Dating traditions italy
Fit food mill with disk with smallest holes and set over a bowl.
Pass the tomatoes through the mill to puree them and remove the seeds. If you don’t have a food mill, you can skip this rather fussy step and just use a potato masher to mash up the tomatoes in a bowl.
The Feast of the Seven Fishes—the elaborate seven-course fish dinner that many families of Italian descent serve on Christmas Eve—falls into the latter category.
“I never heard it called that,” she said when I asked her about it recently. That is not to say Italians don’t eat seafood on Christmas Eve. So did we at our home in New Jersey—pasta with tuna-tomato sauce, braised calamari, shrimp, skate wings, eel (both roasted and sautéed) and more.
We’ll still probably need to pull open a tin of smoked oysters or sardines to reach that magic number seven. No matter what else changes on our Christmas Eve menu, the meal always begins with a bowl of pasta with this savory sauce, rich with chunks of tuna and punched up with anchovies and capers. Substitute angel hair pasta (capellini) if you can’t find fedelini.
Fedelini are thin noodles that are slightly thicker than angel hair pasta. This recipe is adapted from my book "The Glorious Pasta of Italy" (Chronicle Books, 2011).
Some maintain that the number seven stands for the seven sacraments, and others say it refers to the number of days it took God to create the universe.
Other variations on the feast call for nine types of fish to be served, signifying the Holy Trinity times three and still others say the correct number is 13, for the 12 apostles and Jesus. Not surprisingly, everyone’s traditions are different and Christmas Eve menus vary from place to place and from family to family. Y., but spent Christmas Eve at his Nonna Angelina’s house in the Bronx.
Her menu was decidedly non-traditional and included Pepperidge Farm goldfish, Swedish fish, fish sticks, lox, a can of tuna and Dogfish Head beer. “I’m making beef tenderloin,” she says about this year.
There were festivals around these occurrences.” Many of these pre-Christian festivals were Christianized as the church’s influence grew.