Easter 2016

It is Easter Monday and seemingly everyone else is off from work except me. The subway was empty this morning; I didn’t have to do my typical wait on the train for 10 minutes in the tunnel north of St. Clair West while empty trains are sent through for more important people. The offices at work are empty and it is a slow, rainy day.

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Easter weekend was relaxing, spent outside with beautiful weather and with amazing people. On Friday we made our traditional Italian pasta appetizers, calascioni. This is something that Ninni remembers making as a young girl in Italy, when these types of expensive meats and cheese could only be bought at Easter. This tradition has been passed on to me and Giancarlo and we now share this tradition with his best friend Nick and his wife, Rachel. The day is spent rolling out homemade pasta dough, cutting out perfect circles, filling each ravioli-like pocket with the meat and cheese mixture and baking in the oven until they are golden and oozing cheese. After a few hours of hard work, we enjoyed dinner, wine and Yahtzee.

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Italian Easter Treats

Every Easter we make “calascioni” – they are the Italian equivalent of Polish pierogi or Asian dumplings (I say Asian because several countries in Asia have some form of dumplings, whether they be Chinese, or Japanese, etc). It is a tradition in GC’s family to only make these at Easter (on Good Friday, we made them this year on Easter Sunday) which is probably a good thing because they a little heart attacks wrapped in pasta.

The is the recipe written out by GC’s mom. I won’t post this recipe in such a public place even though old Italian ladies don’t use the Internet .

1. These are slightly expensive to make – all the cheese and meat are from Italy. The cost of everything to make these worked out to be around $50 but since it’s only one a year I think it’s worth it.

2. Cups of flour – GC’s grandmother helped make the dough which is traditional pasta dough with pepper in it. There is no exact measurements for the flour because his grandmother said, “I just know the amount to use.” I think after seeing her make the dough this year I will be able to make my own pasta dough next year.

3. There are two of these in my house. And when I get my Kitchen Aid mixer I will be getting the three-pack pasta maker attachment. I love this machine. GC and I have decided to make more pasta. And by more, I mean make pasta in general because we have never made it before. We had leftover pasta this year and we made fettuccine which GC had the pleasure of eating with some homemade pasta sauce made by his Nonna – I was extremely jealous of that.

4. The filling. I used hippy Omega-3 eggs and they had tiny yolks. This also caused issues with my pasta. Italian recipes need hearty, big eggs as Italians are hearty, big people. This year we accidentally bought the wrong type of cheese – instead of caciotta we bought mozzarella. GC thought caciotta referred to the shape of cheese, a cheese that was formed into a chubby little ball. This is probably also because old Italians will pinch your waist and say you are a chubby, little caciotta. Using the wrong type of cheese actually made the calascioni better. They were less dense and the cheese was creamer and stringy.

5. Bake at 325, for about 20 minutes or until they are bursting at the seams. Next year I think I want to use a round cookie cutter and make them perfectly symmetrical. These are salty, smoky, cheesy goodness.

These are best eaten right from the oven with a glass a wine – red or white, both will work wonderfully. If reheating, DO NOT USE A MICROWAVE!! Use the oven. Further advice, freeze a couple and in about July or August, pull out those four or five you had the foresight to freeze and enjoy them with a glass of wine on a warm summer night.

There are still some calascioni in our fridge and Easter was a week ago. I think that is the longest these have ever lasted but that’s because we didn’t share too many with people… Being selfish does have its rewards. Its tasty, tasty rewards.