A WORD OF RINGRAZIAMENTO – or – Do Italians Eat Turkey?
November 25, 2016
Many different countries have celebrated some sort of harvest feast- Native Americans celebrate with a corn dance, while Jewish people honor the end of the agricultural season with Sukkot. The Romans honored the God Ceres with a celebration called Cerelia, where they celebrated the first fruits of the season by honoring them up to Ceres. But what about Italians? It would be very hard to “translate” the distinctly American tradition of Thanksgiving into Italian culture. Even if Italians did try to replicate the holiday, it’s very hard to find the ingredients of a traditional Thanksgiving meal.
Every family in Italy has a different tradition for Thanksgiving. Some who have American relatives do continue American traditions, with pie, cranberry sauce and of course, a large turkey. But most Italian families celebrate La Festa del Ringraziamento, or Thanksgiving day, with ravioli con la zucca (pumpkin ravioli), tacchinella alla melagrana (roast turkey with pomegranate sauce and pomegranate and giblet gravy), baked sweet potatoes with ginger, and Italian turkey sausage and mozzarella stuffing. Sometimes, foreigners and Italians get together to bring together both traditions. You never know when a pile of mashed potatoes and a fresh tiramisu might end up together! Whatever way you enjoy Thanksgiving, here are some festive holiday terms:
Thanksgiving = Ringraziamento
whole turkey = un tacchino intero
cranberries = mirtilli rossi
pie crust = pasta sfoglia pumpkin = zucca
mashed potatoes = purè di patate
and the best…. gobble gobble gobble!= glu glu glu!
And a couple of yummy recipes:
1 cup pomegranate juice or the juice of 5 pomegranates, freshly squeezed*
½ cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 sticks unsalted butter, cubed to ½ inch thickness
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, reduce all ingredients, except the butter, until syrupy, for about ten minutes. Remove from heat and add one cube of butter. Adjust the burner to low heat and return the sauce pan to the burner.
Whisking constantly for about five minutes, add the rest of the butter cube by cube slowly, waiting until one cube is almost incorporated before adding the next. The sauce is ready to serve when all the butter has melted and a silky smooth consistency is achieved.
Remove from heat, add a pinch of salt, whisk together and serve immediately.
INGREDIENTS: Per 4 servings
⅝ lb all-purpose flour
FOR THE FILLING AND THE SEASONING
2 lb yellow pumpkins
7 oz grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
nutmeg to taste
2 oz butter
salt to taste
How to prepare the pastry: Mix four eggs, flour, a pinch of salt, roll out a thin sheet and cut into squares, of about 2.5 inches a side.
For the filling: Mix the pumpkin pulp baked with an egg, the grated cheese and the nutmeg.
Put the filling into the squares of pasta making some “ravioli” larger than normal.
Cook them in abundant salted water and season with melted butter, sage and grated cheese.
Some like to serve them with meat sauce (Bolognese style)