The Many Dishes of an Italian Easter Dinner

italian easter dinner

The bread “colomba” is a part of any Italian Easter dinner.

Traditionally, Easter (or Pasqua in Italian) marks the end of the long, lean period of Lent in which foods such as meat, eggs, butter, and lard were not eaten. And so, Easter became an occasion to enjoy an abundant and indulgent feast. Even today, though Lent is not as strictly observed as it once was, Italians take the opportunity to have fun on Easter and celebrate the end of Lent with an array of delicious foods. During a typical Italian Easter dinner, there will most likely be the following kinds of dishes. If you want to try to enjoy your Easter this year in a new, exciting way, you can start planning your Italian-style Easter dinner today with the following dishes. 

The Soup

A traditional Italian Easter dinner may begin with a soup, such as the popular Naples soup known in English as Italian wedding soup. This dish, made initially by peasants with whatever meat and greens they had leftover, has become associated with many Italian celebrations. The Italian name, minestra maritata, means “married soup” in reference to the blended flavors. 

Egg Dishes

Eggs are an essential part of Easter as they symbol renewal and rebirth. In Italian Easter dinner dishes, you may find eggs in torta pasqualina, an Easter pie, as well as brodetto pasquale, which is similar to a frittata. 


Another symbol of the spring is the lamb, and this meat is a traditional part of an Italian Easter dinner. It may appear as agnello atta scottadito, Italian grilled lamb chops with juniper berries, or you may eat lamb shanks, braised Italian-style. 


Italian cooks will create vegetable dishes with whatever is fresh at the market or in their garden. The selection will most often be artichokes or asparagus. Stuffed artichokes are an excellent way to prepare this vegetable, filling them with either garlic-cheese breadcrumbs or with a meat stuffing. 


No Italian Easter dinner is complete without delicious bread. Southern Italians make many types of celebratory savory Easter bread, which can often include meats, cheese, and whole eggs. The casatiello is such a bread, which is baked into a ring and topped with whole eggs. 

There are many sweet Italian Easter dinner bread, the most popular being the colomba. This dove-shaped sweet yeast bread is topped with slivered almonds and crunchy pearl sugar. It is quite similar in texture and flavor to the Italian Christmas cake, panettone

Sweets and Desserts

Finally, you cannot finish your Italian Easter dinner without enjoying some desserts. The most well-known Easter dessert may be the pastiera Napoletana. This creamy ricotta and semolina cake is flavored with lemon zest and orange-blossom water. However, the most traditional versions of this dish can take several days to make. 

Finally, for the children, hollow chocolate Easter eggs with surprises inside are always a hit. 

Authentic Italian Cuisine From Giolitti Deli

Giolitti Deli is a full-service Delicatessen in Annapolis, MD, specializing in authentic Italian cuisine. Founded in 1992, we use the freshest ingredients to make time-honed recipes from scratch, with no MSG or preservatives. We believe in real food and offer many healthy options, including vegetarian and vegan menu items. At Giolitti Deli, we make our own sauces, mozzarella, grilled and roasted vegetables, bread, pizza dough, and desserts, and our sandwiches, salads, pasta, pizza, and entrees are made to order. Owner Mary Giolitti has combined her passion for great food and fine wine to offer Annapolis a true taste of Italy!

Team members who also make the business possible include Manager Kathy Hunter, Manager and Catering Director Cheryl Molesky, Head Baker Porfirio Diaz, Chef Alfredo Escobar, and Deli Manager Noe Merino. To contact us, please visit our contact page or give us a call at 410.266.8600. Also, be sure to keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and our blog!

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