by Enzo Coccia
For a true Neapolitan, Easter means one thing: casatiello.
There is no mother, wife or grandmother who hasn’t devoted herself to the preparation of the Easter time symbol of the Neapolitan cuisine. Five hundred years of culinary history that are regularly renewed for a unique, unmissable event.
Like any good Neapolitan, me too, I am attached to the casatiello. In my mind I still have an impression of my mother wrapping it in the bread yellow paper and keeping it for the next day, the Easter Monday. In my boyhood memories, the casatiello was our lifeline when we were hungry during our out-of-town picnic. What beautiful memories: a carefree day with my friends that was usually spent on the island of Ischia, at Reggia di Caserta or on Montevergine.
I miss those happy days, the long waits at the harbor to get the crowded ferry to Ischia or a bus full with many guys who, like me, were going to have fun. We all had our shoulder bag loaded with the casatiello, some cured meats, everything we needed for a perfect picnic and lots of fun.
I was lost in these memories and, with a smile, a new idea was conceived. This year, I decided to prepare a casatiello my way for Easter, without using the fresh yeast. With my friends from Panificio Malafronte we created the recipe: a blend of mother yeast and biga leavened for 48 hours, we do not roll up the dough as the Neapolitan technique requires and, to the classic ingredients, we add some dried San Marzano tomatoes. I called it pizzatiello as it leaves the mark of the Neapolitan pizza in the traditional casatiello.
After all, we are a pizzaiolo and some bakers who live this Easter still having fun.
Happy Easter to all of you!