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The Fishy Tradition of a Meat-Free Christmas

classic Italian cusine

Sorry everyone. If you want to have a classic Italian Christmas Eve dinner you need to ditch that turkey.

You think that you know a lot about Italian cuisine—mozzarella cheese with tomatoes is called caprese, classic tomato sauce shouldn’t have butter, and “mangia!” makes a great toast. But, do you know that a classic Italian cuisine Christmas Eve tradition involves no meat?

Something Smells Fishy…

Italians call the meal before Christmas that is on Christmas Eve La Vigilia. It has no meat! Instead, fish and vegetables are the stars of the show. According to the classic Italian cuisine tradition, the day before a religious festival should be a giorno di miagro, or day that you purify your body before the celebrations. Of course, all of the dishes you make might not seem lean, but that’s perfectly okay.

Classic Italian Cuisine: La Vigilia

Some of the most popular classic Italian cuisine dishes include capitone (eel), baccala, octopus, and various shellfish. One of the most popular dishes is called pezzetti, or, fried cubes of cheese along with pieces of artichokes, zucchini, and broccoli. Pasta dishes are also incredibly popular, even though they might not seem light to you. In Northern Italy, lasagna with anchovies, parmesan, and Italian seasonings is traditional. In Naples, vermicelli pasta with shellfish is more traditional.

Keep the Food Coming!

If you think that leaving out the meat and cleansing your body means not moving your belt over a notch, think again! There are various amounts of dishes served depending on what classic Italian cuisine traditional your family follows: seven dishes for the seven sacraments, nine dishes for the Holy Trinity (squared—who wants only three dishes?), twelve dishes for the apostles, thirteen dishes for the apostles and Jesus, or a whopping twenty-one dishes for the Holy Trinity multiplied by the seven sacraments. Any way you count it or make it, that’s a lot of food!

Enjoy a Fishy Christmas Tradition at Basta Pasta

For over 12 years, Basta Pasta has been providing Marylanders with delicious Italian specials cooked from fresh, delicious, high-quality ingredients. Enjoy a taste of classic Italian food with spectacular pasta dishes, unlimited salad and breadsticks, and sumptuous fine Italian wines. To make a reservation at our Timonium location, contact us online or give us a call at (410) 308-0838. To make a reservation at our Fallston location, contact us online or give us a call at (410) 692-5200. To find out more about our menu, follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

This entry was posted on Friday, December 9th, 2016 at 6:19 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.