Antipasti, Holidays

Pizza Rustica

Another traditional Easter dish is the pizza rustica. Although I often serve this as an appetizer, traditionally it’s made on Easter morning so you can have something to serve to anyone who drops by to wish you a happy holiday. After 40 days of lent, the salame would’ve been a welcome change of pace. There’s […]

Dolci, Holidays

Pizza Grano

This special dessert has many names: pizza grano, torta di nonna, Easter pie, and Neopolitan grain pie. As the last names suggest, it’s a Southern treat typically served on Easter. In fact, many years ago in San Francisco, I went looking through the Italian neighborhood for the wheat to make this pie. Nobody knew what […]

Dolci, Holidays


Two days after St. Patrick’s Day comes the Feast of San Giuseppe (St. Joseph). They were probably both Catholic holidays that were superimposed over older pagan festivals marking the vernal equinox. In any case, we celebrate them both with traditional food—corned beef on St. Pat’s, and sfingi on San Giuseppe. And in both cases, we […]

Antipasti, Holidays, Insalate

Octopus Salad

When I was a kid, we never heard of the Feast of Seven Fishes. It was simply Christmas Eve. It was held at my grandparents’ house in Brooklyn. The place was not very big, and had no formal dining room. Instead, they’d set up a table in the living room. And by table I mean […]

Antipasti, Holidays, Insalate

Baccalà salad

Baccalà, or salt-dried cod, once fueled the rise of Portugal as a global power, as it allowed the Portuguese explorers and merchants to sail across the world without starving. Interestingly, cod does not come from the Mediterranean, but rather from the North Sea. So go figure. It’s become a traditional part of the Italian Christmas […]