Christmas Italian Menu And Traditions


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Christmas Italian Menu And Traditions

  1. 1. Starter Bruschetta Main courses Tortellini al Ragù Polpettone Dessert Panettone Milanese Drinks Red wine, Spumante, Grappa, Sicilian Liqueurs
  2. 2. BRUSCHETTA Ingredients 1 loaf French baguette • fresh basil • 1 clove garlic, minced • salt to taste • black pepper • tablespoons olive oil • cup chopped tomatoes • chopped onion Preparation 1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Arrange the bread slices on a non-stick cookie sheet. 2. In a small mixing bowl combine chopped tomatoes, onion, olive oil, salt, pepper. 3. Bake the bread slices for 5 minutes or until crisp and brown. 4. Arrange toast on a serving platter. Spread each piece of toast with a thin layer of the mixture with basil on top. TORTELLINI AL RAGU' Ingredients For the filling - 250g pork shoulder - 250g Mortadella - -250g Italian sausages -100g Parmesan - Nutmeg - 2 eggs - Salt and black pepper • For the ragù • 1kg pork shoulder • 500g Italian pancetta • 100g celery • 100g onion • 100g carrots • 500ml white wine • 50g tomato paste • 1kg tomato sauce • Salt and black pepper
  3. 3. For the pasta dough • 1kg flour • 8 eggs • 50ml olive oil • salt Method: How to make tortellini al ragù To make the pasta dough 1. Mix the ingredient together until you reach a smooth dough. To make the filling 1. Cook the diced pork shoulder and the Italian sausages in a pan with a little olive oil. Mince the meat together with the Mortadella. 2. Mix the rest of the ingredients all together and make the tortellini. To make the ragù 1. Mince the pork shoulder and the Italian pancetta separately. 2. Chop very finely the vegetables celery carrots and the onion. 3. Sweat the vegetables in a pan with some olive oil add pancetta and cook. 4. Add the pork shoulder and cook the meat until brown add the white wine and let it evaporate. 5. Add the tomato paste and the tomato sauce, cook for about 3 hours adding water if necessary. POLPETTONE RIPIENO (STUFFED POLPETTONE) Ingredients (for 4 – 6 people): 500 g of Meat minced of pork 3 Eggs 1 Egg white 300 g of Spinach 30 g of Parmesan Olive Oil for fry 1 Glass of white wine Fresh rosemary Fresh sage Salt Pepper COOKING TIME: 1 hour PREPARATION Start preparing the stuffing of the polpettone: cook the spinach that you can use fresh or frozen and the hard-boiled egg. Bring the spinach to boil for about 10 minutes, when they are ready drain and let them cool. For the egg: place it in a pan with water, bring the water boil and continue to boil for 7 minutes, after this time the egg is ready, let the hard-boiled egg cool, shell it and cut it in slices. Preheat in a pan the olive oil for fry the polpettone. Now prepare the meat: place in a bowl the meat, two eggs, salt, pepper and mix, then add the Parmesan and mix all together. Pour the egg white over a cutting board; this step is useful to not thrust the meat
  4. 4. upon the cutting board. Then flatten out the meat over it and place on it the spinach and the slices of the hard-boiled egg. Now there is the step more difficult of the entire recipe. Close the polpettone paying attention to not pull out the stuffing and place it in the hot olive oil. Let the polpettone brown on both sides at high flame, this take about 15 minutes. Pay attention to not break the polpettone when you turn it on the other side. Then remove the oil from the pan, add some water, the sage, the rosemary and the wine, let it evaporated and continue to cook with a cover for about 20 minutes. During the cooking pay attention that water is always enough to obtain a sort of sauce that you can use to garnish the dish. When the polpettone is cook cut in slices and serve hot. PANETTONE MILANESE (Panettone of Milan) For the first rising: 5 ounces (140 g) fresh yeast cake (or biga; ask your baker for this) 3 1/3 cups (400 g) flour 3/8 cup (90 g) unsalted butter 5/8 cup (110 g) sugar 6 yolks 1/2 teaspoon salt 4/5 cup (200 ml) tepid water For the second rising: 2 1/3 cups (280 g) flour 5/8 cup (110 g) unsalted butter 7/8 pound (400 g) sultana raisins 1/2 cup (100 g) sugar 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1 teaspoon honey 1/2 teaspoon salt 6 yolks PREPARATION • Work the dough, if possible, with a dough mixer of the kind also used for making bread dough. Beating times with a mixer are on the order of 20 minutes, whereas hand-beating will require about 50. • The room where the panettone is made must be warm, about 72 degrees F (22 C). The flour should also be warm, about 68 F (20 C); what's generally used is 00 grade (very fine all-purpose flour) and extremely dry. If it has been wet where you are, you may want to dry your flour in an oven, as it absorbs moisture unless it is tightly sealed. The water used should be warm, about 76 F (24 C). • Don't forget a pinch of salt, because it stimulates rising. • Commercial bakers use a sour dough starter (i.e. wild yeast). Home recipes generally call for baker's yeast.
  5. 5. • The baking time will depend upon the size of the panettone. Assuming an oven temperature of 400 F (200 C), half an hour will be sufficient for small to medium-sized panettoni, whereas larger ones will require considerably more. Home ovens are best suited to small-medium-sized panettoni. • If you want the surface of the panettone to be shiny, slip a bowl of water into the oven when the panettone is half-baked to raise the humidity. A little flour for dusting the work surface and mold. The afternoon before you plan to bake the panettone, begin by cutting the butter into a casserole and melting it over a very low flame or a double boiler; keep it warm enough to remain melted. Dissolve the sugar in about 2/5 cup (100 ml) of warm water.Put the melted butter, salt, and yeast cake in a mixing bowl (or better yet the bowl of an electric mixer) and mix well. Next, add, while mixing briskly, the yolks and sugar, and -- still mixing briskly -- sift in the flour. Should the dough be quite stiff add a little more water. Continue to mix briskly for about 25 minutes, throwing the dough against the sides of the bowl, until it has become smooth, velvety, and full of air bubbles. At this point put it in a lightly floured bowl large enough for it to triple in volume, cover it with a heavy cloth, and keep it in a warm (85 F, 30 C) place for about 10 hours. Wash the raisins, picking over them to remove sticks and whatnot, drain them well, and set them on a cloth to dry. Italian Red Wine (Sicilian "Nero d'Avola" or "Cerasuolo") Italian Champagne:"Spumante" Italian Grappa Sicilian Liqueurs: "Limoncello" Pistachio "Rosolio"
  6. 6. Christmas in Italy is celebrated over a period of three weeks. The entire atmosphere is filled up with anticipation, awaiting the joyous celebration. A special prayer service and church worship begin eight days prior to Christmas. This service is called Novena and it lasts for nine consecutive days. Christmas is very unique, since it has two origins. As per the first origin, which everyone is familiar with, it celebrates the birth of Christ. The second origin related to "Saturnalia" (a winter solstice celebration), the greatest feast of the ancient Roman Empire. In other words, the festival honors Christ's birth as well as the birth of the "Unconquered Sun”. In Italy, the history of Christmas takes us back to St. Francis of Assisi, who once asked Giovanni Vellita, a Greccio villager, to create a manger. The manger turned out to be very beautiful and in turn, St. Francis performed a Mass before it. Nowadays, on the 8th of December, the day of the Immacolata, is observed a tradition to set up the "Presepio" (Crib) and the Christmas tree. The Presepio (manger or crib) represents, by means of small statues (usually hand-carved and finely detailed in features and dress), scenes regarding Jesus' birth with the Holy Family and the baby Jesus in the stable. The tree is a fir, real or fake, decorated with colored balls and multicolored lights. Both the "Presepio" and the tree are put away in the evening of next year on January 6th.