Italians are very serious about celebrating major holidays and very serious about indulging in all sorts of great traditional recipes prepared for the occasions. The Italian calendar is filled with holidays that spread across the whole year.
Another holiday that has found its way into the Italian tradition is Valentine’s Day a tradition of ancient Rome. A day filled with romance, where stomachs are filled with different kinds of traditional prepared food.
The Christmas season is the biggest holiday of the Christian calendar in Italy. The colors of the day are adopted from the national flag of Italy which are green, white and red. Over the years Italy has developed unique Christmas customs that are not to be found anywhere else in the world.
From the color schemes to the different types of traditional food Christmas is one of the most widely celebrated traditional holidays throughout Italy.
Amongst the various religious holidays is that of Easter and Easter Monday. The particular date always varies each year but irrespective of the actual date that it falls on Easter time is filled with many ceremonies and festivals. The Italians have their own culinary customs that uphold this religious holiday.
|Christmas Holiday Recipes
| Italian Style Holiday Green Salad
Salted Cod - Baccala
Stingray - Rai
Rice Balls - Arangni
Cuccidata - Cuchidahti (Sicilian Fig Cookies)
| Italian Style Green Salad
1 whole Romain Salad
1 whole Icebeberg Salad
1 whole Radicchio Salad
3 medium tomatoes
1 whole onion
olives with no pits (20)
2 medium cucumbers
3 ounces olive oil
1 ounce red vinigar
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 Make sure the leaves are cool and dry, as you don't want water in your dressing. Put the salad in a bowl and wait until you are ready to eat before adding the dressing, as it will be soggy otherwise.
2 Salad mix: Romain, Iceberg, Radicchio, tomato, onion, olives and cucumbers.
3 Mix together dressing mix: 3 parts olive oil, 1 part red vinigar. Salt, pepper, garlic powder and oregano.
| Baccala Fritto a la Santa Elisabetta
2 lbs. of salted cod
1/2 cup of olive oil
lemon juice (2)
1• Bath baccala in a pot of cold water for two days to reduce the salt content. Change water two or three times a day.
2• When ready heat 1 inch of oil in a deep skillet/dip baccala in flour, and shake off excess/fry until golden,drain on paper towels, and serve with lemon wedges. or
• Make a marinade with oil, lemon juice and pepper/cut baccala into 2 inch pieces, and marinate overnight. Prepare batter by beating eggs together with 3 tbls. of flour,salt, and pepper/heat oil in a deep skillet/dredge fish in flour, and dip into batter/fry until golden on both sides.
2 lbs. of Stingray
1/2 cup of olive oil
lemon juice (2)
1• When you buy Stingray at the fish market make sure it is cleaned and cut up in portions.
2• When ready heat 1 inch of oil in a deep skillet/dip Stingray in flour, and shake off excess/fry until golden,drain on paper towels, and serve with lemon wedges.
500 grams of rice (italian rice ie: pastene, primo, unico brand)
1 cup of grated cheese romano or parmesan
breadcrumbs as needed
vegetable oil for frying
1• Cook rice until tender. Drain and rinse. Pour rice in a large bowl and add eggs, cheese, parsley, basil, black pepper and a little salt. Mix well.
2• Take rice mixture in your hands, lay it flat on your hand, make an indentation in the center, add the sauce, cheese, and add the rice on top to form a round ball. Roll in breadcrumbs and put aside.
3• Heat oil and fry rice balls until a golden brown. Remove and put on paper towel. Serve after cooling for 10 minutes.
• 1/2 cup maraschino cherry (chopped)
• 1 tbsp Orange Zest (finely shredded)
• 1/2 cup mixed dried Fruit
• 1/2 cup Butter
• 2-1/2 cups Baking Powder
• 3 cups All-Purpose Flour
• 1 cup Sugar
• 2 large Eggs
• 1 Egg Yolk
• 1 Egg White
• 1 tbsp Sugar
1 Take butter in a large bowl and beat it using an electric mixer on a medium to high speed for about 40 seconds.
2 Add sugar, baking powder. Again beat thoroughly to mix them well.
3 Now beat in whole eggs and egg yolk.
4 Beat in the flour as much as possible with the mixture.
5 Stir in remaining flour, mix dried fruits, and orange peel with a spoon and divide the dough in half.
6 Shape each half into an 11x2x1 inch loaf. Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet and stir together egg white and 1 tsp. water.
7 Brush over dough. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp. sugar.
8 Bake in a 375F oven for 20 to 25 minutes or till light brown. Cool on sheet for 1 hour and then cut each loaf diagonally into 1/2-inch slices.
9 Place the slices with their cut side up on an ungreased cookie sheet.
10 Bake in a 325F oven for 10 minutes. Turn slices over and bake 10 to 13 minutes more or till crisp. Cool on wire racks.
| Cuccidata - Cuchidahti (Sicilian Fig Cookies)
1 lb of dried figs
1 lb of raisins
1 jar of honey
1 cup of walnuts
1 cup of almonds
Rind of lemon
Rind of orange
1 A meat grinder is best, using a blender can be a big mistake. A food processor may also work.
2 Soak the figs in some water, and stew them for a few minutes to soften them.
3 Chop nuts up fine in a nut chopper.
4 Put a 1/2 cup of sherry and other ingredients into food processor a little at a time, and grind up (no need to add sherry during grinding if you use a meat chopper, you can add that later when you mix in the nuts).
5 Remove from processor and put in large bowl, add nuts and mix well.
6 Add more sherry as needed as to not have mixture too dry. A medium to dry consistency is what to look for.
7 Put in a covered plastic container and store in refrigerator. This can be stored for up to a year. Add a teaspoon of sherry to mixture once a month to keep fermented.
4 1/4 cups All Purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cups butter
1/2 cup plus 5 tablespoons cold water
1 Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl.
2 Add butter and cut in with a pastry cutter or knife until crumbly.
3 Sprinkle the cold water in and toss lightly with a fork until mixed.
4 Add remaining water, a tablespoon at a time, mixing until dough is smooth.
5 Heat oven to 275 degrees and take half the dough on a lightly floured surface, roll it out into a 12 x 18 inch rectangle (it should be about 1/8“ thick).
6 Cut into 3” wide strips and spread 4 tablespoons of filling down the center of each strip, leave about 1“ on either side.
7 Moisten the bare sides with water, fold over and press lightly with a fork to seal.
8 Cut each strip into 6-2” cookies, cut and slit in the fold side of each cookie, almost like giving it gills.
9 Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, bending each cookie into a slight curve. Bake about 20 minutes until bottoms are brown.
3 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp. anise flavoring
Dash of salt
1 While cookies are baking sift confectioner’s sugar into a mixing bowl, add milk, salt and anise flavor and beat until smooth.This is a runny icing that will dry hard.
2 When done baking, remove from each cookie from cookie sheet and cool them on a wire rack, then ice.
3 Repeat with remaining half of dough and filling.
In conclusion: You can use this filling for the italian cookies. Just flatten a small piece of dough and put a teaspoon of filling on it and fold sides up and pinch closed. Bake the same as for the plain cookies. And decorate or leave plain.
The Food & Drink, People, History, Culture, Language, News, Folklore, History, Links, Traditions & More!
| Panettone (Christmas Cake)
1 oz. baker's yeast
3 oz. flour
2 cups flour
7 tbs. sugar
1 whole egg
5 egg yolks
1/2 cup melted butter
6 tbs. raisins, soaked and squeezed
2 oz. candied orange and lemon peel, diced
1 1/2 tbs. butter
1 Mix the yeast with the flour and as much water as necessary for the dough to be elastic. Wrap in a towel and put into a warm draft-free place (an unlit oven, for example) until doubled in size (it should take approx. 30 mins) and the surface is uneven. Make a small fontana with 4 tbs. flour. Crumble the dough cake on top of it, add 1/2 cup warm water and knead until the dough is elastic. Let rise in a warm place for 3 hours.
2 Punch down the dough, and then, knead in another 4 tbs. flour, with as much warm water as necessary. Place the dough in a warm place to rise for 2 hours. Combine the sugar, the whole egg and the yolks. Mix well and cook in a double boiler for a few minutes, beating the mixture with a whisk so that it becomes light and airy. Let cool.
3 Make another fontana with the remaining flour. Put in a pinch of salt, the risen dough, the butter and the egg mixture into the middle. Knead energetically for 20 mins. When the dough is smooth and elastic, add the raisins and candied peel. Grease and flour a sheet of waxed paper and place the dough in the center. Make a ring around it with a rectangular piece of cardboard and let rise in a warm place for at least 6 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.
4 Cut a cross on top of the cake with a sharp knife and put 1 tbs. butter in the middle. Cook the panettone in a pre-heated 400ºF oven for 40-45 mins. The cake is ready when a skewer inserted in the center comes out dry.
|Easter Holiday Recipes
|Miscateddri - Sicilian Calzone
| Miscateddri - Sicilian Calzone
This recipe is one of my mothers. I hope you enjoy them. Now I can pass the recipe onto my friends as they have always asked me for it but never got around to write it down.
Makes: 18 to 24
For the starter:
1 envelope (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 cup lukewarm water
For the dough:
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon plus 1/3 cup vegetable oil
For the meat filling:
2 to 3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
2 onions, chopped
1 pound pork
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the spinach filling (optional):
1 pound spinach, or chard
salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the balance of ingredients:
4 potatoes cut in small cubes
freshly grated black pepper
1• To make the starter for the dough, in a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the lukewarm water. Set aside for 10 minutes until frothy.
2• To make the dough, in a bowl, stir together the flour, salt, and the 1 teaspoon oil. Add the starter and using a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, beat on medium speed until a soft dough forms, about 10 minutes. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and divide into 2 balls. Place the balls in a bowl, add the 1/3 cup oil, and toss to coat the balls with the oil. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise until almost doubled in size, about 1-1/2 hr.
3• Meanwhile, select one of the fillings and prepare it. The meat filling you do not have to cook it, just add the salt and pepper and set aside.
4• To prepare the spinach or chard filling, cook until wilted in the rinsing water clinging to the leaves, squeeze the spinach dry, and chop finely. Place in a bowl and add salt and pepper and mix well.
5• To prepare the onion filling, in a pan warm the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until soft and golden, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, place in a bowl, and let cool.
6• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two cookie sheet pans with olive oil or vegetable oil.
7• On a lightly floured work surface, with a rolling pin roll out a ball of dough into a large circle (the size of a large pizza) and about 1/5 inch thick (the thinner the dough is spread the better). Take one tablespoon of oil and spread all over the flattened dough.
8• Now you can start spreading your ingredients just like you are dressing a pizza. First your meat, then your potatoes, your onions, chards or spinach and the olives.
9• Now take the edge of the dough and start rolling it with your hands as if rolling a large cigar (ha! ha!), start from the right hand side and work your way to the left but be a little careful when rolling it because the dough with the filling becomes a little thin and will tend to tear. Once you have finished rolling it, cut the roll every 2 to 2-1/2 inches long all the way across. Take each piece in your hand and twist both end into a ball and place in the greased pan about 1-1/2 apart.
10• Bake the impenulati or the miscateddri (Sicilian-slang) until golden, approx. 30 minutes. Serve hot or warm. If you make a large quantity you can also freeze them. Enjoy. Courtesy my Mom.
| Homemade Lasagna - Bolognese
1 tbsp oilive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic
1 lb fresh lean ground beef
1 lb fresh lean ground pork
1 lb fresh lean ground veal
1 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper (or to taste)
1 can (28 oz/796 mL) whole tomatoes
2 cans (28 oz/796 mL) crushed tomatoes
whole dried red chili pepper
1 tsp oregano
5 leaves fresh basil
grated romano or parmesan cheese
450 ml ricotta chese (italian style)
1 brick mozzarella cheese 500 grams
Step 1 - The Sauce
1 In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic; cook until lightly browned
2 Add all three meats, salt and pepper; cook 10 minutes or until meat is cooked through, stirring constantly.
3 Stir in tomatoes, bay leaf, chili pepper, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
4 Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook lasagna pasta 6 minutes (half cooked), al dente. The reason the pasta is half cooked is because in the oven the lasagna will resume cooking.
5 Drain lasagna pasta and set aside.
Step 2 -The Assembly
6 In a large baking pan add some sauce to the bottom of the pan.
7 Add the lasagna one piece at the time and compile them side by side.
8 Now add some sauce on the layer. Add grated cheese and little bit of shredded mozzarella so the layers stay together and firm.
9 On the third layer of lasagna pasta add the sauce and the ricotta, egg mixture . Keep going until you get to the top of the pan. 10 You should have not more than 6 layers. The ricotta mixture should be put on at leat two of the layers.
11 The final addembly is the last layer - lots of mozzarella and grated cheese.
Step 3 -The Cooking Process
12• Now that the lasagna is put together pre-heat oven 350 degrees F. Let cook 25 minutes covered. Uncover and cook an additional 15 minutes. If the top is still now browned - Open top element in oven for a few minutes and monitor the cooking cycle so not to burn the top of the lasagna. Once you have achieved the full cooking process let chill for at least 20 minutes so that the lasagna becomes firm enough to cut into portions without having the lasagna to break apart and be to liquid. The important thing is let it cool.
• In a bowl mix ricotta and eggs and whisk until creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste.
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup rum
1/4 cup coffee liqueur
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
16 ounces Mascarpone
1 1/2 - 7 ounce packages ladyfingers
2 cups brewed strong coffee
1 With an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks with 1/2 cup of sugar until thick and very light, about 3 minutes. Add the rum and coffee liqueur and beat until smooth. Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the egg yolk mixture. Add the Mascarpone and cinnamon and beat until evenly combined. Reserve this mixture.
2 In a clean mixer bowl, beat the egg whites until frothy. With the mixer running, gradually add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and beat to stiff peaks. Gently fold the beaten egg whites into the reserved egg yolk mixture until evenly combined.
3 Cover the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch pan with a single layer of ladyfingers. Brush the ladyfingers with coffee lightly. Spread half of the mascarpone filling over the ladyfingers. Repeat with another layer of ladyfinger, soaked with coffee, and mascarpone filling.
4 Sprinkle the surface of the tiramisu with unsweetened cocoa powder and chill for at least 2 hours before serving.
|Halloween - Ossa dei Morti
|Halloween Pumpkin Pie
| Halloween Pumpkin Pie
2 Cups Pumpkin (canned or puree)
2 Tbsp. Butter, melted
2/3 Cup Brown Sugar
1 1/4 Cups Half & Half (or Whole Milk)
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Ground Cloves
1/4 tsp. Ground Ginger
1/2 tsp. Ground Nutmeg
9" pie crust
1 Place the pumpkin in a bowl, and add 2 Tbsp. of melted butter stirring well.
2 In a separate bowl, beat the eggs well. Then, beat in brown sugar, milk, salt, and spices until thoroughly blended. Add in the pumpkin mixture, and mix well.
3 Pour into the pie crust and make sure to use the center rack in the oven at 425 degrees F for 10 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake an additional 30 to 40 minutes until the filling is firm.
4 Cool before serving. Best with whipped cream
|Saint Joseph - San Giuseppe
|Staint Joseph's Bread
| Saint Joseph's Bread
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey
2/3 cup hot water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons anise
1/3 cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon cornmeal
1 In a large bowl, stir together 1 1/2 cups of the flour, yeast, honey, hot water, salt, butter and anise seeds. Mix into a smooth batter. Stir in the golden raisins, and beat for another 10 minutes, gradually adding flour until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
2 Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for another 8 to 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. You may not need to use all of the flour. Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap, and place in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
3 Grease a baking sheet and dust with cornmeal. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and punch out all of the air. Roll into a long tight loaf, and place seam side down onto the prepared baking sheet. Use a sharp serrated knife to make 3 or four diagonal slashes on the top. Cover with a tea towel, and let rise until double in size, about 30 minutes.
4 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Mist the loaf with water of vinegar before baking, and twice during.
5 Bake for 35 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the crust is golden brown, and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
|Valentine's Day - San Valentino
Risotto with Asparagus
| Risotto with Asparagus
3 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter -1 Tbsp Removed To Finish The Dish
1/4 Cup Finely Chopped Onion
1 Clove Of Garlic
1 Cup Arborio Rice
1/4 Cup White Wine
3 Cups Chicken or Vegetable Broth
1/4 Pound Fresh Asparagus Cut Into 1 Inch Pieces
1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 Heat the 2 tablespoons of butter in a heavy saucepan.
2 Add the onions and cook until translucent.
3 Next add the garlic and cook another minute.
4 Add the rice and stir until it is well coated with the butter.
5 Begin to add the wine, and stir continually over medium heat until it is absorbed.
6 Start to add 1/4 cup of hot broth, stirring as it is absorbed.
7 Continue in this manner, adding ladles full of hot broth, and stirring continuously.
8 About 15 minutes into the cooking time, add the asparagus pieces and continue cooking for about 20-25 total minutes or until the rice is cooked, but remains slightly firm to the teeth.
9 Remove from the heat, add the remaining butter and the parmesan cheese. Serve, offering additional cheese if desired, and garnishing with the asparagus tips if desired.
| Aphrodisiac Foods
Asparagus - Legend has it that asparagus "stirs up lust in man and woman," as one long-ago herbal medicine proponent put it. One reason may be its shape. Another may be its nutrient profile, which includes ample doses of Vitamins A and C, calcium, iron and potassium. In any case, 19th century French bridegrooms were required to eat several helpings of asparagus because of its reputed love powers.
Artichoke - Simply eating an artichoke is a sensual experience, from stripping and dipping the leaves to slowly scraping the flesh off with your teeth. Catherine de Medici ate prodigious volumes of this vegetable and fed them regularly to her husband, King Henry IV, in part because of her belief in its aphrodisiac qualities. And Marilyn Monroe was the first Queen of the Artichokes even before she was anointed the ultimate sex goddess. That couldn't be a coincidence.
Dark Chocolate - Slow sips of red wine paired with decadent nibbles of rich dark chocolate -- what better way to spend an intimate evening? Dark chocolate has long been revered as Food of the Gods, dating back to the Aztecs. Chocolate contains phenylethylamine, or PEA, which is the same chemical (similar to amphetamine) released by the brain when people fall in love, producing a euphoric, dreamy feeling.
Figs - As with bananas and carrots, figs have been regarded as aphrodisiacs in the popular imagination and even in erotic literature based on their appearance. They were reputed to be Cleopatra's favorite food, are associated with fertility in many cultures (in part because they have up to 1,600 seeds per fruit), and have the highest mineral content of all fresh fruits.
Ginger - You know that almost stinging spiciness you initially feel when you pop a piece of ginger in your mouth? This lovely sting is so successful in puffing lips to their most kissable, it’s the secret ingredient in many lip-plumping glosses. Ginger also has the ability to increase circulation — to every part of the body. Chocolate dip chunks of candied ginger or finely chop it and sprinkle it over vanilla ice cream or berries and whipped cream.
Oysters - Perhaps not an everyday food for you, oysters are one of the more renowned aphrodisiac foods. Loaded with zinc, phosphorous and iodine, this libido-enhancing shellfish can be served as a first course to whet your lover’s lusty appetite.
Vanilla - Whether you steep a split vanilla bean in a delectable lobster sauce or light up your bedroom with vanilla-scented candles, this universally beloved flavor and fragrance creates an instant sensuous mind tease, lifting libido and priming you for passion.
Strawberries - They're red, they're juicy, they're shaped like an edible heart, and they were the symbol of Venus - the mythological goddess of love. Put it together, and it's easy to see why strawberries acquired the aphrodisiac label. The ancient Romans credited the fruit with whetting the sexual appetite, the French used to serve newlyweds cold strawberry soup to encourage romantic honeymoons.
Red Wine - Particularly good for your heart health, red wine – in moderation – can loosen your inhibitions and give you a night of potent passion. Just don’t drink too much; in excess, alcohol hinders peak sexual performance.
| back to top