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Q: My Puerto Rican mother has been cooking Christmas Eve dinner for my Italian father's family since the '90s. The problem: they only eat pasta or plainly-seasoned meat, which creates some creative roadblocks for my mother. Any ideas for dishes to serve to a large, picky Italian crowd?!

Sent by Dana

Editor: There's a great wide world of Italian foods out there, much of it zesty, spicy, and tantalizing! I'd suggest keeping a good number of familiar family favorites and then playing with one or two side dishes. Maybe even think about combining a traditional Italian dish like porchetta or stuffed pasta with some Puerto Rican flavors? Here are a few more posts to inspire:

Pizza and Beyond: 15 Italian Recipes Everyone Should Know
An Italian Wine Dinner Menu
Weeknight Suppers from Italy: 20 Recipes Inspired by Italy

Readers, what favorite Italian dishes woud you suggest?

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