Welcome to my world - a blend of passion, taste, and old-world traditions.

Benvenuti nel mio mondo - un mischio di passione, gusto e vecchie tradizioni.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Christmas Eve Traditional Dinner at Our Home

According to family tradition, on Christmas Eve, our dinner includes “lean” dishes. In fact, the main ingredients are fish and vegetables, foods rich in vitamins and minerals, in addition to being lightweight and good for you. The only exception are those fried desserts (scrippelle, caggionetti) , that absolutely one cannot do without.

Here is the menu we enjoy with family at home, awaiting the midnight arrival of Christmas.
Buon Appetito!

Pasta with Clams - (Linguini con vongole)

Fried Fish -(Pesce fritto)

Stuffed Squid (Calamari ripieni)

Broccoli di Rape

Stuffed Baby Artichokes - (Carciofi ripieni ) (See below for recipe)

Stuffed Baby Artichokes
All photo Copyright - ©2010 - La Casa e Il Giardino - picasaweb

I love baby artichokes because with just a little trimming you can eat the whole thing. Unlike fully mature artichokes, baby artichokes haven’t developed the fuzzy portion of the choke in the center. Baby artichokes are a seasonal size and availability does vary throughout the year, but the month of May is the peak volume month for this size artichoke.


9 or 10 baby artichokes
1/2 cup olive oil + 2 tablespoons for sauteing artichokes
2 cups of water
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
Sprig of parsley
1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes (optional)
1 tablespoon red pepper conserve or tomato paste

2 cups day-old bread crumbs
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
2 cloves chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Start by rinsing and brushing off the baby artichokes under cold water.

Then, snap off the outer layer of petals of the baby artichoke until you reach the pale, yellow-green layer of petals. With a sharp kitchen knife, trim off the stem and remove the rest of the dark green stem that can cause a bitter taste if not removed.  Cut about one half inch off the top of the baby artichoke.  Place artichokes in water with some lemon juice to prevent them from darkening.

Prepare stuffing by combining all ingredients and mix well. 
Drain artichokes and stuff them.

Take a small skillet, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.  Briefly saute' artichokes face down until the stuffing gets golden, and remove.

In a large pot, add 2 cups of water, 1/2 cup olive oil, 3 cloves of garlic, salt, black pepper, teaspoon of hot pepper flakes (optional), and 1 tablespoon of pepper conserve (alternate tomato paste).  Bring ingredients to a boil, add the stuffed artichokes, cover and simmer for 1 hour.  Taste for tenderness of outer leaves. 

Stuffed artichokes

Traditional Christmas desserts