Made at Easter, the leftovers are perfect for picnics taken on pasquetta, Easter Monday. This is traditionally made in a pan with a hole in the middle called a ruoto. You can use a ring cake tin, tube pan or a plain bundt pan – anything with a hole in a middle. The recipe below makes a large casatiello in an 11-inch (27 cm) ring cake tin.
Lard is more traditional than butter and some make the dough rather like a croissant where layers of the dough are spread with lard, then folded like a book, turned and rolled out—Neapolitan food writer Luciano Pignataro has a recipe (in Italian) for this version on his blog and this recipe is, in part, inspired by that albeit a much simpler version.
Some fill it with even more goodies—in addition to the basic salami, pecorino and provolone cheese, cicioli (fried pork fat), prosciutto, pancetta, mortadella and chopped hard boiled eggs can go in there too. —Emiko
fresh yeast (7 grams or 1 tsp of active dry yeast)
(4 3/4 cups) bread flour
(1 1/3 cups) lukewarm water
(1/4 cup) softened butter, plus more for greasing
(3 ounces) grated pecorino cheese (you can use Parmesan instead)
(7 ounces) of salame napoletano (or your favourite salami)
(7 ounces) of provolone dolce (or a semi-aged pecorino cheese or other good, firm, melting cheese)
Dissolve the yeast in a 1/2 cup (125 ml) of the water and let sit 10 minutes. Place the flour in a large bowl and add the yeast, the butter and salt and begin mixing in the rest of the water until you have a soft but not too sticky dough – mix it in a little at a time and see how much of the water you actually need, all flours absorb water differently so you may not need all of it, you may need a little more. If you go too far and find it much too sticky to knead, you can add a little more flour to adjust.
Knead the dough on a clean, floured surface for about 10 minutes or until smooth and supple. Set aside a small ball of the dough, about 80 grams or the size of a mandarin, and wrap in plastic. Set aside the dough (no need to cover it, you'll be back to it in a moment), while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. Pull the skin of the salame and chop into cubes no larger than 1cm (about 1/3 inch) cubes. Chop the cheese into similar sized cubes.
Heat oven to 350° F (180 C).
Roll out the dough into a long rectangle, roughly 1 cm (1/3 inch thick). It's not so important how long the short side is but just make sure that the dimensions of the long side are more than the circumference of your pan. Sprinkle over the cheeses and salame to cover the surface completely, then dust generously with black pepper. Roll up the dough from the long side (an extra set of hands is really handy here) so that you have a long log and place, opening down, in the ring tin, overlapping the two ends.
Place the 4 whole eggs, evenly spaced, on top of the dough. Take the small ball of dough that was set aside earlier and roll out logs about 1cm (1/3 inch thick). Use these strips to seal the eggs on the top of the casatiello in a cross shape. Brush the whole thing with the yolk and bake. It should take about 1 hour. The top should be golden brown and when tapped should sound hollow.
Let cool slightly before turning out of the pan and serve in slices, warm or cold. This makes a great picnic bread.
The Australian-Japanese cookbook author has lived in Florence (where a visit to a cheese farm once inspired her to start a food blog) for over 10 years with her Tuscan sommelier husband and two kids. Her third cookbook, Tortellini at Midnight, is out now.