How to have an Italian Christmas Eve dinner?

It’s our favorite time of the year! Christmas is around the corner and we are thinking about what we will cook. This year we want to make our families taste Italian Christmas food. But what are Italians eating for Christmas? Well, it depends if it’s Christmas Eve’s dinner or Christmas Day’s lunch. But don’t worry pasta lovers, pasta dishes will be involved for sure! Let’s take a closer look at this Natale food.

The traditional Italian Christmas eve dinner

christmas spaghetti clam

Traditionally, the Italian Christmas Eve food is far lighter than the Italian-American one, as it mainly consists in no meat and a lot of seafood. A bounty of seafood awaits you at the table: succulent swordfish, luscious tuna, octopus and rich salmon. Enjoy delicate calamari or savor linguine topped with a mouthwatering clam sauce. You can taste the famous Italian dish made of salted cod: baccalà. It is the most iconic dish of Venetian cuisine. Centuries ago, Venice was a bustling epicenter of European commerce and it became commonplace to discover salted fish from Norway… That’s how the beloved dish baccalà was created.There’s not only seafood on the Italian Christmas table. In Northern Italy for example, gnocchi and stuffed pasta are a must. You can try gnocchi alla trabaccolara. This traditional Christmas gnocchi was born in Viareggio in the late 19th century. It is originaly a poorman’s dish composed of tasty gnocchi and a fish fumet. And if you are more into stuffed pasta than gnocchi, you can try cappelletti. It is a small stuffed pasta that is part of the Christmas tradition of the Emilia Romagna region in Northern Italy. Cappelletti are usually filled with meat or fish and served in a broth.

A fun twist: the Christmas pizza

christmas pizza

While the concept of having pizza for Christmas may seem peculiar, Italians have their own unique and delicious dish – a Sicilian Christmas pizza! This pizza stands out from the rest with its crunchy, bread crumb-covered crust. The key ingredient to our succulent sauce is a mix of onions and anchovies, yet we wouldn’t want you revealing that to your guests – unless you feel adventurous enough! This pizza is a whole new experience with its wet dough and savory sauce. You will love it! For a unique spin on the holiday season, try out this delicious Christmas tree pizza for your kids! To create a festive treat, shape your dough into the form of an evergreen Christmas tree. Get creative and customize your pizza with a one-of-a-kind topping. This is a fun Christmas activity to do with your children! If you are vegetarian, don’t shy away from creating a delicious veggie Christmas pizza with cream and mushrooms. It’s the perfect dish for all your holiday festivities!

What’s for dessert?

Now it is time for the best part: dessert. The most famous Italian Christmas sweet treat is panettone. A beloved Italian Christmas bread created in 1495 during a luxurious Christmas banquet given by the Duke of Milan. It is a fluffy Italian sweet bread filled with candied orange and citron peels. Panettone is so delicious that we are sure you will want to have some all year round! What’s great with this Italian Christmas cake is that many options exist: panettone bread pudding, panettone French toast, and even chocolate panettone!


Another Italian dessert that you can enjoy on the holidays is pandoro – golden yellow Italian panettone. It was created in 1894 by chef Domenico Melegatti. This star-shaped cake is made with Italian cake yeast and dry milk, so it is a light and airy cake that you won’t be able to resist!

Biscotti are Italian cookies that are a must-have Italian Christmas dessert. Italian biscotti come in many different flavors, but you can never go wrong with classic Italian almond and pistachio recipes for the holidays. This Italian Christmas cookie comes from Tuscany and became a classic Italian Christmas treat.Now I want to tell you about my favorite: torrone. This Italian nougat is made with toasted nuts and honey – a delicious Italian Christmas candy that you can enjoy for the holidays! The history of this Italian Christmas candy is really interesting because it is believed that it derives from an Ancient Roman treat… But we aren’t sure about that, so some say it comes from an Arabic dessert.

How do you celebrate Natale?

Whether you are more a pasta or a pizza lover, the Italian tradition has a savory dish for you. This year, I want to try to make my own Italian Christmas candies and experiment a torrone recipe. Keep in mind that the most Italian Christmas thing is sharing a good time around the table with your loved ones. Buon Natale from all of us at Pasta Pizza!

Hi! I'm Léa Dubost and I love food. I mean it, I love cooking, searching for the best products, and eating. I even went to Italy three times to taste the best pastas and pizzas. I try to share with you my love for the Italian cuisine and the best recipes easy to cook at home.

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