Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray
Total Time:35 min
Prep 15 min
Cook 20 min
Yield:4 large servings
* 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 4 cloves garlic, crushed
* 1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
* 1/4 pound pancetta, thick cut, chopped into small bits (Italian cured pork, ask at deli counter)
* 1/2 pound bulk hot Italian sausage
* 1 pound combined ground beef, pork and veal
* 1 medium carrot, peeled and finely chopped
* 1 rib celery, chopped
* 1 medium onion, chopped
* 1 cup good quality dry red wine
* 1 cup prepared beef stock, paper container or canned
* 2 (32-ounce) cans chunky style crushed tomatoes
* A handful chopped flat leaf parsley leaves
* 1/4 teaspoon (a couple of pinches) allspice or cinnamon
* Coarse salt and black pepper
* 2 pounds penne rigate, cooked to al dente
* Grated Pecorino Romano, as an accompaniment
* Fresh, crusty bread, for mopping
Caprese Salad, recipe follows
Five-Minute Fudge Wreath, recipe follows
Heat a deep pot over medium high heat. Add oil, garlic, bay, and pancetta bits and brown for 1 minute. Add meats and brown and crumble them for 5 minutes.
Chop carrot, celery, and onions near the stove and add to the pot as you work. Cook vegetables with meat 5 minutes and add wine. Cook for 1 minute; add stock and tomatoes to the pot.
Stir in parsley, allspice, or cinnamon and season sauce with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring sauce to a boil, reduce heat to medium low, and cook 10 to 15 minutes minimum before serving. Reheated sauce only improves.
Toss pasta (cook off only as much pasta as you need at the time: half a pound for every 3 people) with a couple of ladles of sauce to coat, then top bowl with extra sauce. Top pasta with lots of cheese and pass bread at the table.
The sauce will cover up to 2 pounds of pasta. If you are making this full menu, prepare the fudge and chill while your sauce simmers and before you prepare your salad. When you are done eating your 30 Minute meal, the fudge will have chilled for 45 minutes and will then be firm enough to slice. Happy Holidays and Merry Eating!
* 3 vine-ripe tomatoes, 1/4-inch thick slices
* 1 pound fresh mozzarella, 1/4-inch thick slices
* 20 to 30 leaves (about 1 bunch) fresh basil
* Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
* Coarse salt and pepper
Layer alternating slices of tomatoes and mozzarella, adding a basil leaf between each, on a large, shallow platter. Drizzle the salad with extra-virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings Preparation time: 10 minutes Cooking time: none Ease of preparation: easy
Five-Minute Fudge Wreath:
* 1 (12-ounce) bag semisweet chocolate morsels
* 9 ounces (3/4 of a 12-ounce bag) butterscotch morsels
* 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 (8-ounce) can walnut halves
* 1/2 cup (a couple of handfuls) currants
* 8-inch cake pan, lightly greased with softened butter
* Candied cherries, red and green, for garnish, optional
Place a heavy pot on the stove and preheat it over low heat. Add chips and milk and stir until chips are melted and milk combined. Save the empty condensed milk can. Stir in vanilla and remove fudge from heat. Add nuts and currants and stir in immediately.
Cover empty condensed milk can with plastic food wrap and center it in the greased cake pan. Spoon fudge into pan around can, making sure to recenter can if it drifts.
The fudge will set up almost immediately. Garnish can only be added in the first minute or 2 the fudge is in the pan, so work quickly. Decorate your wreath with "holly" made from cut candied red and green cherries. A wreath left plain can be garnished with a pretty fabric bow when serving. Chill covered in the refrigerator and slice fudge very thin when ready to serve, a little goes a long way.
Yield: 32 servings (2 pounds) (...before you eat it. Go for it! You can hit the gym in January.) Preparation time: 5 minutes Cooking time: 5 minutes Ease of preparation: too easy!