Pasta Sauce, pasta, italian food, thanksgiving, holidays, christmas

The Italian Day Of Rest

Before you start planning your Italian-American Christmas, enjoy simple times in the kitchen with Paesana.

By Paesana

Collage of recipes - Chicken Cacciatore, Baked Ziti, Shrimp Fra Diavolo and Shrimp Fra Diavolo

Each year when we awake on Black Friday (the shopping-inspired nickname for the day after turkey day), we like to take a deep, cleansing breath—as we reflect with relief and gratitude for another successful Thanksgiving meal.

For some of us, that mindful peace is short lived because once the book is closed on one holiday, our minds immediately dash to the next. And this time of year, the next holiday for a lot of folks is the big one: Christmas. Who’s hosting it this year? How many family and friends should gather? What are we cooking? Is the gluten-free cousin a vegan now? Is there any possible chance I can pull off my grandfather’s Christmas roast duck?

These questions are enough to keep you up at night. Far too often, this is the time of year when we allow stress and self-imposed obligations to dampen the journey to the holidays over the coming days and weeks. And try as we might to slow things down, it’s all too easy to get swept up in the season.

But this year more than ever, we believe the pursuit of the holidays would benefit from an approach resembling a slow simmer, rather than a rolling boil. So this year, as you utilize our Italian-inspired Thanksgiving leftover ideas—specifically, our comforting Turkey Tetrazzini—try to extend the act of reflection for at least a few extra days. 

And what better way to take a break than by simplifying your weekday meals and spending a little bit less time in the kitchen? Follow along as we present five of our all-time favorite simple meals that you can cook with Paesana. All of these recipes can be found in our Family Recipes section, complete with ingredients, directions, and tips straight from the cook.

Chicken Cacciatore

A rustic dish loosely translated to “hunter’s chicken,” Chicken Cacciatore packs a hearty punch in a poultry stew that’s satisfying as a Sunday feast or a mid-week meal in a pinch. It’s at its best when made with on-the-bone cuts of chicken, which deliver more depth of flavor than boneless cutlets. Filling and comforting, Chicken Cacciatore also leaves room for plenty of kitchen experimentation and improvisation. Make with Paesana’s Tomato Basil pasta sauce. Follow our recipe here!

Baked Ziti

Baked pasta can take many different forms. We prefer one of the more classically simple variations: Baked ziti. Our recipe brings together Paesana Marinara sauce with fresh mozzarella, low-moisture mozzarella, whole-milk ricotta, parmigiano reggiano, and short tube pasta. Rather than standard ziti with its smooth exterior, we like to use pasta with ridges, as sauce is more likely to cling to textured pasta, like ziti rigati or rigatoni pasta. Check out our recipe here!


Far too often, this is the time of year when we allow stress and self-imposed obligations to dampen the journey to the holidays over the coming days and weeks.


Shrimp Fra Diavolo

Here’s a hot dish we love to prepare on date night! It features the infamous heat of fra diavolo sauce served over spaghetti or linguine, with plenty of tender and savory shrimp. The recipe we’ve developed is quick and easy—perfect for an impromptu weeknight romantic dinner where you talk about anything but the holidays. Made with Paesana’s Fra Diavolo sauce, prep time is halved, without sacrificing pure ingredients and remarkable flavor. Try it out with our recipe here!

New York-Style Pizza

Pizza night can be a fun way for a family to come together and enjoy each other’s company. And when it’s prepared at home with Paesana’s single-serve pizza sauces, it’s a simple weekday treat. Our recipe for New York-Style Pizza allows you to add your favorite toppings and personalize your pie. We also show you how to make the dough, but feel free to pick up pre-made, raw dough at your local pizza place or Italian market.

Penne Puttanesca

A product of Naples, Penne Puttanesca typically features a seductive combination of olives, capers, anchovies, diced tomatoes, and chili flakes, with other ingredients like garlic appearing in some recipes. We love to utilize Paesana’s authentic Italian olives and gourmet condiments: specifically, pitted Kalamata olives and capers. These flavor enhancers make Penne Puttanesca a wonderful side dish or meal all on its own. Check out our recipe, where we use penne rigate, perfect for picking up all those ingredients in each bite.

Subscribe to the Blog

Featured Articles