Traditional Italian Christmas Eve Dinner
No traditional Italian Christmas eve dinner is complete without dishes originating in the homeland of Italy. Most Italians in days of yore eschewed eating meat on Fridays or Holy Days so Christmas eve dinner was mostly filled with tomato based pasta dishes and a traditional fish dish called Baccala (salted cod fish). In fact, Christmas eve dinner even had a name for it - The Feast of the Seven Fishes.
- A traditional Italian Christmas eve dinner consists of at least seven fish ingredients. A really nice dish is fresh calamari sauteed in olive oil and mixed with fresh spaghetti. Top with a bit of parmesan cheese and you're on your way to a great traditional Italian Christmas eve dinner.
- Any kind of pasta dish with a tomato based sauce is also a good traditional Italian Christmas eve dinner dish. If you're going very traditional, do not add any meat to the sauce. Instead, use some vegetables to spice it up - such as sauteed spinach or zuchini.
- If your family likes shellfish, serve up a delicious dish of mussels in white wine sauce. This is quite easy to do although mussels intimidate a lot of people. Simply clean the shellfish of their 'beard' (the kind of hairy like thing hanging out of the shell), toss in a pan with warm wine and olive oil. Cover for just three minutes. When the shells pop open, the mussels are done. Note: Do not eat any mussels which are not opened.
- If you're not as interested in being strictly traditional during your Italian Christmas eve dinner, serve a meat lasagna. With the advent of good quality lasagna noodles, there's no need to make your own pasta. Make a mixture of ricotta and mozarella cheeses and layer between the noodles. Add a ladleful of sauce over each layer. Top the lasagna casserole with another ladleful of tomato sauce, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and pop in the oven for 35 minutes at 350F. Serve when the cheese is browned and bubbly.
- Finish your traditional Italian Christmas eve dinner with a plateful of cannolis. Cannolis are best bought at a good Italian bakery rather than made as the shells are very difficult to shape and cook properly. Offer Frangelica or Sambuca to top off your dessert course.