Articolo disponibile anche in: Italian
The barnyard is full of light. The pergola of vines give a show of light and shadows. A sparkling clean green cotton tablecloth dresses up the rustic walnut and oak table.
The napkins are in tone with the colored plates. Friends have not yet arrived. We are running a bit late and have to hurry up.
It is almost lunchtime on Easter Sunday and, as tradition desires, “Natale con i tuoi, Pasqua con chi vuoi” (Christmas with family, Easter with whomever you want), we have invited friend and relatives to our house in the country.
We are conﬁdent that everyone will bring something and enrich the already well stocked table. From the kitchen, facing the barnyard, arrives a frenetic back and forth of plates, silverware, trays.
The scents of the spring garden mix with the dishes. The oven is hot and the lamb is cooking slowly. This year we are trying a new recipe: lamb glazed with honey and pine nuts on a bed of diced potatoes from Casentino. The lamb is required by tradition, but today we wanted to be creative.
The air is perfumed like the spring that greets us with its tepid light on this holiday. Most of the morning was spent preparing the “gnudi”, ravioli without pasta.
The children helped and the gnudi aren’t homogeneous, but there are many. They are prepared with fresh vegetables, spinach, and ricotta bought fresh in the local store. It is the ﬁrst course, tasty and light, of Easter lunch. We don’t want to eat too much to leave room for the lamb and Easter sweets.
The traditionalists have decorated the table with small olive branches, ripped from young olive trees planted in the garden. The straw basket with blessed hen eggs are also present.
The little ones are not happy. “Oh, hard boiled eggs”….a bit of gastronomic unhappiness. Eggs could be prepared in a more exciting way! Right after the eggs, trays of colorful crostini arrive; we like to prepare diffrent types, creating a hypnotic, tasty, geometric architecture. Hands cross over the table, everyone trying to reach the tasty bits.
“Ho messo la forchetta grande apposta, usate quella invece delle mani!” – si sente urlare. La disfida arruffata e ridanciana del crostino segna davvero l’inizio del pranzo di Pasqua. Accanto ai crostini serviamo gli affettati: “Buonissima questa soprassata” – “La finocchiona da chi l’hai presa?”. Poi è il momento degli gnudi, ormai quasi un obbligo a ogni pranzo di Pasqua da quando nell’orto sono stati piantati gli spinaci: vuoi non titillare l’ego da orticoltrice delle padrona di casa?
“I purposely put the big fork on the table. Use it!”, someone yells. The assault on the crostini signals the beginning of the Easter lunch. Cold cuts are served next to the crostini. “This soprassata is delicious.” “Have you tried the ﬁnocchiona?”.
Then the gnudi arrive, obligatory at the Easter lunch when there is spinach in the veggie garden. The owner of the house is proud. “These are the last of the season. Taste how delicious!”.
“The goat ricotta is fresh, bought in town yesterday.” Wine is ﬂowing into the chalices, the atmosphere is light. The lamb is almost cooked and the scent from the oven has arrived at the table.
The children have already gotten up (they’ve broken every record) without ﬁghting up to the gnudi. They show up at the table to beg for a bite. (“Sit down if you still want to eat!). Their cheeks are red and they want to go run around the stones in the barnyard. “Can we go pick ﬂowers?”, they ask.
The lamb is delicious, the roast potatoes are crunchy and the sauteed spinach is excellent – “You can tell it is from the garden!” “Whatever is left, we will eat tomorrow…”,
In fact, litte Easter is tomorrow and we will spend it on a tour around our hills. Ths sun is going down. We are at the end of the afternoon. Many have fallen into their chairs, away from the table, lauding the pecorino that was just served.
We have arrived at the sweets. First, however, the tray with smoking coffee arrives. The children return to the table thanks to their desire for dessert.
There are chocolate Easter eggs that must be opened; of all types and sizes, milk and darkj. And, favored by the adults, we have the traditional “colomba”, Easter dove. “I made a creme ﬂavored with citrus to accompany it…”.
Francesco Sorelli – Il Bisarno Oltre la Sieve