Themed dinner menus

Italian Easter or spring menu

Negroni cocktail
Negroni Cocktail

Easter/spring menu plan

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Italian Easter or Spring Menu with aperitivo, risotto, citrus lamb & artichoke stew, Caprese cake


  • - Italian menu for Easter, but not only. Its combination of flavors makes it ideal if you have to celebrate any important event in the spring: a birthday, a ceremony with a special dinner at home, a promotion, a wedding anniversary ...
  • - Begin with Negroni cocktail, famous all over the world and easy-to-do even at home. Accompany it with a traditional Italian finger food: stuffed & fried olives, Ascoly style (or Ascolana olives). Delicious!
    If you wish to plan a lunch or dinner according to the latest trend don't serve too many alcoholic beverages.
    You could match Ascolana olives with the same red wine you've chosen to serve with the whole meal.
    Someone could prefer a non-alcoholic aperitif. Remember to keep non-alcoholic aperitif in the fridge.
  • - As you have just read there is no starter. Risotto is rich in ingredients and tastes fantastic. Enjoy it fully with your guests without stuffing yourselves with a lot of food. It's the new trend in Italy too: not too many courses, right amount but good!
    Bicolor risotto is the combination of two risottos. The first risotto with asparagus and the second risotto with strawberries.
    Both are placed in the same serving plate and garnished with quail eggs.
  • - We Italians have the habit to cook lamb for Easter and spring menus. There are a lot of lamb recipes in the Italian regions. This menu includes an original recipe of mine. Lamb is baked in citrus juice for a light but tasty recipe.
    Accompany this lamb dish with a seasonal side dish: garlic-and-parsley artichokes.
    Lamb and artichokes are well matched.
  • - The cake is a triumph of plain chocolate and almonds. Caprese cake, a famous cake born in Capri.
  • - My husband and I decided to pair a fabulous Italian red wine ideal for Ascolana olives, risotto and lamb recipe: Cerasuolo Montepulciano d'Abruzzo (red wine from Abruzzi).
    Cerasuolo must be served at 57°F (14°C) and drunk when still young.
    Don't serve dessert wine with Caprese cake. It's difficult to choose a wine to match with chocolate cakes. Our tip is to serve a little glass of Porto or Italian arancino once eaten the cake.

Menu details:

  • - First of all Easter and spring tradition is respected in this menu with the presence of eggs, lamb and chocolate on the Italian table.
  • - Most ingredients of the menu are in season: artichokes, lamb, oranges, strawberries, asparagus.
  • - This menu for Easter or special occasions in spring is pretty balanced, without excesses in individual dishes and its whole composition.
  • - The preparation of most of its dishes can be anticipated to the day before and the stuffed olives can also be made a few days before and frozen.
  • - My tip is setting a colorful but delicate table for Easter and spring special occasions. Look at my table setting ideas (apparecchiare that is setting the table is an art in Italy!). Link below!

Shopping list (it serves 6)

This menu serves 6 even if risotto and Ascolana olive recipe serves 4, having regard to the four-course menu.
If you have always-hungry guests add some canapés to Ascolana olives.
On the contrary you have to increase the doses of artichoke dish. I have already calculated the increases in the shopping list.
The lamb recipe serves 6 and so its doses are right.
I specified what are the cake ingredients to remove them from the shopping list if you prefer to prepare another cake or buy anything else.

  • 1.2kg (2 2/3 pounds) leg of lamb
  • 500g (1.1 pound) fresh asparagus
  • 2 oranges (1 for lamb recipe and 1 for Negroni cocktail)
  • 10 spined artichokes
  • 150g (5 1/3 ounces) pork loin, boned
  • 150g (5 1/3 ounces) beef chuck
  • 150g (5 1/3 ounces) chichen breast
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 200g (7 ounces) plain chocolate (Caprese cake)
  • 1 medium onion (50g - 1 3/4 ounce)
  • 100g (3 1/2 ounces) fresh young onions
  • 1 chicken liver
  • 200g (7 ounces) ripe and fragrant strawberries
  • 3 lemons (1 at least organic)
  • 300g (10 1/2 ounces) unpeeled almonds (Caprese cake)
  • 100g (3 1/2 ounces) crustless bread
  • 500g (1.1 lb) green olives in brine
  • 25g (1 ounce) grated Pecorino cheese
  • 6 halves dried tomatoes, ready-to-eat
  • 250g (8 3/4 ounces) leek
  • 320g (11 1/4 ounces) parboiled rice
  • 6 eggs for Caprese cake + 2 for Ascolana olives
  • 6 quail eggs
  • 30g (1 ounce) icing sugar (confectioners' sugar) (Caprese cake)
  • 3 tablespoons Strega liqueur (Caprese cake)
  • Gin
  • Sweet Red Vermouth
  • Bitter Campari
  • Matched wine
  • Porto or orange-flavored liquer (arancino)
  • at last ... check if you have at home
  • Ingredients for vegetable stock (about 2
  • l - 4 1/3 pints)
  • 100g (3 1/2 ounces) puréed tomatoes
  • These herbs and spices: dried or fresh chives and parsley, dried bay leaves, fresh rosemary, garlic, nutmeg and cloves
  • White dry wine to cook
  • Red wine for risotto
  • 250g (8 3/4 ounces) butter
  • 100g (3 1/2 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 200g (7 ounces) plain dried breadcrumbs
  • 100g (3 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • Baking powder
  • 200g (7 ounces) sugar (Caprese cake)
  • Extra virgin olive oil and eventually peanut oil if you want to fry Ascolana olives with it.
  • Salt
  • hey ... don't forget ...
  • bread
  • water

Step-by-step instructions

  • Some days before
  • - You can prepare Ascolana olives in advance and freeze them without cooking.
    The same day will be sufficient to fry them still frozen at the last minute.
  • The day before.
  • - Prepare your Caprese cake.
  • - Begin cooking your lamb. You'll complete its cooking the morning after.
  • - You can cook artichokes too.
  • - Steam asparagus and purée them but remember to put some of them still whole apart.
  • The same day.
  • - Do things quietly, you did almost everything the day before.
  • - Complete lamb cooking.
    Let it cool and cut completely every portion.
    Put its slices again in the baking pan.
  • - Set the table.
  • - Cut bread or arrange it in the serving plate.
  • - Clean and puree strawberries.
  • - Chop leek, prepare stock and all you need to cook your risotto
    Weigh rice.
  • - Just before your guests arrive fry stuffed olives (Ascolana olives).
  • - Prepare cocktails when your guests arrive.
  • - Cook both risottos while your guests are drinking cocktail and eating finger food
    Arrange and garnish your risottos as you can see in the photo.
    Let your guests seat at table and serve at once.
  • - During the pause, after the first course (risotto), heat lamb and artichokes.
    Serve your lamb dish accompanied by artichokes.
  • - Complete your menu with Caprese cake and fresh fruit if liked.
  • - Porto wine or orange-flavored liqueur must be served after the cake.
  • - Coffee made with moka will close your menu.

Useful links for this recipe

  • - Have a look at our directory on table setting ideas for handmade centerpieces, placecards ...