20 Traditional Christmas Dishes From All Around Italy

It's not just about lasagna.

What do Italians eat on Christmas? The answer is that there's no dish in particular that can be found on every single Italian holiday table. Each region has its own traditional dish for Christmas dinner: the cuisine reflects the characteristics and flavors of the local environment. The only thing that Italians everywhere have in common is that festivity itself always brings Italian families together to feast around a well-laden table. Otherwise, the list of typical dishes is long, and the regional diversity epitomizes the richness of Italian culture.

"Everyone interprets the ‘rules’ of Christmas dinner in their own way. The first course is either broth or pasta followed by a second course generally based on meat or fish, followed by dessert,” Giovani Ballarini, anthropologist, president of the Academy of Italian Cuisine, told Italian newspaper Repubblica. And although culinary traditions are just as subject to change as any other aspect of culture, at Christmas the table boasts typical regional dishes, prepared just the way Nonna used to make.

Here’s a gourmet tour through regional holiday recipes around Italy.

ABRUZZO. Minestra Di Cardi (Cardoon Soup)
Nicola Batavia Chef. Pinterest
A soup made of broth and cardoons (artichoke thistles), flavored with nutmeg and giblets.
BASILICATA. Baccalà Con Peperoni Cruschi (Cod with Fried Peppers)
Stefy Miglio. Pinterest
Sun-dried bell peppers dropped into hot oil for a few seconds top this codfish dish.
CALABRIA. Scillatelle Al Ragù (Homemade Pasta with Meat Sauce)
Marzapane - Pinterest
A type of pasta (also known as fileja) usually served with a pork-based sauce.
CAMPANIA. Minestra Maritata (“Married” Soup)
Restaurant Baffetto de Roma - Pinterest
Eggs beaten with hot pepper and bits of veal are added to a base of chicory and escarole in a capon broth.
EMILIA ROMAGNA. Tortellini in Brodo (Tortellini In Broth)
Marion Delanchy - Pinterest
A must. Homemade egg-pasta is rolled paper-thin to wrap up little bits of meat-based filling, cooked and served in hot broth.
FRIULI VENEZIA GIULIA. Brovada E Muset (Turnips and Sausage)
BW Park Hotel Pordenone - Pinterest
Typical winter dish made of pickled turnips and a special cooked pork sausage.
LAZIO. Abbacchio Al Forno Con Patate (Roasted Lamb and Potatoes)
Philip Kowalik - Pinterest
Lamb main course, braised with garlic, rosemary, vinegar and anchovies.
LIGURIA. Cappon Magro (Lean Gurnard)
Raffaele sesto - Pinterest
Ancient traditional recipe made with fish and vegetables.
LOMBARDIA. Cappone Ripieno (Stuffed Capon)
Rossella Stucchi - Pinterest
Capon stuffed with ground meat, egg, Parmesean cheese and mortadella. Served with mostarda di Cremona, a spicy candied fruit condiment.
MARCHE. Vincisgrassi (Marche Lasagna)
Mangiarebuono - Pinterest
Baked pasta dish made with ground beef, sausage, chopped chicken, cured prosciutto ham and sometimes mushrooms.
MOLISE. Baccala Arracanato (Breaded Cod)
Angela evangelisti Gervasi - Pinterest
Breadcrumbs, garlic, parsley, oregano, raisins, pine nuts and walnuts enhance this cod recipe.
PUGLIA. Capitone Alla Brace (Grilled Eel)
Grilling the eel eliminates the excess fat and makes it easier to digest.
PIEMONTE. Bue Bollito Di Carrà o Moncalvo (Boiled Ox)
Sergio Motta - Pinterest
Boiled ox, Piedmont style, served with typical local green and red bagnetto sauces.
SARDEGNA. Culurgiones De Casa (Home-style Ravioli)
SiamoDonne - Pinterest
Ravioli stuffed with fresh sheep cheese, chard, nutmeg and saffron.
SICILIA. Timballo Di Pasta Al Forno In Crosta (Crusty Baked Pasta)
Michaela Opolka - Pinterest
Macaroni in pork sauce baked in a breadcrumb-lined pan.
TOSCANA. Crostini Ai Fegatini (Chicken Liver Canapés)
Nicolo A. Baldi - Pinterest
Chicken liver pâté with capers and anchovies spread on slices of bread, preferably stale and softened with broth.
TRENTINO ALTO ADIGE. Canederli (Dumplings)
Pozione segreta - Pinterest
Bread dumplings made with a variety of ingredients, typically served in soup or with a melted butter or meat sauce.
UMBRIA. Cappelletti Ripieni (Stuffed Pasta Soup)
Chiara castellano - Pinterest
Both the broth and the pasta filling are made with capon.
VALLE D'AOSTA. Carbonata (Beef In Red Wine)
Tuscany Agriturismo Giratola Farmhouse - Pinterest
Strips of meat marinated in red wine and herbs sautéed with cured pork fat (lardo).
VENETO. Polenta E Baccalà (Cod and Corn Porridge)
@singlegirldin - Pinterest
This codfish dish may be prepared with or without tomatoes.

This post originally appeared on Huffpost Italy and was translated into English.

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