Christmas luncheon with my Italian families. In every dish there is the memory of nonne (grandmothers), mums or aunties that create little masterpieces and that at least once in a lifetime made us (as young Italian children) taste a dish with that homemade, special, authentic power. Every small village in Abruzzo has its own secret recipes cherished and replicated by tradition when holiday time comes. Nevertheless some common dishes can be found throughout Abruzzo.
This is my nonna’s menu:
Below: homemade dumplings (ravioli) filled with ricotta cheese, with a tomato sauce and parmesan cheese on top
Below: Lasagna with veggies, cheese and creamy sauce (timballo)
Below: cardone, meatballs, bread cooked in chicken broth (brod0 di cardone)
Below: cannelloni in chicken broth
First courses: Brodo di cardone (chicken broth with pieces of cardoon and meatballs, cubes of corn bread and egg beaten in the broth), timballo (lasagna with minced meat, mozzarella and parmesan). Scrippelle ‘mbusse (Cannelloni in chicken broth). Ravioli with ricotta cheese and tomato sauce.
Roasted lamb, boiled beef.
Torroncini (small nougats)
Below: Parrozzo (dome shaped cake made with a mixture of almonds, semolina, eggs and lemon, all drizzled by dark chocolate)
Below: Pepatelli (made with honey, dried fruit and whole meal flour and black pepper)
Below: hosts filled with almonds, cashew nuts and honey (Ferratelle)
Below: fried dumplings stuffed with grape jam, almonds, chocolate, chickpeas or chest nuts purèe (caggionetti)
My wonderful, modern and understanding nonna for the last 3 Christmases has cleverly changed her menu to satisfy my mum, my sister and I…we all became vegetarian at the same time!
At my parents in-law (Padua, Veneto region) a traditional lunch on Christmas day sounds like this:
First courses: ravioli in capon broth, gnocchi with duck sauce or radicchio risotto
Risotto is doubtlessly my mother in law’s secret weapon! She also makes a version with leek and cheese! YUM!
Below: Radicchio Risotto (Risotto al radicchio)
Second courses: polenta and baccalà, boiled beef with horseradish sauce and smashed potatoes
Desserts: Pandoro from Verona, mustard with mascarpone cheese, mandorlato from Cologna Veneta. As far as wines: Amarone della Valpolicella or Raboso del Piave, prosecco from Conegliano or Valdobbiadene.
Below: Panettone from Milan
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