Easter 2023: Casatiello, An Italian Ham And Cheese Festive Bread

Casatiello, the beloved Italian Easter bread is simply bursting with flavour! This rustic bread hails from the Campania region of Italy and is a staple on the Easter table. Its origins can be traced back to the 16th century when it was traditionally baked by Italian shepherds who were on the move during Easter celebrations.

The origins of Casatiello can be traced back to ancient Rome, where bread was often baked with meat and cheese as a way to preserve the ingredients. Over time, this type of bread evolved into what we now know as Casatiello. The name of the bread is thought to come from the Latin word "casae," which means "basket," as the bread was traditionally baked in a basket. During the Middle Ages, Casatiello became a popular dish among the Italian nobility, who would often serve it during Easter feasts. The bread was also a staple of Neapolitan cuisine and was enjoyed by both the rich and the poor.

In the 19th century, Casatiello became even more popular among the working class in Naples, as it was an affordable and filling meal that could be easily prepared at home. Today, Casatiello is still a beloved Easter tradition in Italy and is enjoyed by families throughout the country. What makes Casatiello so special, you may ask? Well, this bread is chock full of delicious ham and cheese, which makes for a savoury and satisfying treat. The dough is soft and fluffy, with just the right amount of chewiness to hold up to the hearty filling.

One of the unique features of Casatiello is the decorative eggs that are placed on top of the bread before it's baked. These eggs symbolise new life and are a nod to the Christian holiday of Easter. The eggs are typically dyed a vibrant red colour, but other colours can be used as well. The ingredients for Casatiello are simple, yet incredibly flavorful. A variety of cheeses can be used, such as pecorino romano, parmesan, and provolone. The ham can be either cooked or cured, and a variety of herbs and spices can be added to the dough for an extra burst of flavour.

Casatiello is typically eaten on Easter Sunday as part of a larger feast. It's often served alongside other traditional Italian dishes such as roasted lamb, artichokes, and asparagus. This bread is perfect for sharing with friends and family, as it's meant to be sliced and enjoyed together.