La Vera Cucina


For restaurateur Paul Cataldo, whose family owns Antonio’s Ristorante in Elkhart, IN, the aroma of Calabrian Nocatole (no-cah-toll-eh) fried at Christmas or baked at Easter brings back warm childhood memories of helping his Nonna Concetta cook back in Calabria.

As Paul says, every Calabrian village has its own version of this holiday bread, whose sweet dough is fried and rolled in sugar at Christmas or baked into various shapes for Pasqua (Easter).


  • 28 grams fresh active dry yeast
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 3 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 ¾ cups water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 large eggs



Measure and set aside ½ of each ingredient, including one egg, for use on the second day.

Using the first half of the ingredients, place fresh active dry yeast in warm water. Let sit for 10 minutes until hydrated and creamy.

Add yeast mixture to large mixing bowl. Add flour, water, sugar, oil, and one egg to bowl. Mix by hand until dough begins to cling to itself. Then knead by hand until dough becomes uniformly smooth throughout. Place dough in bowl, cover with cheesecloth, and allow to rest on counter at room temperature overnight.

The next day, repeat the process with the second half of the ingredients and then knead together with first day’s dough. Cover and rest 15 minutes. On lightly floured surface, cut and hand-roll cigar sized pieces of dough to form various shapes, including circles, crosses, or braids. Let the shapes rest and rise.

At Christmas, once risen, fry shapes in oil, like doughnuts until golden brown. Roll finished shapes in sugar (or cinnamon-sugar). Place finished nocatole in ziplock bags to help preserve freshness.

At Easter, once risen, place shapes on baking pans and bake at 350 degrees until golden brown. If desired, brush baked nocatole shapes, hot from the oven, with an egg wash. Roll in colored sprinkles if desired.