Have you ever heard of Casatiello Napoletano? It's a peppery and savory bread filled with delicious salami and pecorino cheese that many Italians (including my husband's family) enjoy during Easter. My Mother In Law made this for me when my hubby and I were dating and I absolutely loved it. She's been making this bread for ages and only stopped until recently since she hasn't been feeling her best. I thought since I've been baking like a madwoman anyway that I would surprise her, my hubby and the rest of the family by trying my hand at making my own.
So here's my version of Casatiello Napoletano. I've taken a few recipes that I found online and tweaked them to work for me since there are so many different variations. Most of the recipes were in Italian and when I translated one on Google here's what I got "Place the flour, put yourselves in the middle lard, salt, pepper, and helping with other warm water, mix everything until dough is soft that you will work hard for ten minutes tapping on the table" ... umm, maybe it got a little messed up in translation? Lol. If you'd rather not go through that headache yourself you are welcome to try my recipe below.
So here it is, the tried and true recipe that has worked like a charm and was given multiple thumbs up from my err, picky, family ...
Casatiello Napoletano Recipe
400 g flour
250 ml water
2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/4 tsp yeast
2 1/2 tsp of pepper
100 g lard
150 g baby genoa salame (cut into small squares, about a 1/4 inch)
200 g pecorino romano (cut into small squares, about a 1/4 inch)
Combine flour, water, salt, sugar, yeast and pepper. Mix ingredients for 10 minutes or until well combined. Lightly grease bowl and place dough, covered in plastic wrap, in a warm place for 1 hour to rise.
Mix rested dough with lard and let rest for another hour. When mixed, lightly spread lard onto dough and incorporate well so that you do not leave lumps of lard in the dough (this will make is greasy).
Carefully mix in by hand the cubed meat and cheese. Place in greased (sprayed or spread with lard) angel food or bundt pan and let rest for at least another hour or until doubled. 20 minutes before the bread is ready, preheat oven to 400°.
Cook at 400° for 45 minutes. Raise the temperature to 450° and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until the bread achieves a nice caramel color.
Since it's a pretty rich and savory bread, they are usually made just once a year around Christmas time. That being said, I've made this 4 times already in the last 2 months. Now that my hubby knows that he can pretty much have this yummy bread on demand (instead of having to wait for it once a year from his momma) he's in heaven. I think I've created a monster, lol.
Enjoy and have fun making your own Casatiello!