Celebrate Christmas by feeding someone!
My husband Andrea is the happiest when I make bollito misto for the holidays--the dish that keeps on giving. I like to make it the day before the meal. We begin our meal with chicken liver crostini, serve tortellini in brodo as the first course, and the boiled meats for the main course, along with the vegetables that were cooked in the broth.
The best parts of bollito misto are the sauces on the side! Traditionally, olive oil and salt are the base, then salsa verde, mostarda di Cremona (candied mustard fruits), and perhaps mayonnaise or mustard. A side of giardiniera (pickled Italian vegetables) is good too.
My favorite dishes are with the leftover bollito misto. I love lesso rifatto, where the beef is cooked with twice the amount of red onions stewed with the beef and red wine. True comfort food!
If you are really eating, this is the extravaganza! Try a double first course, such as the pasta served in sugo. The sugo is from cooking the second main course, stracotto, served with sautéed spinach and roasted potatoes. Andrea always wants a tray of mixed roast meats--veal, pork, rabbit, beef, and perhaps a special pig's liver wrapped in caulfat, roasted with bay leaves, and basted with Vin Santo.
Usually these meals are for a minimum of 10 to 15 close family members. Families either do the bollito misto, or roast meats, or game, if you have a hunter in the house! Some families prefer fish. However, excess is the key! The main meal is at lunchtime. After the main course, the dried fruits (dates, figs, and nuts) are brought out. Panettone, panforte, ricciarelli, and other sweets follow this. After all this a digestivo--an after-dinner drink that helps you digest the feast! After a couple of rounds of cards or bingo game called tombola, it all starts again!
My best wishes for a fabulous and peaceful new year. "Peace on Earth" never meant as much as it does this year.
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