An Italian Christmas

An Italian Christmas

Italy is known for its generous hospitality and strong family bonds. So, it is no surprise that family plays one of the most important parts in an Italian Christmas.

Christmas Eve in Italy is a celebration in itself. Italian families tend to stay away from meat on Christmas Eve, opting for a morepescatarian diet. This is known as The Feast of Seven Fishes. Common types offish eaten in the feast include cod, clams, calamari, sardines and eel. Circulon UK asked Michela Di Carlo, the Italian Lifestyle Ambassador for Piccolino Restaurants,what an Italian Christmas truly means to her.

“Christmas in Italy is all about family, friends and never-ending meals. The Christmas Eve menu is usually based on fish and gently battered vegetables. For Christmas, tortellini in brodo is a must. We usually end our lunch with Panettone, Prosecco and a digestive called Nocino which is made with walnuts”.

The Midnight Mass is a very important Christmas Eve family tradition. After the Feast of Seven Fishes, Italian families will head to church for Mass. When families return from Mass it is not uncommon to return home to a slice of Panettone and a warming mug of hot chocolate before bed.

Chargrilled swordfish with braised cannellini beans


  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 2tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
  • ¼ cup(60ml) olive oil
  • 4 x 200gswordfish steaks
  • 100g sliced pancetta, cut into matchsticks
  • 2 eschalots,finely chopped
  • 2 x 400gcans cannellini beans, rinsed, drained
  • 2 rosemary sprigs
  • 2/3 cup (160ml) chicken liquid stock
  • 2tablespoons roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus extra to garnish
  • Lemon wedges, to serve


  1. Slice 2 garlic cloves and mix in a dish with oregano and 2 tablespoons of the oil. Season the fish, then add to the dish and turn to coat in the mixture. Set aside to marinate while you make the beans.
  2. Finely chop remaining 4 garlic cloves.
  3. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a pan over medium-low heat. Add garlic, pancetta and eschalot. Cook, stirring, for 6 minutes until starting to colour.
  4. Add beans, rosemary and stock, increase heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes or until stock is almost all absorbed. Remove and discard rosemary sprigs.
  5. Remove 1 cup of the bean mixture to a bowl, mash roughly with a fork, then return to pan and stir for a further minute. Stir in the parsley and cover to keep warm.
  6. Heat a char-grill or fry pan over high heat. Cookfish for 2 minutes on each side until seared but still pink in the middle, or until done to your liking.
  7. Serve the fish on a bed of braised beans. Garnish with extra parsley and serve with lemon wedges.

We used the following Circulon Products

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