
  • Christmas cakes (Roccoco-Mustacciuoli-Paste Reali)
  • Fresh Tangerines-Walnuts-Stuffed Dates-Almonds

As you can see, there is no meat served on Christmas eve!

  • Tomorrow’s menu is:
  • Tortellini in Chicken Broth
  • Stuffed Cornish Hen
  • Fried Zucchini Sticks
  • Baked Beans
  • …and all the leftover desserts *O*!!!

I had asked about a game I only heard about for the time last year:

Tombola                 Tina describes this game for us:
    Typically, tombola, a type of Bingo is played in most Neapolitan homes, and in most of Italy as well! All members take part, nonnas, nonnos, aunts, uncles, down to the small children who have an adult who helps them with the numbers. 

The numbers which are called out are “covered” with dried beans! A lot of fun!! The prizes are made with the money used to “buy” the cards!!  BUON NATALE!!

 Now I need to look up all the dishes listed above!
Thank you Tina. 

I look forward to the menu for Easter!

“Pastiera” the traditional Napoli Easter cake and “Casatiello” which is a savoury bread loaded with salame and cheese. They are both staples on any Napoli (or surroundings) Easter table!!

Pastiera is a pie made with a filling of cracked wheat cooked in milk, ricotta, eggs, sugar, a pinch of cinnamon and candied citron. The magical ingredient which is added at the end  is “Acqua di fiori d’aracio” a distilled orange blossom essence!! Heavenly smell and taste!! Each family has its own recipie, usually handed down from generations, and proportions vary according to personal taste.  Some prefer a deep dish pie, others opt for a lower version.  Usually it is prepared on the Thursday that preceeds Easter so it has time to “rest” and all the flavors merge into a fantastic, unique taste. The pastry shop windows have pastieras of all sizes, even single portions and it is found in any restaurant during springtime, but any Neapolitan woman worth her salt makes it at home!!

Casatiello is the “Easter” version of a bread called Tortano during the rest of the year.  The big difference is that Casatiello is decorated with hard-boiled eggs with a pastry cross over them to honor the crucifixion and resurrection.  It is an incredible taste experience, although it is loaded with cholesterol!! The bread dough is made with lard, and it is filled with pieces of salame, those heavenly pices of pig fat and meat called cicoli, loads of cheese, provolone and pecorino and a good dose of pepper. Casatiello is a good deal more complicated to make than Pastiera, and many people buy them at bakeries today.

So, here is the traditional Easter menu in Napoli!!

Antipasto of different cold cuts-salame, capocollo, prosciutto, hard boiled eggs, ricotta salata (dried salted ricotta cheese) and fresh fava beans which are shelled at the table and eaten raw.  All this is accompanied by Casatiello.

Entree- either Minestra Maritata made with green vegetables and pork meat or Minestra Primavera, made with fresh peas, artichokes, fava beans and new potatoes.

Roast Lamb with peas and/or potatoes


“I am in the process of preparing my pastieras and casatielli. I make 6 or 7 of the first and 3 or the second.  We give them as presents to good friends… if you were here you’d get some, too!! (I’m including a pic of my kitchen with the eggs I bought yesterday to make everything!!!)”

Published by Lee Laurino

A traveler not a tourist, searching for experiences not in travel books. Solo traveler who travels as long and far as possible sharing photos of the people and places I discover

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