Friday, December 22, 2006


Food TV's Rachael Ray has an excellent recipe for pasta.

We prepare her pasta recipe about once a month and have enough left over for three or four meals. Yes, we have pasta once a week.

Note that the recipe calls for ground veal and ground pork combined with hamburger and hot sausage. I usually can only find only the ground pork and hamburger but not the ground veal. Not using veal doesn't matter.

If you can't find hot sausage use regular sausage and add some red pepper flakes.

I made a batch of Christmas Pasta last night. Damn, it's good!

Christmas Pasta

Rachel Ray/Food Television Network

We eat fish on Christmas Eve, no meat allowed. After Midnight Mass, all bets are off! We make this sauce for Christmas Day: you can't fit another meat in the pot!

As many times as you reheat it, it just gets that much better, so if people are coming and going throughout the day, cook off only as much pasta as you need at the time -- half a pound for every 3 people.

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) Bob says: We use Prosciutto instead of pancetta. It has less fat.

1/2 pound bulk hot Italian sausage

1 pound combined ground beef, pork and veal

2 medium carrots, peeled and finely chopped

2 ribs celery,

chopped 1 large onion, chopped

1 cup good quality dry red wine

1 cup prepared beef stock, paper container or canned

2 (28-ounce) cans chunky style crushed tomatoes

1 (16 ounce) can chopped 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 or spaghetti, cooked to al dente Grated Pecorino Romano, as an accompaniment

Fresh, crusty bread, for mopping

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.

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Whiskeytown Lake, Very Northern California, United States