Christmas Pasta

November 2005
Christmas Pasta

by 23 people

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This is the greatest gift I can give to myself and those I love: a big bowl of pasta with the works. Every Christmas I make this dinner; I cant finish any year without it. Ive made small improvements in the recipe over the yearsits faster and easier to make than ever. For Italians, after all that fish on Christmas Eve, this dish, with five types of meat in it, is the payoff. Serve with tomato, basil and mozzarella salad (the colors of the season and the Italian flag). Have a great year!

Makes: 6 servings

Ingredients
  • Salt
  • 1 pound rigatoni
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), 2 turns of the pan
  • 1/4 pound pancetta, chopped
  • 1/4 pound hot bulk Italian sausage (No bulk? Split a link open)
  • 1/4 pound sweet bulk Italian sausage
  • 1/2 pound ground sirloin
  • 1/2 pound ground veal
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice (eyeball it in your palm)
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine (a couple of glugs)
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 28 ounce can  crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped (a generous handful)
  • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese (a couple of handfuls), plus extra to pass
Directions
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Add the pasta and cook until al dente.
  2. While the water and pasta work, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon EVOO (1 turn of the pan), then add the pancetta to half of the pan and the hot and sweet sausage to the other side. Break up the sausage into bits and let it brown while the pancetta renders its fat; combine the sausage and pancetta and cook them together for another minute or so. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate.
  3. Add the remaining tablespoon of EVOO (1 turn of the pan) to the skillet and then the beef and veal. Brown and crumble the meat, then season it with the allspice, salt and pepper. Add the carrot, onion and garlic and cook another 5 to 6 minutes to soften the vegetables. Return the sausage and pancetta to the skillet, draining off some of the fat. Deglaze the pan with the wine, scraping up the good bits with a wooden spoon. Stir in the stock, then the tomatoes. Check the seasoning. Simmer over low heat for at least 10 minutes, until serving time. Stir in half of the parsley.
  4. Meanwhile, drain the pasta and return it to its pot. Ladle a few spoonfuls of the sauce over the pasta and add a couple of handfuls of cheese to the pot. Stir to coat the pasta. Transfer the dressed pasta to a large serving dish or individual bowls and top with the remaining sauce and parsley. Pass around plenty of extra cheese at the table.
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