Neapolitan Stuffed Easter BreadClick to Play

Neapolitan Stuffed Easter Bread

Neapolitan Casatiello

Mary Ann Esposito

The casatiello is a savory filled Neapolitan Easter bread that nonna Galasso made from memory. For her it held all the symbolism of faith. Casatiello derives from case, which in Neapolitan dialect means “cheese”, because of the use of cheese in the dough and in the filling. The rising dough meant the promise of new life; the shape of the bread symbolized a crown and the eggs meant rebirth. There are many variations of this stuffed bread, but it is one of those antique recipes not made at home anymore and Neapolitans are likely to buy them at their local bakery. That is a pity!

Dough Ingredients

1 package active dry yeast
2 cups warm water
4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
4 ounces lard or 1/3 Filippo Berio cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Filling Ingredients

1/2 pound chunk provolone or scamorza cheese, cut into cubes
1/2 pound chunk mortadella, salami, or boiled ham cut into cubes
Salt to taste
Grinding black pepper
4 eggs


Preheat the oven to 375F.

Grease a 10 inch tube pan with a removable bottom and set aside.

Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup warm water and allow to get foamy looking.

Heap the flour on a work surface or add it to the work bowl of a stand mixer.

Add the yeast, lard or olive oil, salt and pepper and work it into the flour; add the cheese and enough additional warm water to make a soft ball of dough. Cover and let it rise for 1 1/2 hours in a warm place, or until it doubles in size.

Punch down the dough and break off a large orange-size piece and set aside.

Knead the remaining dough and roll out into a large 18 by 14-inch rectangle and scatter the cheese and mortadella over the surface to within an inch of the edges. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Starting at the longest side, roll the dough up as for a jellyroll, making sure to tuck in the ends and place it in the tube pan. Tuck the two ends together.

Cover and allow to rise for about 1 hour or until the dough is 3/4 of the way up the sides of the pan. 

Place 3 of the eggs randomly on the top of the dough, pressing them in to anchor them.  Divide the saved piece of dough into 6 equal pieces and roll each piece into a 4-inch-long length.  Use two pieces to make a cross over each egg. Beat the remaining egg with a fork and brush it over the surface of the dough.

Bake for 45 minutes to an hour or until golden brown. Let cool on a rack then run a butter knife along the inside edges of the pan, and loosen the bottom and remove it.  Turn the bread out.  Serve warm, cut into wedges.

This recipe is featured on show 2020 – Neapolitan Easter Bread.

item recipe is featured in Episode 2020 of Season 20.

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Leave a comment

  1. Peggie's avatar


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    Can't wait to try this recipe. My father's mother came from Italy in 1900 and used to make something similar with colored eggs!!
  2. GRACE GAMBUTI's avatar


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    Of all the Italian recipe website ,you come the closest to my GRANDMOTHERS style of cooking. She was from the outskirts of Naples. (Benivento)

    Thank You for Neapolitan Stuffed Easter Bread recipe. It sure brings back memories.
  3. Joan Hullings's avatar

    Joan Hullings

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    Many years ago I had a recipe for an Easter Pie which contained egg noodles, eggs, milk, etc. It was just called Noodle Pie and it was made at Easter time. I know it is a sicilian recipe. I lost it and cannot find it. Can you please help me?
  4. Linda Poole's avatar

    Linda Poole

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    I LOVE and have watched you for years! Today I copied your Neapolitan Casatiello recipe. I do wish there was a picture I could have copied!

    thanks and keep up the good work!
  5. roger galippo's avatar

    roger galippo

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    Dear Maryanne: you are absolutely fabulous. Your knack to wake up old memories and customs is astonishing. Thank you very much.
  6. Betsy Tunnell's avatar

    Betsy Tunnell

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    My husband and I were taking a break from yardwork and flipping the channels. He stopped on your show and we both watched it to the end. I am excited to make this. We are always looking for new and unique things - but this will actually be making a new tradition for us. I am sure our friends will love it.
  7. mariateresa's avatar


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    I am a neapolitan girl,and cooking is my passion,I actually have to say almost every family here, still make their own casatiello or tortano(they're basically the same,the difference is in the eggs on the top of the casatiello),tradition is hard to die ...lucklily I'd say :),even though you can find lots of these preparations in bakeries.These kind of breads bakes better in a wood oven, so some people brings their casatielli ( and also pastiere :D)to someone who owns one.I am happy to know italian traditional recipes are still so appreciated abroad ,but I want to give a suggestion for the preparation ,put together salami, mortadella ,ham, "cicoli" if you find them(they're what reamains form the preparation of lard) don't choose just one,beacause that's the original casatiello,do the same with cheese,it's way better and tasty if you mix scamorza with different provolone piccante and dolce ,the best choice it's Auricchio piccante and Auricchio dolce .I hope you might find useful my advices..HAPPY EASTER from Naples
  8. brenda king's avatar

    brenda king

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    would like the easter bread recipe
  9. Cheryl Magnuson's avatar

    Cheryl Magnuson

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    Please tell us about the eggs on the top. They were raw eggs, since you didn't mention boiling them in advance. The final product then has eggs cooked eggs in the shell. How do people deal with that, then?
    Thanks. We watch your program regularly on Iowa Public TV.
  10. ChefDon's avatar


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    I have the same question as do you eat the bread with the shell on the egg????
  11. grace loiacono's avatar

    grace loiacono

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    stuffed bread came out perfect.delicious,grazie.
  12. Ann Pacetti's avatar

    Ann Pacetti

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    love this I make one that was handed down from my Aunt a little different but both are wonderful thank you for all your recipes
  13. Carmelina Bufalino's avatar

    Carmelina Bufalino

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    The Casatiello is a traditional Easter bread that we Napoletani have been baking for centuries.Petrified remains have been found at the escavations of pompei.
    If I may add, I am a traditionalist therefor I will wholeheartedly agree with Mariateresa since I believe that ancient recipes should not be altered. I am not of the American culture and yet I wouldn't want anyone to ever change the traditional Apple pie :-)
    To answer Cheryl and ShefDon, the eggs are placed on the bread mainly for a symbolic purpose (and appearance). So when ready to eat the bread you simply remove the eggs, peel them just as you would normally before eating your eggs.
  14. Carmelina Bufalino's avatar

    Carmelina Bufalino

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    For future references (and anymore inquiries for years to come) feel free to contact me for anything Napoletano and I will try to assist the best I can.

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