Christmas is right around the corner and most people are preparing for the food, the fun, and the family. Christmas is a time for people to come together and it is a time of tradition. In America, the Christmas meal is pretty straight forward. There are obviously variations, but most meals consist of the usual: meat, maybe ham or roast beef, potatoes, pie, and so on. In other cultures, Christmas dinner can look a little different.
If there is a well-known fact about Italians, it is that they know how to prepare some delicious foods. So what do they eat at Christmas time? The answer is not so simple as you won’t find the same dish at every Italian table. Every dinner varies depending on the region’s local market. Because every region has different flavors, they each have their own traditional Christmas dish.
Following is a list of twenty regions and their traditional dishes as well as one spotlighted recipe.
- From Abruzzo is Minestra Di Cardi (Cardoon Soup), a soup made of broth and cardoons (artichoke thistles), flavored with nutmeg and giblets.
- From Basilicata is Baccalà Con Peperoni Cruschi (Cod with Fried Peppers), sun-dried bell peppers dropped into hot oil for a few seconds top this codfish dish.
- From Calabria is Scillatelle Al Ragù (Homemade Pasta with Meat Sauce), a type of pasta (also known as fileja) usually served with a pork-based sauce.
- From Campania is Minestra Maritata (“Married” Soup), eggs beaten with hot pepper and bits of veal are added to a base of chicory and escarole in a capon broth.
- From Emilia Romagna is Tortellini in Brodo (Tortellini In Broth), a must. Homemade egg-pasta is rolled paper-thin to wrap up little bits of meat-based filling, cooked and served in hot broth.
- From Friuli Venezia Giulia is Brovada E Muset (Turnips and Sausage), typical winter dish made of pickled turnips and a special cooked pork sausage.
- From Lazio is Abbacchio Al Forno Con Patate (Roasted Lamb and Potatoes), lamb main course, braised with garlic, rosemary, vinegar and anchovies.
- From Liguria is Cappon Magro (Lean Gurnard), an ancient traditional recipe made with fish and vegetables.
- From Lombardia is Cappone Ripieno (Stuffed Capon), capon stuffed with ground meat, egg, Parmesean cheese and mortadella. Served with mostarda di Cremona, a spicy candied fruit condiment.
- From Marche is Vincisgrassi (Marche Lasagna), baked pasta dish made with ground beef, sausage, chopped chicken, cured prosciutto ham and sometimes mushrooms.
- From Molise is Baccala Arracanato (Breaded Cod), breadcrumbs, garlic, parsley, oregano, raisins, pine nuts and walnuts enhance this cod recipe.
- From Puglia is Capitone Alla Brace (Grilled Eel), grilling the eel eliminates the excess fat and makes it easier to digest.
- From Piemonte is Bue Bollito Di Carrù o Moncalvo (Boiled Ox), boiled ox, Piedmont style, served with typical local green and red bagnetto sauces.
- From Sardegna is Culurgiones De Casa (Home-style Ravioli), Ravioli stuffed with fresh sheep cheese, chard, nutmeg and saffron.
- From Sicilia is Timballo Di Pasta Al Forno In Crosta (Crusty Baked Pasta), macaroni in pork sauce baked in a breadcrumb-lined pan.
- From Toscana is Crostini Ai Fegatini (Chicken Liver Canapés), chicken liver purée with capers and anchovies spread on slices of bread, preferably stale and softened with broth.
- From Trentino Alto Adige is Canederli (Dumplings), bread dumplings made with a variety of ingredients, typically served in soup or with a melted butter or meat sauce.
- From Umbria is Cappelletti Ripieni (Stuffed Pasta Soup), both the broth and the pasta filling are made with capon.
- From Valle d’Aosta is Carbonata (Beef In Red Wine), strips of meat marinated in red wine and herbs sautéed with cured pork fat (lardo).
- From Veneto is Polenta E Baccalà (Cod and Corn Porridge), this codfish dish may be prepared with or without tomatoes.
These recipes can be found online and they can be made your own. If you are thinking about trying an Italian Christmas or maybe just a new dinner dish, try them out!