Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Easter Monday Tortano (or Casatiello)

Even though Easter holidays have ended up, I still would like to propose you the Tortano (or Casatiello) that I prepared with my sister for Easter Monday. On Easter Monday it's remembered the meeting between the angel and the women that got on the Holy Sepulchre. In Italy, it is a feast day that is usually spent together with relatives or friends going on a traditional outing, picnic and doing outdoor activities. One reading of this tradition may be to be reminiscent of the disciples headed to Emmaus. During this day, according to the Neapolitan tradition, it is consumed, among other things, the Tortano (or Casatiello) which is a Neapolitan cuisine typical rustic prepared during Easter time. In Neapolitan culinary tradition, Tortano belongs to savoury Easter pies family, along with casatiello. (the most famous sweet Easter cake is certainly the pastiera).
 Tortano recipe is the same as the casatiello, the only difference is that, in the Tortano the eggs are mixed inside (sliced or cutted in halves), while in casatiello they are placed whole on the top and stopped by cross made dough strips...

 "00" Flour kg 1 (2 and 1/4 pounds)
 Water 600 ml (20 fl oz)
 Yeast 25 g (1 oz)
 Sugar 2 teaspoons
 Lard 250 g (9 oz)
 Salt and pepper to taste
 Grated Parmesan cheese 100 g (4 oz)
 Sharp Provolone 200 g (7 oz)
 Salami 250 g (9 oz)
 Cooked ham 150 g (1/3 pound)
 Cured ham 100 g (4 oz)
 Pecorino Romano cheese, diced small 100 g (4 oz)
 Boiled eggs 4 or 5
 Cracklings (optional)

 Dissolve the yeast and two teaspoons of sugar with a little warm water. Put the flour on a pastry board and make a wheel, put in the center the lard, the water with the yeast, pepper and begin to mix, then add other warm water in which you have dissolved the salt, the grated Parmesan cheese, Pecorino Romano cheese diced in tiny little pieces (photo 1) and continue to knead until it becomes soft. Strikingly knead it for about ten minutes by banging it on the table.
 Place it in a bowl (photo 2), cover and let it leaven in a warm place for a couple of hours or until the dough has doubled in volume.
 Meanwhile, cube all cheeses and cold cuts, and prepare the boiled eggs (photo 3).
 After leavening time, slowly mix in all the other ingredients, with the exception of the eggs, and continue to knead for 5 minutes (photo 4). Grease a large mould with a central hole with butter, flour, and place in it the dough giving it a ring shape, make a cut on top (photo 5), widen it with your fingers and insert the eggs cut in halves (photo 6 - 7) (or in small slices). Put it back to leaven (photo 8) in a warm place, or in a switched off oven, for a couple of hours (photo 9).
 Finally, bake it at 160°C (325° F) for the first 10 minutes, then turn up the oven to 180°C (350°F) and bake it for one hour. Take it out of the mould when it'll be cold.
 Bon appetit!

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