Italian Feast of the Epiphany

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Although we’re on our way home this year, I wanted to share our feast of the Epiphany from last year. I hope you might have one, also. All our kids enjoy the recipes in this delicious Italian feast.

At the last minute I decided to make our Epiphany feast, one of our Epiphany traditions. The past few years, the kids have been gone on January 6, but Gentry & Hunter were here this year.

Italian feast of the Epiphany

Sunday morning I made a grocery list of a few items to grab after church.  Then, we headed home to make a very easy feast.

I made the Cenci dough.┬á Cenci means “rags”. In Italy, it is believed that La Befana flies around in her rags, filling the kids’ socks with small gifts.

cenci dough

If you only have 4 people, you should 1/2 this recipe ­čÖé

Mix together 2 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 2 large eggs, 3 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons brandy, 1 tablespoon vanilla.  If you don’t want to use brandy, add more vanilla.

feast of the epiphany - cenci

The dough was still in crumbles, so I added a little bit of water.


That took about 5 minutes to make in my Kitchen Aid.

I’m done…let it sit while I go to church.

I set out a plate of appetizers to nibble.

feast of the epiphany - appetizers

At the grocery store, I found hard salami and gouda (lime & chili).  Boy, were they yummy!  Everyone loved the salami, and it was the generic brand.  I added some swiss & bagel crisps.

Italians enjoy cheese and sliced meats as appetizers, so I followed suit.

I read that Italians serve sausage & pasta for the feast of the Epiphany.  I found a recipe for ragu that I could use over the stuffed pasta.

Feast of the Epiphany Ragu

Start the ragu by sauteeing onion, carrot, celery stalk and garlic in olive oil.  When they are soft, I added some mushrooms.

Next I added a can of diced tomatoes and a cup of red wine. I chose Chianti because it is traditional Italian.  I’ve never chosen a Chianti, but this is what I found. After visiting Italy, I discovered that Chianti Classico is really good. Next time, I would choose a Classico.


After adding the wine, I discovered the ragu was suppose to simmer for over an hour.

I didn’t have an hour, so I added 1/2 can of tomato paste to thicken the sauce more quickly.

After simmering about 15 minutes, I added sliced sausage.  Our sausage is from one of Steve’s deer and is very spicy.  For that reason, I did not add any extra spices.  The spices from the sausage blended into the sauce for a tasty ragu.


While I cooked, Hunter peeled the clementines – our salad.  Oranges represent light in our feast of the Epiphany.  The Wise Men are following a special light, the Star of Bethlehem.  Others use oranges as a symbol of the gold the Wise Men brought to Jesus.

italian feast of the epiphany

While the ragu simmers, cook the fresh, stuffed pasta.  I found a bag of mixed tortellini.  It was perfect with the sausage ragu.  Sprinkle a little parmesan on top, if you like.

Add fresh bread from the bakery and broccoli.  Yum-O! Or try our Angel Biscuits, a super-easy homemade bread recipe.

It was truly a feast.

How to Make Cenci


Roll the cenci dough to 1/8″ thickness.

I should have rolled ours thinner.

Using a pastry wheel, cut strips of dough (about 3″ x 1″).  Then cut a strip down the middle, so you have 2 strips that can be twisted, but still connected at the top.


Twist the 2 strips and seal ends together.


Fry the twists in hot oil.  I have a small skillet that I used and loved using it.


The small skilled took very little oil.

After draining on a paper towel, immediately sprinkle powdered sugar on top.

feast of the epiphany - cenci

Enjoy while warm…that’s the best way to eat cenci.

Overall, it was a wonderful time of fellowship before Gentry & Hunter left for Houston later in the afternoon.

Our Christmas break was truly a time of family, fellowship, food & fun! Our feast of the Epiphany was a great to end our time together.

For more resources about Epiphany, check out our Christmas Celebrations: Advent, Christmas Epiphany ebook or bundle.

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