Easter Rice Pie with Ham

With only a few days until Easter,  I’ve decided to try and recreate a Savory Rice Pie my grandmother used to make when I was young.  My grandmother was from Molise Italy, I am sure  her recipe was  a variation of a traditional Easter recipe made in her childhood home.  I have created this Easter Pie from my memory of her recipe.    I hope you like it…..I think it’s pretty good!!!

Rice Pie with Ham and Ricotta Cheese

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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This Rice Pie can be served as an appetizer,  a luncheon entree or for dinner served hot or at room temperature


-1 puff pastry round large enough to come up the side of a 9″ springform pan

-1 cup of boiled ham ask the deli to cut 1/4″ slices and then you can cut that into 1/4″x1/4″ cubes

-2 cups of cooked, drained rice, arborio, vialone nanone or carnaroli rice, these three are high starch firm textured rices

-2 scallions diced finely

-1 cup of Ricotta Cheese

-4 large eggs

-1 tbls extra virgin olive oil

-1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano grated

-1/4 cup Imported Pecorino Romano grated

-3/4 tsp marjoram

-Sea Salt fine grain and fresh ground black pepper to taste


-Preheat oven to 375 F

-In a nonstick pan add the olive oil, the scallions and the diced ham, saute until the scallions become translucent, add fresh ground pepper,  let coolIMG_1023.JPG

-Bring a pasta pot of water to boil and add sea salt and 1 cup of uncooked rice (should yield 2 cups) cook 12 minutes and drain.

-In a mixing bowl add the ricotta cheese,  the eggs, the parmesan and pecorino cheeses mix well IMG_1025.JPG

-Into the egg ricotta cheese mixture add the ham and scallions, the cooked rice, the marjoram and sea salt

-Drape the puff pastry into a 9″inch springform pan, I use parchment paper under my pastry.IMG_1024 2.JPG

-Pour the mixture into the puff pastry and fold the sides over the top of the fillingIMG_1026.JPG

-If you like you can use an egg wash and brush over the pastry before baking

-Bake in conventional oven approximately 35 minutes, in a convection oven 25 minutes.

-The pie will be golden brown and a knife inserted will come out clean

-When cool open the spring pan, and remove the side place carefully on a serving plate


-Buon Appetito





Pasta with Creamed Fresh Spring Peas

Spring is here and what better way to welcome the season than with Farm Fresh Spring Peas.  If you are able to find peas at the Farmers Market buy them, shell them and put them in the freezer, no need to precook the peas.  I am still using mine from last year!  (No need to worry if you cannot find fresh, frozen peas will work too).  Peas are  easily used in so many dishes, let’s start with this,  Pasta made with a creamed fresh pea sauce.  This dish will be a great addition to your Easter menu.

Pasta with Creamed Fresh Spring Peas

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Shell pasta captures the peas inside their shape, so every bite has peas with some creamy sauce


This dish works  well as an Easter first course


4-5 cups of Fresh shelled Peas (frozen works too)

1 sweet yellow onion finely diced

3 tbls extra virgin olive oil

3/4 cup dry white wine

2 cups vegetable broth

3/4 cups fresh chopped flat leaf parsley

2 Tbls unsalted butter

1/4 cup of fresh cream

Parmesan cheese to taste

sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

1 1/4 lb Artisan Pasta in a shape that will capture the peas (Rigatoni, Shells, Penne,  if you use a fettuccine or fresh long pasta note that it will need more liquid for the sauce)



-In a high sided pan add the olive oil and the chopped onion, on low heat saute until onion becomes transparent careful not to burn or brown the onionIMG_0957

-Add the peas,  white wine,  the vegetable broth, salt and pepper toss in the parsley.

-On medium heat, cook the peas ( fresh) for at least 30 minutes, pay attention to the liquid, it will reduce, add water if the liquid reduces too much and peas are not cooked. Taste the peas they should be tender to the bite….continue cooking until the peas are tender adjusting the liquid as necessary.IMG_0959

-Off the heat, in a mixing bowl add 2 cups of the cooked peas, add the cream and with an immersion blender mix until blended. (note- if you do not have an immersion blender, use a normal blender)

-Add the creamed peas back into the solid peas and let sit off  heat while  pasta is cookingIMG_0962

-In a pasta pot, fill with water and bring to boil add sea salt, then pasta.

-Cook pasta as indicated on package 1 minute less (see Pasta 101).

-Reheat the pea sauce add the butterIMG_0965

-Using a large slotted spoon, draining each spoonful, add the pasta to the pea sauce, on a lively heat mix the pasta with the sauce (remember you are still finishing off the pasta) If necessary, add liquid from the pasta water ….the sauce should be creamy not dry.  Add the parmesan cheese.  Mix well and serve.fullsizeoutput_10

Buon Appetito!!

Easter Lunch…Herb Stuffed Pork Loin Roast with Pancetta

With a few weeks until Easter,  it’s time to start thinking about what to serve for  lunch or dinner.  This Herb stuffed roast is a great choice.  I  have such a hard time finding the right recipe for Easter, since Ennio and I don’t eat lamb, and most main dishes are  lamb based, especially in Italy.   Trying to stay seasonal,  I usually make a roast of Pork or Veal, another of my options , salmon baked or steamed with a lemon mayonnaise.  This Herb Stuffed Pork Loin is wonderful  an option for this Easter.  If you do not like Pork, you can easily substitute a Veal roast.  Enjoy!!


Herb Stuffed Pork Loin Roast with Pancetta (Bacon)

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Lovely roast and makes a great presentation for Easter or a dinner party


Pork loin roast (mine was 1 1/2 lbs)

1 onion finely diced

1 1/2 cups dry white wine

Fresh herbs- thyme, rosemary, parsley and sage to yield 3/4 cup chopped finely mixed together

2-3 Tbls Extra virgin olive oil

1/2 lb pancetta or center cut bacon ( if you can get thinly sliced better yet)

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper


-Make 1 to 1 1/2″ incision into the pork loin along the length

-Finely chop the herbs togetherIMG_0918.JPG

-Stuff the herbs into the incision you just made in the roastIMG_0920

-Lay the pancetta or bacon along the top of the roast covering completely the herb toppingIMG_0922

-Tie the roast with kitchen string  (note- I would be an awful butcher…..the way I tie a roast, any tips would be greatly appreciated!!)IMG_0923

-Add the olive oil and chopped onion to a dutch oven style pan (I like my Le Creuset)  lightly brown the onions, be careful not to burn the onions, then add the roast and begin to brown on all sides.

-When browned, remove the roast and deglaze the pan with wine, making sure to scrape all the crusty bits off the bottom and sides of the panIMG_0924IMG_0926

-Put the roast back into the liquid and cook on low heat covered for 1 to 1 1/2 hours watching the liquid (note- if the liquid dries add water) you can turn the roast so it browns on all sides.

-Remove the roast allow it to set up so you can cut in thinly without it breaking into pieces

-Slice and PlateIMG_0930

-Add the pan juices and serveFullSizeRender 2

Buon Appetito!!!!

As always love to hear feedback, suggestions……!!