Christmas Pasta

Yield: 12 servings

Christmas Pasta


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 whole bay leaf, fresh or dried
  • 4-ounces pancetta, thick cut, chopped into small bits (ask at deli counter)
  • 8-ounces bulk hot Italian sausage
  • 1 pound (combined) mixture of ground beef and ground pork
  • 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, canned
  • Two 32-ounce cans chunky style crushed tomatoes
  • 1 handful of chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice or ground cinnamon
  • coarse salt and black pepper
  • 2 pounds penne pasta, cooked to al dente
  • grated Pecorino Romano


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
SOURCE: Rachael Ray

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