I always felt Easter was really the clean slate for your year, rather than New Year’s. We all make promises to ourselves in January that never really make it to the Spring. This year was no different but this Lent I found all areas of my life blooming in ways I did not imagine. New blessings deserve new traditions. This year, I wanted mini me to feel the old world tradition of Pizzagaina, but without the calories and fat of the traditional Neapolitan tradition.
Yes, Pizzagaina is the Americanized spelling of this unique Easter bounty, and I kept it that way here because I changed it up quite a bit. For one, I wanted to lessen the calories and two, every single region and family makes it a bit different. And in some of the best Italian eateries in Little Italy and Brooklyn, you will find very different versions of this classic.
The traditional Easter pie uses egg, ricotta and a selection of soppressata and meats layered heavily. The result is a mix of salty and smooth flavors. This is usually nestled in a thick butter laden crust. It is heaven..but not for the arteries!
Being that mini me is the only true family I have got, it is monumental that I pass on healthy traditions that can spill over into her own life. I also want to fit into a bathing suit this season! So we made it our own.
We layered 6 sheets of phyllo dough, drizzled with olive oil and made a patchwork that looks like a basket in the center of a deep pie dish. For our pie we did use light ricotta, a teaspoon of vanilla, sea salt, two eggs, two torn basil leaves, peas (yes peas), and some prosciutto ( the sharp flavor contrasts well with the smooth ricotta). You can add a variety of flavors to the pie..but keep in mind as you cut it, the colors and layers are really what make the dish pop. Then you simply wrap your phyllo around the top, brush with olive oil and then cook it at 400 until the dough is flaky.
Let it cool before you slice it!!! This lighter version works well as a brunch..but I have made others as a full meal or just a side. Not all good things need to be difficult. And like a new Spring and new LOVE, I hope the flavors make you blossom like never before 🙂