An Italian Feast on Christmas Eve

 I’m more of a traditionalist when it comes to the Thanksgiving meal but for Christmas, I like to mix it up a bit.
This year, I thought it would be fun to plan an Italian-style Christmas Eve.
 To start we will have hot appetizers with Bruschetta followed by some delicious lobster bisque.
For the main course I’ll be serving Lasagna with sides of garlic bread, anti-pasta, Cesar salad, grilled vegetables and build your own pizzas for the kids. 
To end our Italian feast, it’s all about cannoli and tiramisu!  I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!
Oh…and of course lots of wine and cider for the kids!
I Found the lasagna recipe at All Recipes a few years back and have been hooked ever since.
Close to 200,000 people have saved this recipe and It has almost 5000 reviews. 
I also use this recipe just for the sauce when serving spaghetti, it’s that good.
So if your looking for a crowd pleaser and something you can make a day ahead, this won’t disappoint!
Here are just a few of my changes to suit our family a little better
Dash of nutmeg, fresh basil instead of dry, double all the spices except for the salt and add a little cayenne for some heat.
Because I’m not a red meat eater I use ground turkey instead of beef.  This year I’ll be making a vegetarian one and a meat one  (I have lots of vege’s in my family)
World's Best Lasagna Recipe
1 pound sweet Italian sausage
3/4 pound lean ground turkey
1/2 cup minced onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
2 (6.5 ounce) cans canned tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
12 lasagna noodles
16 ounces ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
*Note  If you are looking for a fabulous sauce recipe combine all the ingredients above that are in bold.
1.In a Dutch oven, cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
2.Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
3.Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
4. To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with one-half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with a third of mozzarella cheese slices. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil: to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese.
5.Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

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  1. Hi Kristin~This sounds like so much fun!! My husband is Italian and so Italian for Christmas Eve is perfect! Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Kristin this sounds wonderful!! I was just thinking I need to make my menu for Christmas day dinner!! I had better get going on that!!

  3. Your meal sounds delicious. I don't really make traditional meals for Christmas, I like to mix it up a little. Maybe I should go the Italian route this time around. I have an excellent bruschetta recipe 🙂

  4. That sounds so yummy! My Fiance's family is Italian and we are having lasagna on Christmas Eve too! I want to bring a desert but I am not sure what to make just yet.

  5. Sounds delicious! What time shall I be there for dinner? That's a wonderful menu you have planned. I'm going to try this lasagna recipe. We all love Italian food in my family. What a pretty image. I love those purple chair cushions! It's hard to believe that Christmas is 6 days away!

  6. Kristin- You're making my mouth water! Sounds delicious. Italian is my absolute favorite venue of food! It's going to be so good, I just know it! Can't believe it's only 6 days away (:

  7. My oldest son married a woman who comes from a large Italian family. They are doing the traditional "seven fishes" for Christmas Eve. This year my youngest son and his family will be with me. We are going to my parent's annual Christmas Eve open house and will eat dinner there before leaving for church. I only have to bring an appetizer. Life is good!

  8. 🙂 you know I will love your Italian Christmas lunch!! Beautiful Idea my dear 🙂
    I'd like to see the pictures then!!!

  9. A girl after my own heart….is there room for an Italian Jersey girl (not like the show tho..lol) I love to have a cultural Christmas that represents our family as well. I dont use sausage in my lasagna but maybe I'll give it a try..thanks for sharing. Happy Holidays!

  10. Sounds like it will be delicious! I love Allrecipes. I have gotten a lot of great recipes from that site. My mother always did the seven fishes meal too like Suzan. Then my sister took it over. A lot of work! I woke up this morning thinking that I have not planned a thing yet for meals! A little bit of panic set in 😮

  11. Lasagna was always my favorite meal growing up. Your recipe and the entire menu sounds delicious. I love that you aren't going with the traditional Christmas fare. An Italian meal is a great alternative.

    Merry Christmas!

  12. I still miss my mum's lasagne. The pasta was green and not yellow because green were the proper homemade lasagne (plural).She began washing the beet greens or spinach and went on by mixing them when cooked with flour and eggs. she rolled the pasta herself with the rolling-pin making a big-big round piece of green pasta thathad to be cut. I'm sorry to tell you that it doesn't sound very italian that recipe, but if it makes you happy…….Ciao, Lella (Italy)

  13. Hi Darling,

    How are you?

    What a tasty post, yummie!
    And your previeus post was real eye candy!!

    Wishing you and your family a lovely and blessed week.

  14. You had me at Lobster Bisque. Such a wonderful sounding menu! What a fun night . . and I love the idea of doing make your own pizzas for the children. Enjoy the great night!

  15. i love All Recipes! you won't believe it but I shopped for lasagna ingredients this morning! we are having it too! thank you for sharing your recipe!! hugs, susan

  16. I will be over in about 2 days!! 🙂 That sounds so delicious Kristin!! What a fun way to change things up.

    Have a wonderful week and a very Merry Christmas my friend!


  17. We do Italian for Christmas Eve too…my husband's family is Italian 🙂 Its Spaghetti and clams every Christmas Eve. Its an Italian tradition to eat seafood on Christmas Eve….no meat or dairy. We all look forward to it every year – AND the prime rib on Christmas day 🙂 Your menu looks super yummy!!
    Merry Christmas dear

  18. I love those romantic Italian dinner tables! We thought about doing the lasagna for Christmas Eve, but I think we might do gormet style grilled cheese. I really like doing something fun for Christmas Eve dinner, it makes it just a little extra special!

  19. Hi Kristin!! I too will have an Italian feast…but simply because we are italian!!!! hahaha!!!! I will post soon about my menu!

  20. I am a big fan of Italian Cuisine…because I am Italian…so go figure! hehe…lasagna tiramisu…and cannoli filled with luscious ricotta cheese and sugar and vanilla! yummy!

    thanks for sharing…and for your visit back to my blog!
    have a great day!

    ciao bella

    creative carmelina

  21. That sounds great! I always love a little bit of Italian in every holiday meal. Lasagna is great & yours well.. I will just have to try yours! 🙂 I believe in what I call the Ina Garten "Barefoot Contessa" philosophy in that she claims people generally don't want fancy, gourmet meals that are OTT (over the top) and they really appreciate a good, comforting dish.. like lasagna. As always, we do Xmas at my IL's house – she is a wonderful cook!
    Love and Hugs Lara

  22. Sounds SO yummy, Kristin!
    Your family is very, very lucky to have you as their hostess!

    I hope you have a wonderful and blessed Christmas week!

    Big hugs,

  23. This recipe is almost identical to mine! I make lasagna many times a year. This year we are having filets for Christmas. My daugter was just married in Sept. and her husband is a BIG steak lover! I have been wanting to do an Italian meal for many years. I am Italian and my hubby is Polish and for YEARS we did the traditional 7 course Polish dinner on Christmas Eve. That tradition has come to a close now. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!! XO, PInky

  24. That sounds so fun! I love that….I'll have to try your recipe for sure. We usually do lots of hor'deurves type things.
    Happy Holidays to you!

    Just to let you know, I posted some before shots of my kitchen if you'd like to see. I finally found them! They are under the month of June."MY KITCHEN"


  25. Your guests are in for a real treat Christmas Eve! Start to finish, your dinner sounds delicious. Thanks for the Lasagna recipe. I've never added fennel to mine before so I'll give it a try.

    Merry Christmas and enjoy! jj

  26. Hi Kristin, every year I make my daughter (& family) and son (& family) a pan of Christmas Lasagna to keep in their freezers for some time when they don't want to cook, but they do want a delicious meal. Your recipe is very similar to mine, so I'm trying yours. In fact, the sauce is ready, and the noodles are cooked. I'm going to assemble it now. Just wanted to tell you. Oh, I jusst got a new cooktop today and the lasagna is the first thing to be cooked on it! Merry Christmas! Linda

  27. Yummy! I love the idea of doing Italian for Christmas. We are having our traditional tenderloin along with company rice.

  28. NO ONE in my family or extended family is Italian, but we've been having Italian Christmas eve dinners for ages! So yummy. This lasagna recipe looks delish!!

  29. We are having a casual relaxed Christmas Eve as it is going to be about 40 degrees celsius! We will have a big lunch on Christmas Day in our (air conditioned) dining room.

    The Christmas Day lunch will be very traditional but we will have homemade gourmet pizzas on Christmas Eve.

    I have never heard of all recipes and am inspired to have a browse now. Thank you.

  30. I just stumbled across your beautiful blog and may never want to leave!

    This recipe sounds so much like my Italian family's recipe, except I never thought to add fennel. I'll have to try that.

    Oh, and one tip…Contadina brand crushed tomatoes seem to make a world of difference. I don't know why they taste so much better than other brands, but I definately recommend trying!

  31. We always change our christmas dinner, but this last year my mom wanted to do ham instead of making lasagna and a pasta dish. booo, haha

    i hope we make our traditional lumpias next year with fried rice. 🙂


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