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Italian Christmas Specialties

Panettone Farcito and Passatelli

by Gisella Isidori

panettone, panettone slice
Choose a good quality panettone for this special dessert.

If you’re looking for an unusual holiday dessert, nothing beats Gisella Isidori’s showstopping Panettone Farcito. We've also included a recipe for passatelli, a traditional Italian Christmas soup from Gisella's native Valtellina.

Panettone Farcito
(Makes 8 to 10 servings)

It’s important to use a good quality panettone, which can sometimes be found at natural food or specialty stores. Great Taste's Steve Boss recommends searching online for organic panettone and recommends greenaislegrocery.com.

1 pound-size panettone
1 pint to 1 quart ice cream (vanilla, pecan, or your favorite flavor)
3 Tbsp. walnuts or pecans
3 Tbsp. chocolate chips
1 12-oz. bar of dark chocolate
2 cups whole milk or heavy cream

Cutting horizontally, remove the top 3" of the panettone.

Scoop out the inside of the panettone and cut into small pieces, leaving the cake as an empty shell.

Mix the chopped panettone pieces with the softened ice cream. You may also add chopped walnuts, pecans, and chocolate chips in any combination you like.

Fill the empty panettone shell with the prepared ice cream mix and replace the top of the panettone. Place the filled panettone into the freezer for at least one hour to set. You can also make this a day ahead of time.

Take the filled panettone out of the freezer a half-hour before serving. 

In a saucepan, melt chocolate bar with cream or milk for few minutes until it becomes a chocolate cream.

A few minutes before serving, place the panettone in a serving dish and pour the hot chocolate cream over the panettone. For maximum effect, place the cake at the center of your table and pour on the hot chocolate in front of your guests.

Slice panettone vertically and serve immediately.


Passatelli
(Serves 6)

This bread soup is traditionally served in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy during the Christmas and New Year festivities.

1 cup flour
2 ½ cups fine breadcrumbs
2 ½ cups Parmesan cheese
7 eggs
Salt and nutmeg as needed

7 ½ cups stock

Mix breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, and eggs and seasoning with salt and nutmeg.  Make a well with the flour and mix ingredients by hand until they bind together.  Be careful not to handle the dough too long. Try to knead it at least half an hour before cooking in order to allow ingredients to combine well.

Boil water in a large part. Then use a schiacciapassatelli (or a more common potato masher!) to make the passatelli: place the potato mixture in the masher and gently squeeze it over the pan, so the passatelli drops straight into the boiling stock.

Remove from the water as soon as they rise to the surface, add to warmed stock, and serve soup.

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