La Vigilia di Natale, or Christmas Eve, is the most important holiday for many Italians. The meal served is a holiday feast with deep religious roots. Traditionally it has to be “di magro” or meatless, a custom which dates back to older church doctrine that limited the eating of meat on holy days. For those who follow the custom, the meal consists of fish or seafood and a number of side dishes. Depending on the availability, meals can have seven to thirteen seafood dishes, and in landlocked areas as few as three. Whatever the number, the number has religious significance. Linguine served with chile spiced clam sauce is a popular “il primo piatto” or the first course in a meal of many courses.
This recipe doubles easily if you want to use it as a main dish. It is a vegetarian version of posole, a dish made by the Pueblo Indians and Hispanics for feast days and special celebrations. Most canned hominy is pretty high in sodium so I usually wait until after cooking to add sea salt to taste.
This is a very basic recipe for Mexican rice that will complement any number of entrees. Just about any green chile works well in this dish, so try using jalapeños, serranos, or poblanos in place of the New Mexican green.
There are many variations of soup with tortillas throughout Mexico, and this is a variation that is popular in the Yucatán Peninsula. Chicken is commonly used but you can substitute leftover turkey in this delicate soup.