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Christmas Sunday Dinner: An Italian Holiday Pranzo

Holiday Pranzo Menu

Christmas Day falls on a Sunday this year, which makes it a perfect opportunity to create a hallmark Sunday dinner found at most Italian-American tables: Holiday Pranzo! For my family, that means a Sunday dinner menu of cheese lasagna alongside beef tenderloin, broccoli rabe with pine nuts and raisins, and tiramisu or zuccotto for dessert. While you might have both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinners planned out, there’s still the issue of what to cook guests, friends, and family the week up until New Year’s Day.

I always say that not much is planned during this week of Santo Stefano. To make up that time, why not host a wonderful Pranzo for everyone to celebrate and reflect on the past year together? I particularly love pranzo for the way it fills most of the day with cooking in the morning and conversation around the table in the afternoon. After all that time preparing, your evening is left free to host and spend time with your family! Below, I share my end of year Sunday Dinner menu for an Italian Holiday Pranzo.

 

Artichoke and Sherry Dip with Crostini

Italian Holiday Pranzo: Artichoke Dip

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • ¼ cup grated Parmigiano
  • ¼ cup Sherry
  • 1 tablespoon Worchestershire
  • 1 teaspoon each of garlic powder, salt, and pepper
  • 2 – 13 ounce cans of artichokes, drained and chopped
  • ¼ pound mushrooms, chopped (optional)
  • ¾ cups Gruyere or Monterrey Jack, grated

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Melt the butter in a saucepan, blend in flour, then stir in half-and-half until thick and smooth. Add in the Parmigiano, Sherry, Worchestershire, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Once done, mix in the artichokes and mushrooms. Place in an 8×8 inch casserole. Sprinkle the top with grated cheese, then bake for 30-35 minutes. Serve with crostini.

 

Manicotti with Lisa’s Authentic Classic Tomato Sauce

*[Menu 13 from my cookbook, Whatever Happened to Sunday Dinner?]*

Italian Holiday Pranzo: Manicotti

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound manicotti shells
  • 2 pounds ricotta
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 cup grated Pecorino Romano
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups of my Lisa’s Authentic Classic Tomato Sauce

Instructions:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook about 2-3 minutes less than directed on the package. Drain and rinse under cold running water until cool to the touch, then leave in the colander.

In a large bowl, beat by hand the ricotta, eggs, parsley, basil and ½ cup of the Pecorino Romano. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Pour 2 cups of my Classic Tomato Sauce into a large baking dish and tilt until the bottom is evenly coated with sauce.

Gently fill the manicotti shells with the cheese mixture. Note: You may use either a pastry bag or small narrow spoon to fill the shells without tearing the pasta. Once filled, place the shells in the prepared baking dish. The shells can touch one another, but they shouldn’t overlap. When all the manicotti are placed, pour over the remaining 2 cups of Classic Tomato Sauce and sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup cheese. Bake until bubbly, about 20 minutes.

 

Pork Tenderloin with Fig and Chianti Sauce

*[From Menu 46 in my cookbook, This is Sunday Dinner]*

Italian Holiday Pranzo: Pork with Fig Sauce

Ingredients:

For the Fig and Chianti Sauce:

  • 3 cups Chianti
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 16-18 black figs, dried and chopped
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon Sicilian fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (12 ounce) jar imported Italian fig jam, such as Casa Giulia

For the Pork:

  • 1 (5 pound) boneless pork loin
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Sicilian sea salt, fine

Instructions:

For the Fig and Chianti Sauce: In a medium-size saucepan, combine the Chianti, vegetable broth, figs, and rosemary. Simmer the mixture over medium-high heat until it has reduced by half. Remove and set aside the rosemary for the pork, then puree the mixture in a blender until smooth. Return the mixture to the saucepan and blend in the butter until it has melted. Add the salt, pepper, and lastly 4 large tablespoons of fig jam to the saucepan. Heat the sauce over low heat until the jam dissolves.

For the Pork: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cover the pork loin with the extra virgin olive oil, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Place the pork on a rack in a large 16 x 12 roasting pan and roast for 1 hour. Slice the pork on a platter and pour the Fig and Chianti sauce over the top.

 

Brussel Sprouts

*[From Menu 47 in Whatever Happened to Sunday Dinner?]*

Italian Holiday Pranzo: Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients:

  • 50-60 brussels sprouts, the smallest ones you can find
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Sea salt

Instructions:

Trim the stems and any discolored outer leaves from the sprouts. If they are small, leave them whole; if sized medium or large, cut the sprouts in half lengthwise.

Steam the brussels sprouts until they turn bright green but are still firm. Remove from the heat.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and Brussels sprouts, then cook while turning them over with a wooden spoon until all sprouts are either golden brown or almost caramelized.

Transfer the brussels sprouts to a warm serving platters and season to taste with salt.

 

Crème de Menthe Parfaits

Italian Holiday Pranzo: Creme de Menthe Parfait

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint of high-quality vanilla gelato
  • Crème de Menthe liqueur
  • Crushed chocolate wafers or cookies
  • Red Maraschino cherries

Instructions:

Assemble the parfaits as follows: One teaspoon of the Crème de Menthe liqueur on the bottom of the wine glass, one scoop of vanilla gelato, and one teaspoon of crushed chocolate wafers or thin cookies. Repeat to the top, finishing with Crème de Menthe and a red Maraschino cherry.

 

 

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Author

  • Lisa Caponigri

    Lisa Caponigri is the author of This is Sunday Dinner and Whatever Happened to Sunday Dinner?, published by Sterling Epicure. Both of Lisa's cookbooks brim with her memories of living in Italy, both as a child and as an adult raising her own family, anecdotes about her family, regional and seasonal Italian specialties, and all the advice needed to get a spectacular Sunday Dinner on the table, every Sunday of the year. She has developed a line of prepared foods and sauces called Lisa’s Italian Kitchen. Lisa debuted on HSN and has appeared on QVC. She has also appeared on a variety of television programs, including Seattle's New Day Northwest, Good Morning Toronto, Chicago's WGNLunchbreak, and New England Cooks, to name a few. Lisa is frequently consulted as an expert in Italian lifestyle and food. Lisa Caponigri lives in South Bend, IN and travels frequently to Italy to research the latest in "la dolce vita". Visit www.lisacaponigri.com to learn more about Lisa!

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  1. fatev68222

    good

  2. whoiscall

    Thanks for sharing.

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