On Christmas Day, after the anolini comes a meat course — the beef and poultry from the broth. Because the meat is a bit dry, O’Connell serves it with mostarda, a fruit preserve with mustard she prepares in the fall. For dessert, there’s fried ravioli with a sweet filling made of chickpeas, chocolate, and more mostarda. “These were controversial,” Risoli says, as O’Connell fries up a batch. “Half of us loved them and half hated them.”
But the main event is the anolini. The tender pillows plump up with brodo as they simmer — a bit like Chinese soup dumplings, as Risoli points out — and the filling, with its tang of good aged cheese, makes a wonderful counterpoint to the rich broth. More cheese is sprinkled on the soup at the table. Holidays, after all, are a time to be profligate with luxurious ingredients.
Botti and O’Connell have made their Christmas anolini together for some 30 years.“Whenever we cook together, it brings back my fondest memories of watching my Nonna Dorina in the kitchen,” she says. “I’ll never stop the tradition.”
Jane Dornbusch can be reached at email@example.com.