When it comes to the holidays panettone seems to have become the internationally recognized official Italian food.  Panettone is great, but there are so many amazing Italian dishes that also deserve some of the limelight.

Take the typical Italian New Year’s Eve dinner menu, while it might differ somewhat region to region, there are two main stars: lentils and cotechino or zampone.  Tradition says that the first brings you money in the New Year, while experience shows that the second brings you a little bit more weight to burn off after the holidays.

Italian chefs are keeping the classic New Year’s Eve cenone (huge dinner) alive this year.  Yet, while the menu is built from local ingredients, regional recipes and family favorites, the best Italian chefs are also creating new traditions that go way beyond panettone in a cardboard box.

If you’re a foodie, you probably love discovering new ways to enjoy the classic dishes that made you fall in love with food in the first place.  That’s why this New Year’s Eve we are bringing together some of the best celebration worthy dishes by world-class Italian chefs  for an Italian menu that you can either cook or drool over.

Lentils | photo Luana

Appetizers |  Antipasti

Gaetano Trovato’s Duck liver escalope with melon, balsamic vinegar, parmigiano reggiano ice cream and crisp prosciutto is a dish with enough components to make your mind spin, but then perhaps that’s why he’s been recognized by recipe for might seem challenging, but then this is a chef who has been recognized by the Gambero Rosso, the Michelin Guide and the Veronelli guide.

While I have heard that Cristian Avenanti  is young and talented, I’m drawn to his Lobster, apple and truffle salad because I think the ingredients will speak for themselves.

With two Michelin stars and the popular Alice restaurant, Viviana Varese is the rising star of Italian cuisine thanks to dishes like her Parmesan flan with onion stewed in balsamic vinegar and a reduction of red wine.

Gaetano Trovato

First courses | Primi

Oreste Romagnolo, the globe-trotting chef of  Oréstaurante in Ponza uses castelluccio lentils to make the deceptively simple, but delicious Paccheri with shrimp and lentils.

A classic Milanese dish has an interesting twist in this Risotto with saffron and licorice recipe.  The innovative combination comes from the kitchen of Massimo Alajmo, the youngest three-star Michelin chef in Italy.

Massimo Bottura | photo

Second Courses | Secondi

Considering that it’s made by one of the best chefs in the world Massimo Bottura’s Pork medallions with onion marmelade doesn’t need much of an introduction.

In Angelo Gangemi’s kitchen humble calamaretti are elevated to gourmet elegance in Squid stuffed with Vicentina salted cod with a light cream of smoked potatoes and a “sail” of anchovy black rice.

Angelo Gangemi


Dessert | Dolci

If you really want to experiment try making Acqua.  While the name might make it seem simple, Acqua is an original and multi-component dessert by Gianluca Fusto, an amazing pastry chef who has worked everywhere from Las Vegas to Switzerland, and it includes “pearls of yogurt.”

Salvatore De Riso is a Master Italian Pastry-maker (pasticcere) and his Lemon Delight is world famous.

One of Gianluca Fusto's masterpieces