Chef Fabio Trabocchi makes many of the same marvelous Italian holiday dishes he grew up with, including a succulent pork rib roast and a creamy lasagna.
Food & Wine
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Citrus-Marinated Pork Rib Roast
When making this dish in Marche, Italy, Fabio Trabocchi’s father used pork from neighboring farmers, which he marinated using oranges from Sicily, wild fennel from the surrounding fields and herbs from a container garden on the family’s back porch.
“In Marche, we only make lasagna for special occasions like Christmas,” Fabio Trabocchi says. For this streamlined version of his luxe lasagna in bianco (white lasagna), he layers flat noodles with a supremely rich sauce, along with a root-vegetable ragú, fresh mozzarella and whole basil leaves.
Growing up in Italy’s Marche region, Fabio Trabocchi roasted chestnuts in the fireplace to eat as a snack while playing cards with his family. At culinary school, he first transformed those chestnuts into this luscious soup. Incredibly creamy, it’s best served in small cups as an hors d’oeuvre.
Arugula Salad with Prosciutto and Oyster Mushrooms
When he was a boy, Fabio Trabocchi loved foraging for mushrooms in the woods around his house. In this elegant salad, he tosses lightly sautéed oyster mushrooms with arugula and tops them with thin slices of prosciutto and Pecorino Toscano.
For a gorgeous, relatively light Christmas side dish, Fabio Trabocchi turns to rainbow chard, which has crisp-tender stalks in an array of bright yellows, pinks and reds. Plain green Swiss chard is delicious here too.
In Italy, Fabio Trabocchi makes this dessert with Alchermes, a bright-red cinnamon-scented liqueur rarely seen in the States. The Sicilian fortified wine Marsala is a good substitute: It has a subtler color but a similarly spiced flavor, perfect for drenching squares of soft sponge cake layered with vanilla-infused pastry cream.
For Fabio Trabocchi’s Spanish-born wife, Maria, it isn’t Christmas without polvorones, crumbly Spanish almond cookies traditionally made with pork fat. Trabocchi developed this all-butter version while he and Maria were living in London and unable to find the Spanish original.