Il migliaccio, the story of the poor cousin of the pastiera

by Imma Galluccio

The miles, which be it sweet or salty, with its strong flavor, similar to pastiera, reminds us that the period carnival is over, and the time has come to transport us to Easter.

Il migliaccio, storia del cugino povero della pastiera

Il migliaccio, between cuisine and literature

”To god pastenache and soft leaves, to god zeppole and Migliaccio, to god vruoccole and tarantiello, to god caionze and a hundred daughters ", and that's how Basile neither lo cunto de li cunti when one of the protagonists is about to leave Naples, he greets those who were there dishes more delicious in the Neapolitan seventeenth century, among these the inevitable Migliaccio.

The origins of this dish are much older, already from the Middle Ages Martino from Como considered the most important European chef, within his Libro de Arte Coquinaria, dedicates the whole chapter IV titled to make every reason pies to the milleccio recipe, in which the recipe modified from the original one is already present, which we still know today and which adds milk to millet flour.

The original recipe is fruit of poverty that people lived in the Neapolitan countryside, where the desire to celebrate religious anniversaries was strong, but there was a lack of raw materials to honor the holidays with a laden table.

The original, dating from the early Middle Ages, included two simple ingredients: raw millet flour and pig's blood. Raw millet flour, from which the migliaccio takes its name, is part of the grass family and during the Middle Ages it was used as a substitute for meat by poor European families. Pork blood, in addition to being an ingredient in the black pudding recipe, was used for many others, because of the pig nothing is thrown away!

Il migliaccio, storia del cugino povero della pastiera

Pork blood, the ingredient prohibited first by the church and then by the law

The procedure so that the blood could be edible it was simple enough, but it required some speed in the steps to be taken. As soon as the pig was killed, the blood was poured into a container and, again heat, mixed, to prevent them from forming lumps and clots. It was then stored in a dry and cool place e filtered before use.

With the advent of Christianity, this food came slowly deleted from the daily diet of poor medieval families, as it was considered by the Church to be a meal with a certain cannibal symbology. If first with i Greeks and Romans this food represented fertility and propitiated to a good future, during the middle of the Middle Ages it was seen with a macabre meaning, which evoked the alimentary use of the bodies of condemned.

From 1992 also the Italian law prohibits the sale of pig's blood, because it could cause infections and diseases to the one who ingests it, if stored properly inadequate or coming from animals raised on intensive farms.

TO replace blood, in this dessert that was born too poor, it was milk or water which together with millet flour and later with corn flour that comes from the Americas, were mixed to obtain a compact compound e homogeneous, then enriched with citrus scented water, candied fruit and icing sugar.

Already thesmell, very similar to that of the pastiera that one feels when arriving inside the grandmother's kitchen, there carries inevitably in the days pre Easter anticipating by forty days the joy of the resurrection he was born in good food that awaits us after a period of deprivation and spiritual sacrifice

Il migliaccio, storia del cugino povero della pastiera

In the kitchen with Jeanne Carola Francesconi

Jeanne Carola Francesconthe was one of the foremost book writers of Neapolitan recipes, his interest in Neapolitan food and gastronomy, meant that the typical dishes of the city also arrived overseas. Below is the recipe for Francesconi's sweet millefeuille:


Waterfall 1L;

Cinnamon a pinch;

Scraping out of the way lemon;

Butter 30 grams;

Sugar gr. 40;

salt a pinch;

corn flour of Bergamo 150 gr;

Passthe gr. 40;

Pine nuts 30 grams;

Powdered sugar to taste;

If desired: a few pieces of candied fruit.


You do to boil a liter of water with cinnamon, grated lemon peel, butter, sugar and salt. Pour to rain the flour and, always stirring, do it cook half an hour. After removing the polenta from the heat, add the steps and the pine nuts and, if desired, diced candied fruit. The dough should have the consistency of a slightly thick cream. Grease with lard or butter a wheel of about cm. 20 in diameter, pour the mixture and bake in a hot oven from three quarters of an hour to an hour, until the pizza is not colorful. Leave to cool, unmold and sprinkle with icing sugar.


Yvonne Carbonaro, Food tells Naples, the nutrition of the Neapolitans through the centuries until today, Storiak, 2017

Amedeo Colella, a thousand paraustielli of Neapolitan cuisine, cultura nova, 2019

Jeanne Carola Francesconi, Neapolitan cuisine, Grimaldi & C. Editori

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