Chef Francesco Di Marzio shares how to make the best out of tidbits from a great Christmas meal

It’s exciting to have the delicious truffle mac and cheese or smoked ham from Christmas dinner for brunch the next day, but sometimes it’s hard to find inspiration to remake it into something new. For the new chef de cuisine of the prestigious Raffles Hotel Singapore’s restaurant, La Dame de Pic, Francesco Di Marzio’s post-Christmas meal is easy comfort food you can make to stretch the cosy feeling of Christmas to last a little bit longer. 

With over a decade of culinary experience in Michelin-starred restaurants across the globe, Di Marzio has a flair for nostalgia as he was inspired by his grandmother’s expression of love through cooking. Chef Di Marzio shares about the delectable array of classic Italian food his family loves to eat for Christmas that brings him back to his childhood days, and his tips on the best leftover recipes. 

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What is your favourite Christmas food?

Di Marzio (DM): During Christmas, I love spending time with my family. I always look forward to my mother’s and grandmother’s cooking. For my family, we relish traditional dishes such as the classic cannelloni, lamb with roasted potatoes, and frittelli—a delicious vegetable fritter made from a batter using ice-cold beer and sparkling water.

Another quintessential dish that makes its appearance on our dining table is meatball with tomato sauce. This dish from my childhood brings back many beautiful memories and its aroma is something that is truly unforgettable for me. My grandmother slowly simmers the rich tomato sauce from as early as about 6 in the morning.

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What is one recipe you love to make with Christmas leftovers?

DM: There’s nothing like the humble shepherd’s pie to keep the festivities alive even after Christmas. It’s a popular pub dish that transports me back to London, where I used to live in 2012 and it's just the perfect dish that offers comfort and deliciousness and uses your leftover meat and sauces in a pinch.

1.     Mash the potatoes with a little butter and any herb of your choice—rosemary, thyme, or sage—and some grated parmesan.

2.     Add some chopped onions to your crumbled meatballs and cook it with your leftover tomato sauce.

3.     Place the minced meat at the bottom of a casserole and add the creamy mashed potatoes on top with a touch more parmesan and breadcrumbs.

4.     Bake the dish in the oven until the mashed potato is golden and the minced meat below it is piping hot.

5.     Sprinkle freshly chopped chives over the shepherd’s pie and it is ready to be enjoyed!  

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Last, what are you looking forward to this Christmas?

DM: I’ve only been in Singapore since June of this year, so this will be my very first Christmas in Singapore. I’m looking forward to experiencing the different cuisines and cultures as I continue to discover this exciting city. Most certainly, I will be busy preparing exceptionally curated Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve menus with seasonal truffles at La Dame de Pic, Raffles Singapore.

I also do have a personal quest that’s rather festive in nature. I wish to source the best Panettone in town, just to find a little taste of home away from home.

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