Manteca’s Italian celebration menu

The northern Italian region of Piedmont, famous for truffles, hazelnuts and barolo wine, has other treats up its sleeve, too. Let Chris Leach, chef at lauded Italian restaurant Manteca in London’s Shoreditch, show you how to bring a little Piedmontese magic to your feasting this Christmas and New Year.

Manteca’s Italian celebration menu features meaty delights, exquisite tortellini and your new favourite chocolate and caramel pudding. Scroll on for the recipes and to start planning your Italian feast…

Manteca’s Italian celebration menu

When it comes to Christmas feasting, few nations do it better than Italy. Of course, Italian cooking is a regional affair, and for this celebration menu we’re headed to Piedmont, northern Italy. The region, which borders France and Switzerland, is renowned for its rich larder: white truffles, chestnuts, cheeses, beef and fine wines. Chef Chris Leach, of Manteca restaurant in London, has put together a menu of classic Piedmontese celebration dishes, including a meat-feast of a main and the after-dinner coffee you’ll make time and again.

Chris made his name as a chef at Petersham Nurseries in southwest London. He went on to open Manteca, in partnership with David Carter, in early 2020. Its menu is rooted in nose-to-tail eating and focuses on handmade pasta and fire-cooked meat.

A portrait of chef Chris Leach
Chef Chris Leach


The antipasto

Bagna cauda
The dip of Piedmontese cuisine, this simple dish contains heaps of garlic, anchovy and olive oil – three of our favourite things. An easy starter that’s guaranteed to go down a storm. Serve alongside crudites, bread and/or cooked potatoes on a platter.

The primo

Tortellini in brodo
Another Piedmontese Christmas favourite, this dish might look simple but it’s a labour of love. Tiny handmade tortellini are made using some of the meat from the main (see below), then served in the rich stock the meat was simmered in, ensuring nothing goes to waste.

The secondo

Bollito misto
Bollito misto (mixed boiled meats) has no qualms about letting everyone know exactly what it is: a big platter of meat, which can include beef ribs and cheek, spiced sausage and chicken, gently simmered in stock until meltingly tender. Despite its humble name and look, this dish is a real treat for special occasions – especially with the crucial side sauces. Chris has gone for salsa verde, salsa rossa, mostarda di frutta and a horseradish cream.

A platter of bollito misto (Italian boiled mixed meats)

The dolce

Bonet is a classic Piedmontese dessert showcasing two of the region’s favourite things – chocolate and amaretti biscuits. Gently cooked in the oven and entirely do-ahead, it’s a wonderful thing to make, eat and share with everyone.

The digestivo

A perfect drink to end a full-throttled Piedmontese dinner, bicerin comes from the region’s capital, Turin, and sees espresso topped with a layer of melted chocolate, then a layer of whipped cream. Heaven!

Find out more about Manteca, or make a reservation.

Discover more Italian festive recipes – and get organised for the holidays with our make-ahead Christmas recipes.


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