An Italian Christmas Dinner

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tacchino alla porchetta

Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 1.45.42 PMWhile doing research for Precious Cargo: How Foods from the Americas Changed the World, I learned that not only is the turkey beloved in France and England for Christmas, it’s the traditional Christmas meal in Italy, too. And one of the ways they cook it is porchetta-style in Nereto, Abruzzo during the Sagra del Pitone. A sagra is a market festival and turkeys are also called piti in various regions of Italy. This sagra on November 11th each year features turkeys raised on walnut shells, a process that hardens the meat and greatly reduces the fat in the birds. During the sagra, a special turkey dish is prepared, tacchino alla porchetta, which means turkey cooked in the manner of roasted pig. Here are the recipes in “An Italian Christmas Dinner”: