Pascualina, history and secrets of a dish for Easter

Pascualina is a preparation of Genoese origin although many people think that it is more Buenos Aires than the Obelisk. The story tells that the Ligurians are great masters in making flat cakes since, being a seafaring republic, they were required to carry groceries they took up little space and were easy to stow, like fainá.

As in addition to having a sea, Genoa is an extremely mountainous region, its reputation highlights the quality of its green leafy vegetables, such as spinach or chard, and its aromatic plants, such as basil. And precisely, the combination of these two elements makes pascualina one of the great achievements “xeneizes” in gastronomy.

Pascualina is a dish associated with the Christian festivity of Easter as its name implies. If you look closely, you will find a series of religious winks in its ingredients: it is a puff pastry filled with chard and boiled spinach, skim milk and three types of cheese (in honor of the Trinity): fresh cottage cheese, Parmesan and pecorino, plus four hard-boiled eggs that symbolize four evangelists.

The quality of the chard is key to a good pascualina (Pixabay photo)

And if there were any doubts about the dish religiosity, the gastronomic researcher Elena Kostioukovich reveals that, in the past, the pastry pastry had 33 layers, that is, the age of Christ.

The cake achieved as great an acceptance in our country as the Italians themselves who arrived in Argentina in the successive migratory waves. It was the first of them, made up mostly of Lombards, Piedmontese and Ligurian, which brought the pascualina to this side of the Atlantic Ocean. Here, it caught on in homes for its simplicity and availability of ingredients and, in a short time, went on to integrate the menu of Buenos Aires still lifes.

Pietro Sorba, famous gastronomic journalist from Genoa, told Cucinare what collections you have to have to achieve a good pascualina: “The basic thing is, as always, to have good raw material. It is essential to use good ricotta, a good very fine grated cheese, fresh eggs, high quality extra virgin olive oil and excellent puff pastry (the pascualina does not contain garlic or bell peppers). I use the traditional Genoese method: a thick bottom layer of coarse chopped raw chard is interspersed lightly sprinkled / mixed with some very fine grated cheese, with a top layer of ricotta cheese and egg. ”