An Italian Christmas Eve

Savor spaghetti with anchovies and bread crumbs, salt-baked striped bass, semifreddo, and more

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An Italian Christmas Eve

Rosetta Costantino and son Daniel prepare the Christmas Eve table.

Lisa Romerein

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It's a long way from rural Calabria, the "toe" of the Italian boot, to the suburban Oakland Hills, but Rosetta Costantino and her family have kept their food traditions intact since moving here more than 30 years ago. In their village of Verbicaro, Rosetta's father, Vincenzo Dito, was a cheesemaker and grape grower. He also raised goats and sheep, while Rosetta's mother, Maria, mastered the craft of preserving summer's abbondanza for winter.

The family still makes its own pasta, sausages, bread, and cheese, and in the garden behind Rosetta and Lino Costantino's home, Vincenzo grows huge quantities of Romano beans, eggplants, figs, zucchini, Italian chiles ― and San Marzano tomatoes, enough to fill 80 quart-size jars for cooking throughout the year.


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