It is the time to be joyful, happy, with family and friends. But it is also the time to eat, eat, eat, and it is what Italians do best.
The essence of Christmas Day in Italy is family, love and food, la famiglia, l’amore e il cibo. Italian festive food varies from region to region, although there are some common dishes. In the Italian Catholic tradition, Christmas Eve is a day of abstinence from meat so a celebratory banquet frequently features fish – some families even prepare as many as 20 different fish dishes! In Rome and southern Italy, il capitone, a dish made with fried eels is a firm favourite. After dinner, Italians head off for midnight mass.
Lunch, il pranzo, on Christmas Day is the most important of all the Christmas feasts and is a lengthy affair.
Delicacies such as crostini with liver pâté or the classic tortellini in chicken stock, brodo are on the table, while lo zampone, a pig’s foot filled with spiced mince meat, or il cotechino, a sausage made from pig’s intestines containing a similar filling, are particularly popular in northern Italy. Others opt for lamb, l’agnello and accompanying vegetables include mashed potato and lentils, lenticchie. Tortellini,cotechino and lenticchie are often on the menu again on New Year’s Eve.
Sweet-toothed Italians indulge in desserts such as nougat, il torrone, and a light Milanese cake filled with candied fruit and raisins, called il panettone. The main, traditional cake is gold bread, il pandoro, which is very similar but without the candied fruit or raisins. A gingerbread with hazelnuts, honey and almonds, il panforte, is also popular.
We wish you a very Merry Christmas with family and friends, cooking in the kitchen with Santa Cristina.
— 500g beef shoulder
— 500g beef shank
— 500g oxtail
— 4 carrots
— 4 spring onions
— 1 white onion
— 2 cloves
— 4 celery stalk
— 2 bayleaf
— 1 bone with marrow
— Spicy mustard
— Salt, pepper, butter
- Peel and clean all vegetables and cut into large chunks. Boil 6l of water with all the vegetables.
Allow to simmer for 30 minutes then add the meat and allow to cook gently about 2,5 h, skimming often.
- 20 minutes before the end of the cooking add the bone in the stock in order to extract the marrow. Then keep it aside.
- Plate the meat and vegetables on a large platter. Serve with mustard and tosted bread slices topped with the exctracted marrow.