The Christmas table of a real “Marchigiano”
Christmas in our region is rich and greedy. There are many typical dishes that characterize our Christmas, each typical of a certain area.
On Christmas Eve, there are mostly fish dishes on our tables. We pretend to remain "light". It's easy to find stockfish, served with plenty of tomato sauce and potatoes, and the brodetto, our famous fish soup. Furthermore, there is pasta with fish sauce based on anchovies and tomatoes.
On Christmas day, our teables are rich in meat, both in sauces and fillings, and in the latter. The big lunch always begins with "cappelletti in brodo", a kind of tortellini pasta in broth: among the characteristics that distinguish them from the most famous Emilian tortellini, it's their size: our cappelletti are way bigger than their cousins. Marche's cappelletti are rigorously stuffed with mixed meat and cooked in abundant capon or hen broth. In Pesaro, some people replace cappelletti with "passatelli", a tasty Romagna influence. Passatelli are a pasta formed of bread crumbs, eggs, grated Parmesan cheese, and in some regions lemon, and nutmeg; it is typically cooked in chicken broth.
Instead of cappelletti, or after them, many families prepare "vincisgrassi". Vincisgrassi are a special baked pasta, a cousin of lasagna, composed of layers of egg pasta topped with mixed meat sauce (not only beef, but also pork and chicken giblets) and béchamel. Some add in the stuffing also mozzarella cheese, to make everything even more tasty. In the south of the Marche, in the area of Campofilone and Pedaso, among the first courses, there are also the famous Maccheroncini pasta, appreciated both with classic meat sauces but also with truffles.
The second courses usually include boiled and / or roasted meat. The boiled meat is often present because it is the same used to cook the cappelletti. The meat is served with potatoes or mashed potatoes. In the central area of the Marches and in the Piceno area, fried food is very common: lamb ribs, battered vegetables, olives and fried cream.
Another delicacy of the Marche region is the putacchio chicken which involves cooking the chicken in a saucepan with tomatoes, rosemary, garlic and oil. Everything is blended with white wine.
There are various sweets that characterize le Marche. Panettone is very appreciated, despite its Lombard origins. The "frustingo ascolano" or "bostrengo pesarese", a Christmas cake made with dried figs and aniseed, is very widespread. These desserts are paired with the famous sour cherry wine and cooked wine, sweet liqueur wines typical of our region.