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The Pallotta Family’s Traditional Italian Easter

Cooking for Your Family this Easter

pallotta family cooking together


Easter is here and like all of our Italian friends and neighbors in the North End, all we can talk about is food! Where do you buy Ricotta Fresca for your Pizza Gana (Pizza Chiana depending on your dialect) What do you stuff your artichokes with? Do you know a recipe for Stufoli (fried dough balls drizzled with honey and candy sprinkles)? Are you making Easter Torta?

In the North End, Italians from different regions of Italy all have their own style of making the same dish. Our mother always made her Pizza Gana, a pie filled with Ricotta Fresca, prosciutto, and other salumi by cutting the salumi in 1-inch pieces while others used slices of salumi.

The artichokes were filled with an egg stuffing while our best friend’s mother stuffs her’s with bread stuffing. You can always tell which part of Italy each family came from depending on how they cook their food.

Our Easter Routine

The week before Easter is a social get together in every grocery store in the North End. Everywhere we go, we run into old friends. We stop in Caffe Vittoria, drink an espresso, share a pastry and reminisce about our Easter’s of years gone by; the days when we would dress up in our finest clothes, go to church and drop by our neighbors and relatives’ houses. Each home would smell like Sunday Gravy (meatballs, braciola and pork ribs in a fresh tomato sauce)!

Our Mother would welcome her morning guests with a big piece of Torta (sweet Easter Bread), some strufoli, and an espresso with a shot of Sambuca. At the end of the day, she sent them home with a piece of Pizza Gana, of course.

Some people might think the tradition is foolish, but we are so fortunate that our friends and neighbors still realize just how lucky we are and continue to celebrate Easter like our mothers and grandmothers did. In our house, food is love and there was a lot of love going around on Easter Day. Buona Pasqua!  

Get Our Easter Recipes!

If you want to cook an Italian meal for your family this Easter, follow our recipes for two dishes all your guests will love! Click here for our Pizza Ganna and find our Pani Pasquali (Easter Torta) here

Italian Easter Recipe- Pani Pasquali (Easter Torta)

Making Pani Pasquali (Easter Torta)



6 eggs (beaten with fork)
6 cups of flour
6  tbls of baking powder
1 cup oil
1 cup sugar
1  teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4  extra eggs

Heat oven to 350°
In a bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, and sugar. Add 6 beaten eggs, oil and vanilla extract. With hands, mix well. Remove to a wooden board and knead until smooth.
Divide in half and cut a 3-inch chunk off of each half.  Form each half into a 12-inch log. Join logs at ends to form a ring. Make 2 tablespoon size indentations in each log, on opposite sides. Place an egg in each indentation. Using the extra dough to form a cross over each egg to hold in place. Secure with a little water brushed on each side of dough.Bake for 40 minutes or until light golden brown.
Remove from oven and let cool completely.

Making the Glaze


6 cups of powdered sugar
1 cup of milk (use as needed)
1/2 tsp of vanilla
Candy sprinkles

Place sugar in a glass bowl. Add vanilla slowly, then add milk, stirring until smooth but not runny. Add only as much milk as needed!
Using a spatula spread over baked Easter Bread covering top completely. Do one half first and sprinkle with candies before frosting dries. Do the same with the other half. 

Italian Easter Recipe- Pizza Gana

Cooking Pizza Gana for Your Family28532852

Some people call this Pizza Gana, some people call this Pizza Chiana depending on what dialect your town in Italy speaks. Either way, it’s Easter Pie. Growing up, our mother made this on Good Friday but because it is a holy day that no meat is allowed to be eaten, we couldn’t taste it until Saturday and it was well worth the wait! Until this day, at 81 years of age,  she is still making 5 or 6 pies and delivering pieces to family and friends.
This recipe serves 8. 



  • 2 lbs flour
  • 2 tbsp  oil
  • 3 tbsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 7 large eggs
  • 7-8 oz warm water (or as needed)


  • 1 lb ham, cubed
  • ¾ lb prosciutto, cubed
  • ¾ lb soppressata salami, cubed
  • 1 lb fresh cheese, drained (can substitute farmer cheese
  • 2 lbs ricotta cheese
  • 7 eggs2851
  • ¼ cup grated Romano cheese
  • A pinch of black pepper
  • Do not add salt! The meats are already salty enough!

Special Equipment

  • 12″ round enamel pan

Preparing the Pizza Gana


  1. Preheat oven to 350º
  2. Grease and flour a 12″ round enamel pan
  3. Roll out 2 rounds of dough
  4. Place one round in the bottom of the pan
  5. Fill ¾ of the way with the filling
  6. Top with other dough round
  7. Poke 4 holes on top, make small dough cross ( if religious) and
    place in the middle.  Bake 10 minutes
  8. Beat 1 egg and brush dough. Bake 1 hour more