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5 Italian Inspired Holiday Recipes

Did you know that about 68 percent of Americans secretly dislike turkey? They eat it out of tradition or habit.

With the holidays approaching, many people are making grocery lists and finalizing meal plans. If you considering alternatives to traditional holiday recipes this year, Italian-themed dishes are an easy and crowd-pleasing way to go.

Below are five Italian recipes that are perfect for the holidays, along with detailed instructions on how to cook them. Keep reading to find out how to spice up your holiday party or gathering with dishes that everyone is sure to love.

1. Chicken Parmesan

Chicken parmesan is an easy Italian dish that everyone in the family (including the kids) will enjoy. It is one of our favorite holiday recipes. This version is pretty straightforward and requires ingredients that you can find at almost any grocery store.

List of Ingredients:

  • Chicken breast (whole) or cutlets
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1 ½ cups of Italian breadcrumbs
  • 4 cups homemade Italian sauce (see recipe below)
  • ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • ¾ cup of shaved parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups of fresh Mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup of fresh basil leaves
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)

Cooking Directions:

If you bought whole chicken breasts, start by cutting them in half lengthwise. Next, place each strip in a plastic bag or between two pieces of parchment paper. Use either a rolling pin or meat tenderizer to flatten the meat to about 1 inch in thickness.

Next, pat each cutlet into the flour, ensuring it is coated on all sides. Dip the chicken into the egg bath then coat it with breadcrumbs. 

Over medium heat, warm the oil in a frying pan. Fry each piece of chicken until brown on each side.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat the bottom of a baking dish with ¼ cup of the homemade Italian sauce. Transfer the chicken to the dish, cover it with the remaining sauce, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove the dish from the oven and top it with parmesan and mozzarella, as well as whole or diced basil leaves. Return to heat for another five minutes. Serve plain or over pasta.

For an easy vegetarian alternative, you can substitute eggplant for chicken. Slice and salt the eggplant and let stand for 30 minutes. Then, batter and fry it, and proceed with the rest of the recipe.

Homemade Italian Sauce

  • ½ cup diced onion
  • 1 garlic clove, diced
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 12 ounces of canned tomato paste
  • 7 1/2 ounces of canned tomato soup
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon of basil
  • 1 teaspoon of oregano

Saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil for five minutes. Stir in the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, while stirring occasionally.

2. Caprese Salad

For an easy side or appetizer, Caprese salad is as simple as they come. It’s also a fantastic complement to Italian-themed or regular dishes alike.

List of Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of fresh tomatoes (San Marzanos or heirlooms are a great option, but regular vine-ripened tomatoes will work as well)
  • 1 pound of fresh mozzarella, sliced ¼-inch thick
  • 25 to 30 fresh basil leaves
  • 4 to 5 teaspoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of course salt

Cooking Instructions:

The quick and easy way to make this salad is to toss all the ingredients together. For a more pristine presentation, layer alternating slices of mozzarella and tomatoes around a large, shallow dish. Drizzle with olive oil and top with salt and pepper.

3. Bruschetta

This is another easy appetizer that is a crowd-pleaser. For the best bruschetta, allot a little bit of time for preparation.

List of Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of plum tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon of course salt
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of balsamic
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 10 to 15 fresh basil leaves, diced

Cooking Instructions:

Chop the tomatoes and transfer them to a colander. Sprinkle them will salt and stir to combine. Allow them to sit and drain for at least an hour.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, add the olive oil and garlic. When the oil is warmed reduce the heat to low and cook for five to seven minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside until the tomatoes are ready.

Remove the garlic cloves from the oil. Combine the oil, tomatoes, and basil in a medium bowl. Add more salt to taste.

Just before serving, add the balsamic vinegar. Serve the mixture over crostinis or other toasted bread.

4. Tiramisu

Tiramisu is one of the most popular Italian desserts. It is a great option for almost any occasion, including holiday meals.

Traditional tiramisu uses raw egg whites whipped with mascarpone. Some people prefer to avoid this, especially if you are serving it to children.

For an alternative, try the recipe below. You can also leave out the liqueur, for a booze-free option.

List of Ingredients:

  • 1 package of Ladyfingers
  • 8 ounces of mascarpone (you can substitute cream cheese in a pinch)
  • 1 ½ cups of espresso or strong coffee
  • 1 ½ cups of heavy cream
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of coffee liqueur
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Cocoa powder

Cooking Instructions:

Add the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract to a mixing bowl. Blend using an electric mixer. Add the mascarpone or cream cheese and whip until smooth.

Combine the coffee and coffee liqueur in a bowl. Dip half the ladyfingers into the mixture to coat (do not soak). Place the ladyfingers in a single layer in a deep pan.

Top the ladyfingers with half of the mascarpone mixture. Repeat the layers with the remaining ladyfingers and mixture.

Dust the top of the mixture with the cocoa powder. Refrigerate for several hours before serving. You also can make this recipe ahead of time, freeze it, then thaw it in the refrigerator overnight.

5. Classic Negroni

You may want a classic Italian cocktail to compliment your holiday feast. It’s hard to go wrong with a classic negroni in this regard. It’s a simple cocktail with only a few ingredients.

Note that a true negroni calls for equal parts of the three main ingredients. However, Campari has a strong flavor that some guests may find offputting if they have never had it before. For this reason, we find that dialing it back a notch still brings in the aromas and flavor of the liqueur without overpowering the tastebuds.

List of Ingredients:

  • 1 ounce gin
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth
  • ½ ounce Campari
  • Orange twist

Combine the gin, vermouth, and Campari in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Stir, then strain over ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with an orange twist.

Get More Italian-Inspired Holiday Recipes

We hope you found these Italian-inspired holiday recipes and cooking tips helpful. They are a great way to shake up holiday parties and gatherings with food and drinks that everyone will love.

At Fondi Pizzeria we serve authentic, artisan, brick-oven-fired pizza, as well as a variety of classic Italian foods. Stop by, order takeout online, or contact us to schedule a special event.

5 Italian Inspired Holiday Recipes

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5 Italian Inspired Holiday Recipes

5 Italian Inspired Holiday Recipes

Did you know that about 68 percent of Americans secretly dislike turkey? They eat it out of tradition or habit. With the holidays approaching, many people are making grocery lists and finalizing