Italian Christmas Eve Menu

There are a lot of things I miss about Christmas in Vancouver.  I’m the type of person that really buys into the atmosphere – the decorations, the gifts, the caroling, the music, shops etc.

Here, in Italy, a lot of people don’t even know who Rudolph is. Even if they have heard of Rudolph, they have no idea what his red nose is for. After 7 years of playing Christmas songs every year, you would think my husband would remember the song.  I asked him, “what’s the title of the song?” as it played in the background. He answered, “Rudolph the redneck nesdee something.” Nailed it!

Apart from “Home Alone”, Italians are deprived of some crucial commercial Christmas songs and movies. 

However, there are definitely pros to celebrating Christmas in Italy, and one of them is the food.

La Vigilia

My favourite meal in Italy is the one we have for Christmas Eve: La Vigilia.  That evening, no one eats meat but rather, fish and seafood. This is called eating “magro” (skinny).  Don’t be mistaken though: It definitely does not mean you will get skinny by eating the Christmas Eve feast!

Here are some Italian Christmas Eve meal ideas for you that I’ve tested out. I got the ingredients fresh from the Sunday market and the local fish store.  Check back next week to get the recipe for the appetizer- Sautéed Scallops with a light saffron cream or subscribe to get the recipe now!

Buon appetito!

Appetizer – Antipasto

Sautéed Scallops

Fresh Scallops on a bed of leeks with light saffron cream

Ingredients: Scallops, leeks, cream, milk and saffron threads

First Course – Primo

Fetucce with fresh prawns and artichokes

Fettucce Pasta served with fresh red prawns and artichokes boiled in prawn broth

Ingredients: Fettucce, fresh red prawns, fresh artichokes, prawn broth, lemon, white wine, tomatoes, shallots, parsley

Second Course and side dish – Secondo e contorno

Mantis Shrimp and Sicilian Salad

Oven-baked Mantis Shrimp with a Sicilian Salad

Ingredients for 2nd course: Fresh Mantis Shrimp, parsley, salt, pepper, olive oil, lemon and white wine
Ingredients for side dish: Fennel, shallots, Navel orange, pitted Leccine olives, salt, pepper and olive oil

Typically, there is never just one antipasto and there are usually 3 or 4 fish-based courses during the evening. Here is a short list of more Italian Christmas Dinner ideas:

More Appetizers:
Smoked Salmon Canapé
Oven-baked, Breaded Scallops
Savoury Panettone
Crescent-wrapped Brie

More 1st Courses:
Seafood and Fish soup
Spaghetti with clams

More 2nd Courses:
Oven-baked Prawns
Roasted Orata Fish in Salt Crust

A typical dessert at this time of year always includes a fresh Panettone from a local bakery.  My personal favourite is Panettone with figs and chocolate shavings.

Another sweet idea to conclude the evening is chocolate dipped winter cherries.

What’s on your Christmas Even Dinner Menu?





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