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Dec 14, 2010 05:20 AM

Pasta for Christmas?

We always to the turkey and stuffing and peas and cranberry, and potatoes, etc, etc for Christmas day. An we are TIRED of it! Christmas Eve is a large heavy dinner of fondue with beef filet so we want a lighter meal on Christmas Day. I was thinking of a calamari app, a great fresh salad with beets and then a pasta. Simple and i won't be in the kitchen for 6 hours!
Question is what is appropriate for Christmas? Lobster Pappardelle? Please pass on any ideas you may have!

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  1. We are doing Boxing Day with the family, and I am going to make crespelle (manicotti) stuffed with a ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, egg and parsley filling baked in a light tomato marinara with additional mozzarella on top. They are ethereal and really delicious. Use any crepe recipe for the wrapper, and make them as large or as small as you desire. I don't have a recipe -- I just mix the filling until I think it is right, but you could use a recipe for ravioli filling too.

    1. Clearly you're not Italian--we had everything you listed PLUS LASAGNA all my growing up years. :) However, as to what's appropriate, I'd say make what you like!
      My holiday non-turkey favorite meal is penne alla vodka.
      Lasagna with full-fat rigawt (!) and homemade sausage was always on the table back when.
      I've bought lobster ravs and made a wine/cream sauce.
      Along the same lines as roxlet suggested, if you don't want to make your own crepes, you could always make baked stuffed shells.

      ETA: I make a killer clams casino over angel hair might enjoy something like that, too, if not straight up linguini and clam sauce however you like it.

      37 Replies
      1. re: kattyeyes

        Ha, ha! I was going to mention lasagna, which we always had for Christmas with the extended family. Lasagna would be at about 3PM followed by a lengthy pause while the men went upstairs and smoked cigars and watched football, and the woman cleaned up and prepared the next course, which was usually turkey or ham and served about 6 or 7PM. Christmas dinner was a long, drawn-out, leisurely affair that usually ended with an argument about whose struffoli was more authentic.

        1. re: roxlet

          Love and miss those days...smiling re your last sentence. ;)

          1. re: roxlet

            "struffoli" never saw that in print before, funny to read it

          2. re: kattyeyes

            That all sounds great but what's "rigawt"? I haven't made ravioli in SO long. Thanks for the reminder. jfood's are so good. I think that was the first pasta I ever made from scratch.

              1. re: c oliver

                "rigawt" is an Italian-American pronunciation of ricotta. Similar to manigawt=manicotti, mootz/mootzarell=mozzarella, cabagawl=capicola, proshoot=proscuitto, abeets=pizza, macaroni=any type of pasta, scarole=escarole...and so many more.

                1. re: melpy

                  Hey, thanks. Since the only cheese I use in lasagne is Parm, ricotta never crossed my mind.

                  1. re: c oliver

                    Try it with ricotta and Romano instead of the parm, which I feel is too mild for an Italian-American style lasagna.

                    1. re: roxlet

                      The last couple of years I've become a devotee of Hazan's green lasagne. Freshly made spinach pasta, Bolognese sauce, bechamel and Parm. It's the most I've ever like lasagne. It's rich but not heavy which is the complaint I've had about the really cheesey ones. But I guess I'm not really into I-A, am I?

                    2. re: c oliver

                      Never used ricotta in lasagnA? But you've seen/eaten it in restos, no?

                      1. re: BiscuitBoy

                        I meant that rigawt = ricotta never crossed my mind. Not sure I've ever had lasagne in a restaurant.

                        1. re: c oliver

                          I never have lasagne in a restaurant.

                          1. re: melpy

                            I've only had lasagna in a restaurant in Italy.

                    3. re: melpy

                      shkatawl=escarole, fazool=fagiola

                        1. re: kattyeyes

                          shouldn't that *t* should really be an *r*....

                          1. re: fourunder

                            Not if you're rolling the R. That's why so many people don't understand Guy from the Food Network is just pronounced "Fietti" but spelled Fieri.

                            1. re: kattyeyes

                              I see and understand your explanation, but I'm more inclined to believe it has to do more with regional differences and bastardization....i.e., Brooklyn, Boston or Cleveland.

                              How anyone pronounces their name is personal, no?.....e.g. *steen* as opposed to *stine*.

                              1. re: fourunder

                                I'd wondered the same -4. There's a good-sized population of I-A's in SF but I don't remember them speaking like that.

                                I read/heard that Brett Favre is pronounced "Farve" because that's just the way his family does it.

                                1. re: fourunder

                                  It has everything to do with regional differences and dialects, that's what makes it fun (for me, anyway)--connecting with others who speak your language, however bastardized.

                                  And re Guy, I guess's just interesting to see how many people misspell his last name because they're doing so phonetically.

                        2. re: melpy


                          1. re: ospreycove

                            I think N. NJ must get a little farther away from the spelling than the Southern Connecticut I-A :) (New Haven-Milford) Although I must admit I think I missed the H in shcarole! It's def. cabagawl not gabagool in my family though...

                            1. re: melpy

                              And we must not forget the Hot and Sweet saucesheech!!

                          2. re: melpy

                            Yeah, it's southern Italian pronunciation of the foods you mention. In south Philly, those whose grandparents emigrated here from southern Italy speak in double plurals.

                            paninis = more than 1 panino, panini already is 2 or more rolls
                            spaghettis = spaghetti is already plural
                            cannolis = cannoli already indicates more than 1

                            Hey, how 'bout "fazool" as in pasta fazool? I miei antenati non erano italiani, cosi dico "pasta e fagioli."

                            Buon Natale e buon anno nuovo. Forse puo' imparare a parlare italiano in 2011.

                            1. re: ChiliDude

                              Ho dimenticato!! how about, "Cavadeal", or "pizza gain", I never knew what that meant in Alto Italiano

                              1. re: ospreycove

                                Pizza gain is pizza pieno, which was elided into pizza gain. Cavadeal is merely cavatelli.

                                1. re: roxlet

                                  Roxlet, Do you know what pizza gain, (Pieno) actually is? I remember it was made with Corn Meal, (Polenta), and drippings from Pork Roast or Ham.

                                  1. re: ospreycove

                                    Pizza Gain....or Pizza Gaina has always been a traditional Easter Pie all my Italian friends families make with pastry dough....a top and bottom with dry salame, soppressata, cappicola, cheeses and hard boiled eggs a custard mixture for one, and another without...all layered with thin slices of the previous mentioned foods.


                                    1. re: ospreycove

                                      No, I don't think what you are remembering was pizza gain. Pizza gain, which we always called an Easter Pizza, was made in my family on Good Friday every year. NOT eating it or tasting the filling was a kind of penance. In my family, all the ingredients were ground together and baked in a regular pie plate in a pie crust that was made with olive oil. Over the years, I have altered the recipe and I now chop everything by hand and bake it in a springform pan. My family used to make about a dozen regular pies and would give them out to friends and neighbors, but I only make one these days. We use prosciutto, Genoa salami, pepperoni, mozzarella, ricotta, sweet sausage, eggs and parmesan.

                                        1. re: roxlet

                                          Roxlet....Based on your beautiful photo; nowI know I am wrong. The dish I remember was very simple, almost inedible to little kids!!.... with, as I mentioned very few ingredients. But WOW do you overnight ship your pizza gain??

                                          1. re: ospreycove

                                            This particular Pizza Rustica was made in my apartment in Cairo last Easter using all the salami, prosciutto and pepperoni I had hoarded for the occasion. The ricotta that was available was not great -- it was frozen and when defrosted it had a kind of grainy texture. However, copious amounts of grated Romano seemed to do the trick in whipping the whole thing into shape. The end result was delicious, and we ate every last crumb knowing that it would be the last salami and prosciutto tastes we would have until July.

                                2. re: melpy

                                  Haha, thank you! My family always had home-made cavatelli for Christmas Eve. The first time my brother's now-wife joined us for the Eve, she admitted later in the evening that she had been fearful for days in advance because she thought she was going to have to eat "covered eels".

                                  Your list is right on (though like the person below, our family always added an "h" to scarole. And pasta fazool is an important addition to the list. I've since given up on calling all pasta "macaroni", and I miss it. However, I've stuck with the rest.

                                  1. re: Cachetes

                                    One of my co-workers calls money "scarole", based on what his Sicilian parents called it. Why, I don't know, because it's green? But I can never go back to the full "escarole" again, he always yells it out when we talk about money in a meeting, and it cracks me up.

                                  2. re: melpy

                                    Awesome! I had no idea. I can totally hear the Southern Italian pronunciation in these alternative spellings. I love them! Let me correct your spelling of prosciutto though :)

                                3. re: kattyeyes

                                  Amen sista! Chrismas is always lasagna with a big bowl of meatballs, sausage and pork chops that have been cooked in the tomato sauce. Plus I found out about a year before my grandmother passed that she made everything - everything(!) ahead of time and froze it. I think that was one of her secrets to making it taste so damn good.

                                  1. re: krisrishere

                                    I see talent runs in your family. ;) Nothing like sauce with the meat cooked right in. Mmmmmmmmm.

                                4. Lobster Pappardelle sounds terrific....or any other type sea food as well. How about a whole oven baked fish? Crabmeat Stuffed Sole or Shrimps? Even a simple seasoned bread crumb topped Cod? You can make the pasta a side dish to a seafood main course.

                                  Other ideas for Pappardelle, Wild Boar Ragout or Braised Short Ribs. More hearty than light, but classic for the winter.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: fourunder

                                    At a holiday dinner this year....we had a duck ragout on pappardelle as the pasta course.
                                    Very nice.....

                                  2. Paella is traditional in my family for Christmas, so the natural pasta analogue would be fideuĂ . It is hard to botch this dish so long as your seafood is fresh and as everything cooks quickly, it's a cinch to make.

                                    1. My family always had the pasta course in addition to the rest. Usually Crab or lobster fra diavolo over linguine. Sometimes shrimp scampi or pasta primavera.