Impress your guests with a homemade four-course Christmas dinner with wine pairings, made with ingredients delivered straight to your door by HappyFresh

With the arrival of the Christmas season comes the inevitable flurry of gatherings and endless to-do lists. For some, it's a season to plan long-anticipated brunch dates with friends. Others can't wait to welcome their loved ones and friends back to glittering dinner parties within the comfort of their homes. If you relate more to the latter, you'll recall how time-consuming it is to plan dinner menus and make trips to multiple grocery stores on top of everything else that has to be done.    

That said, planning ahead does keep the chaos to a minimum, while having groceries delivered to your door can free you up to do the things you actually love. And if whipping up hearty Italian dishes from scratch is your idea of a Christmas dinner done right, then read on for our top recommended recipes to try, from appetisers to dessert.             

See also: Simple Italian Recipes That Anyone Can Make At Home

Antipasto (Appetiser): Tagliere di salumi, Italian Cold Cut Platter

With a little effort and presentation, a cold cut platter can be a pleasing and satisfying antipasto for group dinners at home. The best part about it? There's no exact recipe to follow and your ingredients can be as lavish or as minimalist as you like. If you're unsure, start with a few essentials for a variety of colour, textures and sizes on your plate: 

  • Casa Montorsi Prosciutto Crudo
  • Bonta Italiane Salame Milano
  • Bonta Italiane Salame Napoli
  • Bonta Italiane Smoked Pancetta 

Method

Roll up each slice of Prosciutto, Salame, Pancetta and other meats and arrange them on your serving board. This is the time to unleash your creativity with accompaniments, which can range from Italian cheeses like gorgonzola and burrata to olives, artichokes, asparagus, cherry tomatoes and more, served with a tangy vinaigrette dressing on the side.  

Pair it with: Martini Prosecco 

Primo (First course): Lenticchie e salsiccia, Pork sausages with lentils

In Italy, Lenticchie e Salsiccia is a rich, tummy-warming stew that's easily shared across big parties and typically eaten on New Year's Day. It's been said that the lentils, with their coin-like shapes, are eaten for good luck in the New Year. It's a hearty, versatile dish that's just as easily enjoyed as lunch, dinner or even a midnight snack to reheat for those peckish evenings. 

Ingredients

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 250g dried lentils
  • 450g pork sausage 
  • 250g tomato puree
  • 1 chopped large onion
  • 1 chopped carrot
  • 1 chopped stalk of celery
  • 50g white wine
  • 4 sage leaves
  • 3 sprigs of rosemary
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Method

Rinse lentils well, drain and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a pan. Fry up the onions, celery and carrots until soft. Chop the sage and rosemary finely. Add the sausages and the minced herbs to the pan with the stewed vegetables. Fry the sausages for about 3 to 4 minutes on medium heat until brown. Add in the white wine. Once the liquid level of the mixture reduces, add the lentils together with the tomato puree and 500g of water, stirring well. 

Cover the pan and cook for about 40 minutes on low heat. Remove the lid, add salt and pepper and cook for another 40 minutes without covering the stew. Before serving, garnish with a few sprigs of rosemary.    

Pair it with: Luretta 2016 L'Ala Del Drago or 2016 Carabas Red Wine

Recipe: courtesy of Giallo Zafferano

Secondo (Second course): Filetto di manzo in crosta, Italian crusted beef fillet

Nothing shouts Christmastime like a good roast. Similar to a Beef Wellington, this festive Italian dish is a fittingly decadent second course that is bound to please the carnivores around your dinner table. A sumptuous combination of juicy beef fillet, sliced ham and mushroom puree all wrapped together in a golden pastry crust, Filetto in crosta takes about an hour and half to prepare and cook.  

Ingredients

  • 800g of beef fillet
  • 200g imported Italian prosciutto ham (Casa Montorsi Prosciutto Crudo or Simonini Prosciutto di Parma Mattonella are ideal)
  • 400g Champignon mushrooms
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 20g butter
  • 6 tbsp extra virgin oil
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 250g shortcrust pastry sheets
  • 30ml fresh cream
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Method

Season the beef fillet with salt and pepper and sear it well in a pan with the olive oil for about 20 minutes until both sides are nicely browned. Remove the fillet and let it cool on a wire rack while its juices seep out. Wash and cut your mushrooms into slices. Chop the garlic and fry it in the butter and three tablespoons of oil. Add in the sliced Champignon mushrooms and cook over high heat. Remove from the pan and blend the mushrooms and garlic into a fine cream in a mixer.          

Once the mushroom cream has cooled, spread most of it evenly on all sides of the fillet except the underside. Arrange your prosciutto ham slices on a sheet of baking paper, placing them vertically and horizontally. Spread a layer of the mushroom cream on the centre part of the slices, and place the fillet on top of it. Wrap the entire fillet with the prosciutto slices. 

Then, wrap the ham-covered fillet in the shortcrust pastry sheets, twisting any loose ends together to ensure that the meat is sealed in well. In a bowl, mix an egg yolk with the fresh cream, and brush it over the entire surface of the pastry. With a knife, cut thin slices of dough from the leftover pastry sheets and place them over the pastry in lines to form a diamond net-shaped pattern. Brush once more with the yolk and cream mixture to ensure that the dough strips adhere to the pastry. 

Place the crusted fillet onto a baking paper-lined tray and bake at 180 degrees for 35 minutes. Remove from the oven once the pastry develops a nice, golden brown colour. Slice and serve it with a side of baked potatoes or roasted vegetables.

Pair it with: Luretta 2016 Pantera Red Wine

Recipe: courtesy of Giallo Zafferano

Dolce (Dessert): Panettone con crema al mascarpone e frutti di bosco, Panettone with mascarpone cream and berries

For dessert, spruce up your store-bought Christmas panettone into a festive showpiece, decked in snowy white mascarpone cream and bursts of strawberries or raspberries for colour.  

Ingredients 

  • 750g Galbani mascarpone cream cheese
  • 40g of icing sugar or confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 panettone (approximately 1.1kg)
  • 60ml orange-flavoured liqueur
  • 750g fresh raspberries or strawberries
  • 2 additional tsp of icing sugar for decoration 

Method

To make the mascarpone filling, combine the cream cheese and the sifted icing sugar in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer till soft peaks start to form. Fold the beaten egg whites into the cheese mixture in two batches.

Cut your panettone into three even layers. Place the base layer on a serving plate. Coat it with a tablespoon of the liqueur and spread one-third of the mascarpone filling along with one third of the raspberries or strawberries over it. Cover it with the second slice of panettone, repeating the process with the next two layers and topping it off with a final layer of mascarpone. Refrigerate. Remove the panettone about 30 minutes before serving, sprinkling it with the remaining raspberries and dusting with the sifted icing sugar.          

Pair it with: Alois Lageder Pinot Bianco White Wine or Alois Lageder Porer Pinot Grigio White Wine

Recipe: courtesy of Australian Women's Weekly 

This season, get busy in the kitchen and let someone else do the grocery shopping when you order from HappyFresh's Made In Italy selections, featuring premium ingredients and wine from a variety of authentic Italian brands brought to you by the Italian Trade Agency's Eat Healthy, Taste Italy campaign.

Save time and shop with confidence for the best Italian ingredients for your recipes, handpicked by HappyFresh's trained personal shoppers. Find the ingredients you need on HappyFresh's Made In Italy section this November with discounts up to 25 per cent off.      

For more ideas and recipes, visit HappyFresh's blog or follow HappyFresh on Instagram and Facebook.   

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