Lariccia Family: Sweet Ricotta Easter Pie

In preparation for Easter, many in the Mahoning Valley Italian American community make a savory pie filled with cheese, some kind of meat (sausage or ham), and eggs. Here’s a sweet Easter pie made with ricotta, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and cooked wheat berries (grains of wheat) that Rosa Villano (maiden name Garramone) of Youngstown Wholesale used to bake.
Rose and Sam Villano, one time owners of Youngstown Wholesale.

The recipe, from Rose’s hometown of Potenza, Italy, was passed down to godchild Connie Lariccia, whom you see in the video making the pie filling and then the crust. The last frames of the video give the recipe for one frumento di grano duro pie.

Sweet Ricotta Easter Pie: Recipe for One Nine-inch Pie
Ingredients: two eggs
3/4 cup sugar
teaspoon vanilla
one 15 oz. container of ricotta
3/4 cup of wheat berries, optional (find at health food stores)
  1. Soak wheat berries overnight. Cook for 90 minutes or until they spit open.
  2. Combine beaten eggs with the ricotta.
  3. Add vanilla and sugar.
  4. Pour into an uncooked pie crust.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees 15 minutes. Lower temperature to 350 degrees and bake 45 minutes.
  6. Dust with powdered sugar.
Pie Crust:
Combine one stick of margarine,
one cup of flour, and three tablespoons
of cold water.

6 Responses to “Lariccia Family: Sweet Ricotta Easter Pie”

  1. what a wonderful tribute! Amazing how much she made in a small space. Loved how quickly she made and trimmed the pie crust, too!

  2. Ben, I clicked on here to see how your aunt made the Easter Pie, sweet version. From there, I kept clicking on the different chefs, the hearty Easter Pie, then making pizza dough, mixing, slapping, stretching and baking the pizza, Wow, I’ve been on for over an hour just watching how they do it. This is good, learning techniques. And the Easter Pie, I never heard of Wheat Berries, amazing how she cracks her eggs. Didn’t know mozzarella is packed in water, must remove the water and the liquid from the ricotta. I love watching this, I was taught to cook everything from scratch, we don’t measure anything, we just do it. We have been living in Oklahoma 2 years, (my husband just retired from the Army, 30 years). I miss Ohio terribly, the ethnic groups, the festivals, the food.

  3. Ann Kosa says:

    This is really a delightful film. I love your aunt’s delivery, “It’ll still come good.” Took me back to a Youngstown childhood and Italian friends.

  4. dolores good says:

    Can’t wait to make this pie. I haven’t seen a recipe that has the wheat in it. My aunt Mary Amodio Lariccia used to make a wheat pie that was made like a cream pie but instead of the ricotta she made a cream such as we make banana cream pie.

  5. Oh my, Ben, I’m immediately struck by the name Villano! Since my maternal grandparents’
    (and therefore my mother’s) name was Vellani.

    I’ve forgotten where the Vellani’s originally came from, so I must check in with my cousin,
    Larry Vellani, who knows all the family history.

  6. Janet Cook Smith says:

    Beautiful memories of the Lariccia family cooking school.

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