Are you tired of having turkey for christmas dinner? You are not the only one. Traditions are great but every now and then it is nice to have a change. Turkey at thanksgiving is enough for some.
Instead of taking out the turkey, just add a few dishes as alternatives. You can try Rachel Ray’s Christmas Pasta for one. It is loaded with all sorts of meat, perfect for those who don’t want fowl or fish. You don’t even need to worry about any leftovers. This dish just tastes better with every reheat. Do note Rachael Ray’s reminder: cook only as much pasta as needed. That comes to about half a pound for every 3 people.
If you really want to keep the turkey off the table this year, how about some of Giada de Laurentiis’ Spicy chicken instead? It’s an easy dish to make that doesn’t take too much work to cook and it adds a little kick to your christmas meal.
Here are the recipes for these two dishes:
Rachael Ray’s Christmas Pasta
1/4 pound pancetta, thick cut, chopped into small bits (Italian cured pork, ask at deli counter)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound bulk hot Italian sausage
1 pound combined ground beef, pork and veal
4 cloves garlic, crushed
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
Handful chopped flat-leaf parsley
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
Heat a deep pot over medium-high heat. Add pancetta and brown to render the fat. Transfer pancetta to paper towels to drain. To the pan add the oil, and the meats and brown and crumble them for 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, and pancetta bits.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
Giada de Laurentiis’ Spicy Chicken
4 chicken thighs with skin and bones
2 chicken breasts with skin and bones, halved crosswise
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons Chili Oil, recipe follows
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup pitted, coarsely chopped green olives
4 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons drained capers
2/3 cup dry white wine
Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a heavy large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side. Remove the skillet from the heat. Stir in the garlic, olives, 3 tablespoons of parsley and capers. Add the wine. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until the chicken is just cooked through, turning occasionally, about 10 minutes.Transfer the chicken mixture to a platter. Spoon the sauce over. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of parsley and serve.
2 cups olive oil
4 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper flakesCombine the oil and crushed red pepper flakes in a heavy small saucepan. Cook over low heat until a thermometer inserted into the oil registers 180 degrees F, about 5 minutes.
Remove from heat. Cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. Transfer the oil and pepper flakes to a 4-ounce bottle. Seal the lid. Refrigerate up to 1 month.
Yield: 2 cups
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 2 hours
[tags] Giada de Laurentiis,Rachael Ray,chicken,turkey,pasta,christmas [/tags]