Easter may be my wife's favorite holiday, mostly because of all of the candy. The kids seem to enjoy that aspect as well. By 7 :30 this morning, chocolate was dribbling out of my 18 month old Rye's mouth as well as my three year old Raine's face.
For me Easter is about rebirth and the start of spring- it's interesting how some of the iconography from ancient pagan rituals became part of Christian traditions and then further incorporated into Easter Bunny lore as well. The most obvious is the egg, symbol of fertility and rebirth and now the prime symbol of Easter. That's why I love to make a Torta Pasqualina at Easter to showcase the eggs in all their glory.
We had an early Easter supper tonight with the Breeders ( I should explain- there are two or three couples that we gather with almost every Sunday afternoon for a happy hour- we were dubbed the Breeders by some childless friends who jokingly said that entry to our group was contingent upon having a small child or one on the way) at the Riley's house. We jazzed up our normal fare for the holiday and had a nice meal:
frenched rack of lamb
Torta Pasqualina ( more on that later)
and a whole lot of wine.......
This is a traditional Italian dish, I belive from Ligurian roots. I made some modifications to make it my own.
Dough or Phyllo( I used phyllo- much less fuss)
2 lbs fresh spinach
3 T bread crumbs ( soaked in 1/2 c milk)
1 onion, chopped
handful of pine nuts
1 c fresh parmesan
16 0z ricotta
6 eggs ( 2 mixed in, 4 for later)
Preheat oven to ~400
1) cook down spinach, drain and saute with onion in olive oil; let cool
2) Once spinach and onion have cooled, mix in other ingredients.
3) Layer 10 sheets phyllo dough in greased spring form pan, buttering between layers.
4) Place spinach mixture on top.- I had about 1/2 c of pesto that I had thawed from the freezer that added a nice kick.
5) This is the tricky part- make 4 indentations in the mixture and gently place one egg in the hole, making sure not to break the yolk.
6) Layer phyllo on top, buttering between layers, maybe 10 to 15 more sheets
7) Bake for 1 hour
When you slice the torta, the eggs look lovely in cross-section