Christmas in ItalyHi everybody!How are you? We think that all of you have learnt a lot about Altamura.Do you remember your staying here?It‟s Christmas time so these are some news about our traditions and atypical Christmas recipe of Altamura.Our Christmas holidays start on the 23rd of December and end on the 7th ofJanuary.On Christmas‟ Eve we go to the Church to wait for Jesus Christ‟s birth atnight.Here we sing Christmas Carols.Little children believe in Santa Claus and they wait for him because hebrings them the presents they ask for.We are 14, we are old, but we wait for Santa Claus at the same to receivepresents.What about you?We usually spend Christmas Day at our grand parents‟ house. We have aspecial lunch. We eat “Lasagne al forno o cannelloni”.Then there is roast lamb with patatoes and vegetables. We like all that butwe prefer cakes. The most typical cakes are the “cartellate” with cookedwine or sugar and cinnamon. We are sending you the recipe.Other traditional cakes are: Panettone, Pandoro, mustacciuoli and nougat.
After lunch, all together with relatives and friends, we play a lot of cardand board games till late.Same people prefer going to the cinema in the afternoon.On the 31st of December we wait for the New Year.We spend that night all together with relatives and friends as well.In each family they eat stuffed pig‟s trotter with lentils and “Cotechino” atype of Italian pork sausage.Lentils are of good auspicious for a wealthy new year.And now some recipes: CartellateIngredients:White flour - 1 KgWhite wine - 200 gramsSugar / SaltOlive oil - 100 gramsHoney or cooked wineCinnamon powderIcing sugarPreparationPut the flour on a work surface and combine with olive oil and white wine.Make a dough out of it. Roll out the pastry into long rolls and cut them intopieces.Their shapes can vary from flowers, butterflies to rosettes.Fry them in plenty olive oil. Place them on kitchen paper to drain off theexcess oil.In a large pan heat the honey or the vin cotto (cooked or mulled wine) andplaces the cookies in it.Let them simmer a few minutes so they absorb the honey or the wine.
Pile them up on a serving plate and sprinkle with icing sugar and cinnamonpowder.Great served both hot or cold. Lasagne al fornoIngredients 1 pound dried lasagna noodles Olive oil 1 onion, chopped 2 cloves garlic, , sliced 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped 2 tablespoons fresh „origan‟, chopped 3 bay leaves 1 1/2 pounds ground beef 1 pound ground Italian sausage 6 ounces tomato paste, (1 can) 30 ounces ricotta cheese, (2 containers) 1/4 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped 2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped Salt and black pepper, to taste 2 eggs, lightly beaten 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese 4 cups tomato sauce, prepared 1 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded Grated Parmesan and mozzarella, for toppingDirectionsCook the lasagna noodles in plenty of boiling salted water until pliable andbarely tender, about 10 minutes. Stir with a wooden spoon to preventsticking. Drain the noodles thoroughly, coat with olive oil keep them moistand easy to work with.
Coat a large skillet with olive oil. Sauté over medium heat, onion, garlic andherbs. Cook 5 minutes. Brown beef and sausage until no longer pink, about15 minutes. Drain fat into a small container and discard. Stir in the tomatopaste completely. Set aside to cool.In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta, parsley and oregano. Stir in beaten eggs.Add Parmesan, season with salt and pepper.To assemble the lasagna: Coat the bottom of a 13 by 9-inch pan with a ladlefull of tomato sauce. Arrange 4 noodles lengthwise in a slightly overlappinglayer on the sauce. Then, line each end of the pan with a lasagna noodle.This forms a collar that holds in the corners. Spread 1/2 of the meat mixtureover the pasta. Dollop 1/2 of the ricotta mixture over the meat, spread tothe edges with a spatula. Sprinkle 1/2 of the mozzarella on top of thericotta. Top with a ladle full of tomato sauce, spread evenly. Repeat withthe next layer of noodles, meat, cheeses and sauce. Top last layer withnoodles, sauce and shredded mozzarella and Parmesan. Tap the pan to forceout air bubbles. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour. Removefrom oven. Let lasagna rest for 30 minutes so the noodles will settle and cuteasily. Cut into 2-inch squares and serveBuon appetito!!!We are sending you some questions too, write the answers back to us andwe will say to you if we can consider you „Altamura citizens‟: 1) According to the legend, who founded Altamura? 2) What is the name of the ancient town? 3) Why do you think Altamura was called the „other Troy‟? 4) What does „Jaltamùre mean? 5) What can you find in the Centopozzi country?But stop writing now.We wish you and to your families a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!Love and kisses from Altamura,Angela, Pietro, Maria Pia, Federica, Orsola, Mariagiovanna, Mariateresa,Alessandro, Dora, Luigi.Altamura, December 2010