5 Italian Christmas Dinner Ideas That Will Transform Your Holiday Feast!

These 5 Italian Christmas dinner ideas will make your holiday parties more fun. Start with the tempting Fritto Misto, which is a mix of veggies and seafood that has been fried until crispy. Next, make Lasagna Bolognese, which is a standard comfort food made with pasta, rich meat sauce, and creamy béchamel.

Opt for an elegant main course with the lovely Roasted Branzino with Fennel and Olives. Enjoy the season with the rich Risotto with Porcini Mushrooms, which has been enhanced with truffle oil and Parmesan cheese.
Conclude your feast on a sweet note with the traditional panforte, a nut- and fruit-packed dessert. These recipes offer a festive Christmas with authentic Italian flavors. Buon Natale!

Fritto Misto

This classic Italian appetizer is great for sharing and features a variety of fried seafood and vegetables. Start with shrimp, calamari, and scallops, then add seasonal choices like artichoke hearts, zucchini, and eggplant. Coat them in a light batter, fry until golden brown, and season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Serve with a tomato-dipping sauce for an extra kick.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 pound calamari, cleaned and sliced into rings
  • 1/2 pound scallops
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • Vegetable oil for frying (around 3-4 cups)
  • Marinara sauce for dipping

Instructions:

  • Prepare the seafood: Use paper towels to pat dry the shrimp, calamari, and scallops. Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
  • Prepare the batter by whisking the egg and milk in a separate bowl. Coat each seafood piece in the egg mixture after dipping it in the flour mixture.
  • Heat the oil: Fill a deep fryer or big saucepan with enough oil to cover the bottom by about two inches. Preheat the oil to 175°C, or 350°F.
  • Fry the seafood: Gently add the coated fish to the heated oil while working in batches. Fry for two to three minutes, or until cooked through and golden brown. blot with paper towels.
  • Serve: Savor the hot Fritto Misto with a side of marinara sauce.

Lasagna Bolognese

Lasagna is a staple of any Italian meal, and Christmas is no exception. In this classic version, sheets of pasta, creamy béchamel sauce, and loads of mozzarella cheese are topped with a deep Bolognese sauce made with ground beef, pig, and tomatoes. Before slicing and serving, allow it to cool for a few minutes after baking until it becomes golden brown and bubbling.

Ingredients:

For the Bolognese sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the béchamel sauce:

  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Black pepper to taste

For the lasagna:

  • 12 lasagna noodles, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 pound ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh basil leaves, for garnish

Instructions:

  • To make the Bolognese sauce, place a large saucepan over medium heat with olive oil. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and simmer for approximately five minutes, or until softened.
  • Add the ground beef and pork, and heat until browned, breaking it up with a spoon. Eliminate any surplus fat.
  • Add the tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, red wine, beef broth, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper. After bringing to a simmer, lower the heat, and cook, stirring often, for at least an hour.
  • To make the béchamel sauce, heat a pot with melted butter over medium heat. After one minute, whisk in the flour and cook. Whisk in the milk gradually and simmer, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. Add pepper, nutmeg, and salt and stir.
  • Put the lasagna together: Turn the oven on to 375°F, or 190°C. Lightly coat the bottom of a 9 × 13-inch baking dish with Bolognese sauce. Cooked noodles should be layered on top, followed by ricotta, Bolognese, béchamel, and Parmesan cheeses. Continue layering, and then top with Parmesan cheese, Béchamel sauce, and Bolognese sauce.
  • Bake the dish for thirty minutes with the foil covering it. After removing the foil, bake for a further half hour, or until bubbling and browned. Before serving, let it rest for fifteen minutes and top with fresh basil.

Roasted Branzino with Fennel and Olives

Try this sophisticated dish for roasted branzino for a lighter main course. The delicate white fish is tucked into a bed of fennel and olives after being seasoned with citrus and herbs. A splash of lemon juice and olive oil completes the dish, while roasted tomatoes lend a hint of sweetness.

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole branzino (sea bass), 1 1/2 to 2 pounds, cleaned with head and tail intact
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram or oregano
  • 7 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 lemon slices
  • 2 pounds boiling potatoes, halved
  • 2 small fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup Gaeta or other Mediterranean-style black olives

Instructions:

  • Turn the oven on to 400°F, or 200°C.
  • Prepare the branzino. Pat the fish dry with paper towels after rinsing. Place half of the herbs, a slice of lemon, and a little olive oil within the cavity. On the inside and outside, liberally season with salt and pepper.
  • Toss the potatoes with two tablespoons olive oil, salt, and pepper before roasting them together with the fennel. Arrange them on a sizable baking sheet. After distributing the sliced fennel among the potatoes, drizzle with an additional two tablespoons of olive oil. Bake the potatoes for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they are beginning to soften and turn a golden brown.
  • After adding the fish, roast it through: Arrange the roasted veggies on top of the seasoned branzino. Add two more tablespoons of olive oil and squeeze in some lemon juice. Add more pepper and salt to taste. Encircle the fish with the leftover lemon slices and herbs.
  • Bake for a further 15 to 20 minutes, or until the skin is crisp and the fish is opaque white when flaked close to the bone.
  • Shift onto a serving dish: Remove the fish with care and place it on a dish that has been warmed. Arrange the roasted vegetables and olives around it. Drizzle the fish and veggies with the pan juices.
  • Serve right away: Savor your succulent roast branzino with fennel and olives, and feel free to garnish with fresh herbs if desired!

Risotto with Porcini Mushrooms

Savor the abundance of winter with this opulent risotto. A creamy and savory dish is produced when arborio rice is cooked gently in broth with white wine, Parmesan cheese, and porcini mushrooms. A garnish of fresh parsley brightens the plate and lends a hint of luxury, thanks to the truffle oil.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 cup Arborio rice (or Carnaroli rice)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)
  • 4 cups hot chicken or vegetable broth, divided
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)

Instructions:

  • To prepare the porcini, place the dried porcini mushrooms in a small bowl and pour hot water over them. Soak them for half an hour or more, or until they become tender. Reserve the soaking liquid after straining it through cheesecloth. Chop the softened mushrooms finely.
  • Melt two tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat and sauté the aromatics. Add the onion and simmer for about 5 minutes, or until softened. Once aromatic, add the garlic and simmer for an additional 30 seconds.
  • Toast the rice by adding it to the saucepan, stirring it to coat it in butter. Stirring continually, cook the rice for one to two minutes or until it turns translucent.
  • Deglaze with wine (optional): Add the white wine and stir continuously until the rice absorbs it.
  • Cook the broth slowly after adding it. Approximately half a cup of the hot broth should be added at a time, stirring continuously and allowing each addition to absorb before adding more. The starch in the rice will slowly release as it absorbs the broth, giving the dish its creamy texture. This should take twenty to twenty-five minutes.
  • Add the porcini: When the rice is almost done (al dente), add the chopped porcini mushrooms together with the soaking liquid that was set aside. To taste, add salt and pepper for seasoning.
  • Finish with butter and cheese: Stir in the Parmesan cheese and the final two tablespoons of butter. Give the risotto two to three minutes to settle so the flavors may combine.
  • Serve and garnish: Drizzle a little additional olive oil over the risotto and sprinkle with chopped parsley, if desired.

Panforte

Without a traditional dessert, no Italian Christmas meal is complete, and panforte is a real crowd-pleaser. Packed full of candied fruits, nuts, spices, and honey, this dense fruitcake is matured for many weeks to bring forth its deep flavor. For a very festive finish, serve it thinly sliced with a glass of sweet wine.

Ingredients:

  • For the dry mixture:
    • 1 cup (150g) blanched almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
    • 1 cup (135g) hazelnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
    • 1 cup (180g) chopped dried figs, stems discarded
    • ½ cup (40g) chopped candied orange peel
    • 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour
    • ¼ cup (25g) cocoa powder
    • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
    • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
    • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • For the syrup:
    • ¾ cup (180ml) honey
    • 1 cup (200g) granulated white sugar
    • ⅔ cup (115g) chopped semisweet (dark) chocolate

Instructions:

  • Turn the oven on to 300°F, or 150°C. Grease the sides of an 8-inch (20cm) springform pan lightly and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  • Get the dry mixture ready by: Chopped nuts, dried figs, candied orange peel, flour, cocoa powder, spices, and salt should all be combined in a big basin. To make sure everything is distributed equally, thoroughly mix.
  • Prepare the syrup by: Place the sugar and honey in a saucepan and cook over medium heat. Bring to a boil while stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar. Simmer the syrup for two to three minutes, or until it slightly thickens.
  • Mix and cook: Take the syrup off of the burner and quickly drizzle it over the dry ingredients in the bowl. Until all of the ingredients are thoroughly mixed and there are no dry areas, give it a good stir.
  • Put together and bake: After transferring the ingredients to the prepared pan, crush and distribute the panforte uniformly by firmly pressing with a spoon. When a toothpick put into the center comes out clean, bake for 50 to 55 minutes.
  • Let the panforte cool entirely in the pan on a wire rack to allow it to mature. After it cools, take it out of the pan and securely wrap it in parchment paper or plastic wrap. Before slicing and serving, let the panforte mature for at least two weeks for the greatest flavor.

For a truly unforgettable celebration, incorporate these delicious and genuine 5 Italian Christmas Dinner Ideas into your holiday meal. These recipes guarantee a tasty and joyful holiday feast, from the crispy joys of Fritto Misto to the deep layers of Lasagna Bolognese and the graceful charm of Roasted Branzino with Fennel and Olives. Happy New Year!

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