La Pasquetta – Celebrating Easter Monday the Italian Way

In Italy, Easter Monday is known as La Pasquetta, which is literally translated as Little Easter. After the solemn and reflective Easter season (Pasqua), it’s an informal community fete, enjoyed outdoors with family and friends. 

La Pasquetta – Celebrating Easter Monday the Italian Way| Foodal.com

Embraced with a joyful spirit, this national holiday sees families pack up the leftovers from the Easter feast into picnic baskets and head off to parks, beaches, vineyards and roadside meadows to enjoy the spring sunshine and warm breezes. 

Also known as Lunedi dell ‘Angelo, or Monday of the Angels, it’s a day to remember the two Marys who, upon finding the sepulchre of Christ to be empty, were comforted by angels.

But its origins actually date back before the time of Christ to ancient Roman culture. When the spring equinox arrived, the feast of Lupercalia was held to mark the end of winter, and to rejoice in the coming season of rebirth.

La Pasquetta – Celebrating Easter | Foodal.com

Today, the two traditions have converged into a day of rest, relaxation and appreciation for the abundance of nature, with time away from the kitchen spent enjoying a prolonged luncheon al fresco – and it’s a great way to use up those Easter leftovers!

The Picnic

In Italian tradition, the Pasquetta meal features eggs – hard boiled, or colored ones baked in an Italian Easter bread, and baked frittata, a crust-less quiche.

Celebrating La Pasquetta - Italian Easter Eggs | Foodal.com

Varieties of salami and cheeses, lovely breads, pastas, calzones and the leftovers from Easter dinner and also included. And, of course, a bottle of red wine! 

Asparagus Cheese Frittata Recipe | Foodal.com

Blankets are laid out, folding tables are set with flowers, and games of soccer and bocce ball are played while others kick back with cards or dominoes. Sweet biscotti finishes off the meal, with both vanilla and chocolate varieties of these crunchy sweets.

So, if you have the day off, consider spending it Roman-style with a picnic to celebrate the season. Even if you have to work, you can pack up some leftovers and spend your lunch outdoors, appreciating the wonders of spring.

La Pasquetta – Italian Easter Monday | Foodal.com

And to get you in the picnic mood, here are a couple favorite Easter recipes that are still enjoyed in Italy today – Buona Pasqua!

Good Friday Calzone

This recipe for a savory meatless calzone, which is basically a stuffed pizza, is traditional to the core.

Good Friday Calzone Recipe|Foodal.com

Being meat free, it was served during Lent, and with the inclusion of anchovies, it became a favorite for meals on Good Friday. If there was any left over when Pasquetta arrived, it would be included in the picnic basket as well.

Good Friday Calzone | Foodal.com

This goes well with a Caesar or bean salad, cheese stuffed ravioli, and a glass of red wine. You will need a 12” wide baking sheet, or a pizza stone.

Good Friday Calzone Recipe|Foodal.com
Good Friday Calzone
Votes: 3
Rating: 3.67
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Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
8 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
60 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
60 minutes
Good Friday Calzone Recipe|Foodal.com
Good Friday Calzone
Votes: 3
Rating: 3.67
You:
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
8 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
60 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
60 minutes
Ingredients
  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup room temperature dry white wine
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 6 Bunches scallions or green onions
  • 1/2 cup room temperature dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup pitted Kalamata olives chopped
  • 1/4 cup anchovy filets** chopped
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme leaves only and minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot chili pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • pinch of sea salt
  • Cooking spray
Servings: people
Units:
Instructions
  1. Clean scallions and cut into 1 ½” pieces.
  2. Heat a large skillet to medium. Add the olive oil, chopped scallions, garlic, tomatoes, olives and the wine. *The anchovies are optional and can be replaced with ½ cup Crimini or button mushrooms, chopped. If replacing the anchovies, add the chopped mushrooms with the scallions.
  3. Add salt, ground pepper, pepper flakes and thyme to taste.
  4. Cook over medium heat for 15 minutes.
  5. Remove from the stove, drain excess juice and let cool.
  6. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, olive oil and the wine.
  7. Spray the baking sheet with cooking spray and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  8. Cut the dough in half. With a rolling pin, roll one half into a thin round sheet of dough large enough to cover the bottom of your baking sheet. Gently lay the dough on the sheet and spread the scallion mix uniformly on the dough, keeping a ½” seam allowance from the edges free of the mixture. Spread the anchovies over the scallion mixture.
  9. Take the other half of the dough and roll it out into a round sheet in a similar manner. Cover the filling with the second sheet of dough. Seal the two edges and cut away any excess dough.
  10. Using your fingertips, apply a very thin film of olive oil over the entire surface of the calzone. Gently puncture the surface every 2" with a fork and bake for 60 minutes.
Recipe Notes

This is an old-fashioned, unleavened dough and won’t ‘puff’ up in baking the way North American pizza dough does.

 

 

Be sure to check out our spinach calzone recipe for another meatless idea.

Asparagus Cheese Frittata

Asparagus Cheese Frittata | Foodal.com

This traditional frittata is often prepared the day before Easter Sunday and served cold – a perfect addition to the Pasquetta picnic basket, with sliced tomatoes and cucumbers drizzled with olive oil, and chunks of focaccia bread.

If you love the taste of asparagus like I do, check out more recipe ideas in Foodal’s asparagus guide.

Asparagus Cheese Frittata Recipe | Foodal.com
Asparagus Cheese Frittata
Votes: 6
Rating: 3.33
You:
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
8 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes
Asparagus Cheese Frittata Recipe | Foodal.com
Asparagus Cheese Frittata
Votes: 6
Rating: 3.33
You:
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
8 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • pinch of sea salt
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 bunch fresh asparagus
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/4 pound spicy Italian sausage meat broken up
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 6 sprigs fresh parsley chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil chopped
  • 1 bunch green onions whites and 1/3 of green tops, chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh Mozzarella cut into 1/2” cubes
  • Cooking spray
Servings: people
Units:
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Whisk the eggs together with ¼ cup heavy cream, salt and pepper to taste, and the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, then set aside
  3. Lightly roast the asparagus. Cut off the coarse tips and drizzle with a little olive oil and salt and pepper. Bake at 400 degrees F. for about 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven and cut into 1 ½”, and set aside
  4. Heat a large skillet to medium high and sauté the sausage in olive oil until no longer pink, breaking it up as it cooks. Drain the sausage and set aside. Add the butter coating the sides of the skillet as it melts.
  5. Return the skillet to medium high heat, add the garlic and green onions and sauté for two minutes.
  6. Add the parsley and basil, stirring well, then add eggs, stirring briefly. Add the asparagus, sausage and cubed cheese and stir to distribute ingredients evenly.
  7. Continue cooking over medium high heat, watching that your eggs don’t burn. Allow the eggs to cook until the bottom and sides are set, but the middle is still runny, about 3 – 5 minutes.
  8. Place the frittata still in the skillet, in a 400 degree F. oven and cook until completely set and the centre is firm, 10 – 12 minutes. A butter knife inserted into the center should come out clean when done.
Recipe Notes

A cast iron skillet works best for this dish as it needs to transfer from the stove into the oven. A little cooking spray will help the frittata to come out clean, and the skillet must be hot before the eggs are added to ensure they don’t stick.

After the frittata has cooled, slip out onto a plate, or place a plate over the top and invert to release it from the skillet.

The photos shown here use a personal sized cast iron pan (typically labeled as a number 5 or 6) and this is an option IF you have enough of them to serve your family and/or guests. However, the recipe is written for one large skillet as that is what most people have. If you do use the smaller cast iron frying pans, you may need to adjust your baking times.

 

 

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About Lorna Kring

Recently retired as a costume specialist in the TV and film industry, Lorna now enjoys blogging on contemporary lifestyle themes. A bit daft about the garden, she’s particularly obsessed with organic tomatoes and herbs, and delights in breaking bread with family and friends.

31 thoughts on “La Pasquetta – Celebrating Easter Monday the Italian Way”

  1. Wow, both the calzone and the frittata look wonderful and both can easily be made vegetarian (and in my case reasonably easily dairy free as well). They make me not want to wait until Good Friday! I can see 2 late additions going onto this weeks shopping list.
    Thank you.

    Reply
    • You’re right Connie, they easily convert to vegetarian, and with the calzone the ingredients can be mixed and matched to whatever your favorite pizza flavors are. Enjoy!

      Reply
  2. Great recipes! I make frittata already, however mine never look as good and get a bit rubbery. I do love calzone, but this version looks more like a pie, which is easier to eat than the ones I have seen which look like a pasty. I can easily adapt it to make it vegetarian, and it would be great for picnics and snacks too.

    Reply
    • You’re right Bella, it’s easily adaptable to pretty much any ingredients. And you can make two calzone’s from this recipe in the half moon shape, just fill to an imaginary middle line and fold over, then seal the edges. And with spring here, they are great for the picnic basket!

      Reply
  3. I’m a big fan of calzone but I’ve never seen one that was fully circular before – they ones I buy tend to be folded. It looks fantastic though, and really easy to make. Omit the anchovies for an excellent vegetarian dish.

    Reply
  4. The calzone recipe is definatly going into my private collection. I’ll be honest, though. I’m probably going to have to add some kind of meat to it. My family is very serious about their meat. Lol

    Reply
    • This calzone can definitely have meat added kana_marie. Try ground beef or Italian sausage with feta for some tangy taste!

      Reply
  5. Wow I had no idea there were so many Italian easter food traditions. That calzone looks awesome, and that’s coming from someone who doesn’t always like vegetarian dishes.

    Just wondering, aside from the red wine, what would be a good non alcoholic drink to bring to the picnic for the kids?

    Reply
    • If you want to keep the Italian flavor going, try San Pelligrino: they have the sparkling water and flavored soft drinks as well. Cin-Cin!

      Reply
  6. Wow, italians really know how to celebrate easter!
    That calzone looks really good, can’t wait to try it! I’m not a fan of the asparagus dish though, it doesn’t look appealing to me.
    Thanks for the recipes!

    Reply
    • They do know how to have a good time, especially when food is involved! And the frittata works well with other veggies too – mushrooms, peppers, spinach…

      Reply
  7. I have never heard of this. Thanks for sharing. I love the way that southern Europe seems to have all these great holidays that are all about being with loved ones, whether or not you hold the same religious views. We are doing a big Easter dinner and I have no doubt there will be leftovers. I am definitely going to make the quiche to go with it, but I think I am going to make it with mushrooms and cheese instead. Great post.

    Reply
  8. Glad you like it TinVanMan. And the family and community celebrations have great appeal, don’t they? An appreciation for the simple pleasures…

    Reply
  9. Good Lord is this an event I would love to attend. Both of those recipes are something I’m absolutely going to do. The fritatta with asparagus I’ve done before but I enjoy following other people’s recipes for things. It gives you an idea of others preferences. Can’t wait to try the calzone either.

    Reply
    • While you start of with Good Lord JoanMcWench, i want to finish off with a hallelujah amen!… that makes two of us, from the Calzone to the asparagus frittata down right to the chocolate biscotti with some red wine…i want it all 🙂 … off the record, how much does a one way ticket {flight} to Italy cost?…am curious!

      Reply
      • Only one way diane?! I’m not sure about flights to Italy these days, but we’re planning a picnic in Sedona for Easter Monday… and I’m certain the spirit of La Pasquetta can be enjoyed anywhere!

        Reply
        • I guess i’ll have to do some homework on that {flight tickets + stay}…its not just La Pasquetta calling, i have heard so much praise about Italy, i just have to get there somehow, one day maybe, until then, its a wish upon a star i guess 😉

          Reply
    • Any holiday in Italy is an event, and spring just adds to the fun! Let us know what you think of the calzone JoanMcWench.

      Reply
      • Yay! I made this today: Easter morning. I added eggs to ‘breakfast’ it up a bit but they destroyed this thing. The eggs were a perfect addition to the ingredients. I just lightly scrambled them into the tomatoes. My daughter kept calling it Easter pie pizza. Thanks for the recipe!

        Reply
  10. The photos here are beautiful. I had no idea that Italians had an additional Easter tradition the following day. I wonder if it has to do with the idea that they are on holiday the Monday after Easter Sunday. In the States, except for kids, who sometimes have spring break, Americans don’t really have a set holiday for Easter.

    Reply
    • I think it’s as much about enjoying an extra day off as it is about Easter juno, and celebrating the arrival of spring.

      Reply
  11. It was great to learn about the Easter Monday celebration. I love the idea of packing up the leftovers and heading out into nature. I might actually pack mine up, and head to the beach or a local park, it sounds very relaxing. I’m a fan of both frittatas and calzones, and your recipes look delicious and healthy. I’m going to save them for when I have the ingredients.

    Reply
  12. Glad you enjoyed the post Diane, and I hope you have a good time relaxing outdoors. I’m a huge fan of picnics too, and not having to cook anything for it makes them even better!

    Reply
  13. This is such a cheerful tradition! I really like how Italians are so ben essere-minded. However, I actually did not know about it as Easter and the following Pasquetta rolled around when I lived in Rome. Found myself stuck with no food to eat because all stores were closed and, living in a shared apartment and shared fridge, I did not have any real provision! So I missed out on the chance of making a nice picnic. Did get a kebab, though (bless Muslims who don’t celebrate Catholic holidays!)

    The asparagus frittata looks downright delicious. I wish I could get decent asparagus so I could try it out, here!

    Reply
  14. It’s Italian and there’s food involved – what’s not to love? The frittata looks awesome, although I would have to leave out the anchovies because I can’t stand them. In Italy any celebration is always undertaken with gusto and passion, and that’s part of the reason why I love the country and its people!

    Reply
  15. I’m sorry but that one is not a calzone. Calzone is not like a cake and the dough is more like bread or pizza, most of the time is fried.
    That one seems like a torta rustica, a salty pie. Anyway, it looks delicious the same.

    Reply
    • This recipe uses two crusts rather than the traditional folded Naples crust Chiara, but it isn’t cake-like. The dough is flat and pizza-like, and the filling isn’t layered like a traditional torta rustica… but as you say, it is delicious!

      Reply
  16. Thanks for sharing some special dishes for Easter Monday – or every day in spring when it’s nice enough for an Italian picnic! Sharing with my Conversational Italian! group on Facebook.

    Reply

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