Neapolitan casatiello

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PRESENTATION

Recipe by
Roberto Di Pinto

Are you ready to get your hands dirty alongside Neapolitan Chef Roberto Di Pinto as you try out our recipe for casatiello, Neapolitan stuffed bread, the Neapolitan delicacy par excellence? Made using a dough that’s similar to bread dough but flavored with a filling of Neapolitan salami, Pecorino cheese, and a generous sprinkling of pepper, Neapolitan casatiello is a rustic dish that’s very popular at Easter thanks to its rather unique feature: whole fresh eggs enclosed in a ring of dough that children usually fight over at the table on Easter Sunday! Each family has its own tradition, of course, especially when it comes to the filling, but the most important thing is to be generous and not to skimp on the cheese and salami! So, grab the utensils you’ll need to make an extremely tasty Neapolitan casatiello, the most important, of course, being your hands... and plenty of love!

INGREDIENTS

Ingredients for the dough (for a 9-inch (24-cm) pan)
Water 1 ⅔ cup (375 g)
Flour 00 1.5 lbs (650 g)
Fresh brewer's yeast 1 tbsp (10 g)
Fine salt ⅔ tbsp (15 g)
Black pepper to taste
Lard 1 oz (25 g)
Extra virgin olive oil 2 tbsp (25 g)
For the filling
Neapolitan salami 5.25 oz (150 g)
Pecorino cheese 1 ⅓ cup (150 g)
For the decoration
Eggs 4
Preparation

How to prepare Neapolitan casatiello

To make your Neapolitan casatiello, start by pouring the fresh brewer's yeast into room-temperature water 1, and stir to dissolve 2. Then, pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attached 3.

Add the other fats, the oil and lard 4. Turn the mixer on, mixing the ingredients on low speed, and gradually add half of the flour using a spoon 5. Once the flour has been absorbed and you’re left with a sort of batter, add the salt 6.

At this point, add the remaining flour all at once 7, and continue to mix on medium speed. The dough should have a soft consistency, but not excessively so. It will take around 10 minutes of working with the stand mixer 8. Alternatively, you might prefer to work it with the stand mixer for 5 minutes and then by hand on the work surface for the remaining 5 minutes. Once you have finished working the dough, turn the stand mixer off, transfer the dough to the work surface 9, and shape it into a ball. Leave it to rest on the work surface while you prepare the filling. You don’t need to cover it for this.

Remove the skin from the salami and cut it into slices 10 that are not too thin, then cut it into strips, and finally into cubes 11. Remove the rind from the Pecorino 12 with a knife

and cut it into rather chunky cubes, like you’ve done with the salami 13. This will make the salami and cheese more noticeable in the filling. Take a small piece of the dough (around 3 oz, or 80 g) 14 and set it aside – you’ll need it to seal the eggs on the casatiello later. Flatten the dough slightly 15,

pour the diced Pecorino and salami on top, and work the dough 16 with your hands until all of the ingredients are incorporated (17-18).

Sprinkle with plenty of black pepper (preferably freshly ground) 19 and knead until it’s absorbed 20. Manipulate the dough into a sausage-like roll 21,

and once it’s long enough 22, take a 9-inch (24-cm) pan and butter it. Place the roll of dough inside the mold 23, taking care to join and seal the two ends 24.

Now place the 4 whole raw eggs vertically at well-spaced points around the casatiello, applying light pressure as you do so 25. Then, take the dough you set aside and work 8 pieces to form strands 26 that you can then place across the eggs to create a sort of cage around them 27.

Once finished, cover the casatiello with a clean dish towel 28 and leave it to rise at room temperature, away from drafts, for around 60-90 minutes. Once it has almost doubled in volume 29, bake your Neapolitan casatiello on the bottom rack of a conventional oven preheated to 340° F (170° C) for 75 minutes. Once baked 30, allow it to cool before gently turning it out and placing it on a serving plate. Your Neapolitan casatiello is ready to be shared with the whole family!

Storage

Your casatiello can be kept for 3-4 days at room temperature or in a cool place if well covered with plastic wrap or under a glass cake dome.

You could even freeze it, once cooked and allowed to cool, complete with the eggs.

 

 

Tips

When it comes to the filling, you might like to add other cured meats, such as pancetta or ham, or other cheeses, such as scamorza. It might be best to avoid fresh, stringy cheeses like mozzarella, though.