Whenever you think about Italian cuisine, there are a number of dishes that frequently come to mind, especially lasagna. Where the international traveler is concerned, most of them feel that the allure of Italy is found in the cuisine, culture, Renaissance architecture, shopping opportunities, and the wines. However, with Christmas just around the corner, thoughts often turn to preparing a traditional Italian meal for the holidays to serve up to your family and friends.
Here are the top 3 Italian Christmas recipes that you should consider for the holidays if you want to have a delightful feast and the perfect meal to please your guests with:
Two-sauce lasagna – everyone is well aware of 3, 4, or 5 cheese lasagna recipes, but what about any of those that are cooked using a two sauce format? The two sauce dish is made using Béchamel and Bolognese sauces. Béchamel is a white cream sauce whereas Bolognese is a red tomato sauce filled with Italian sausage (hot or mild) and ground beef. Combine these two distinct sauces with your choice of the 3, 4, or 5 cheese formats, the pasta, and you have a Christmas dish that people will go back again and again.
Marinated Italian Salad – starting with a base of briefly boiled cauliflower and carrots, these are bathed quickly in cold water and set to the side. Once you have done this, mix the following ingredients together:
- - 1/4 cup of red wine
- - 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
- - 1/3 cup of chopped parsley
- - 1/2 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
- - 1/2 teaspoon of dry mustard
- - 3/4 teaspoon of salt
Place the cauliflower and carrots in the marinade for anywhere from a few hours to overnight if you like so that it can be served with the main course above.
Sardinian Lemon Meringues – this is a light dessert which is the perfect finish to the heavy meal and side dish above. You heat the following in an oven set on a lower heat (250°). Mix and prepare the following:
Whip 7 egg whites and 1/4 cup of salt until it becomes somewhat stiff in consistency. While still beating, gradually mix in 2 cups of white sugar until the proper meringue is achieved. Add two cups of chopped and toasted almond slivers and one finely grated lemon peel. Place dollops of the mixture on a greased baking sheet and place in the oven for 45 to 50 minutes in order to enjoy a light, tasty dessert.
There are no doubt other Italian holiday meals that you can compare, but the combination of the above all compliments one another perfectly.
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Photo by Maggie Hoffman