Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve Dinner-Rigatoni in a Woodman's Sauce

Christmas Eve in our house is always full of so much energy. Everyone is waiting to get to those presents under the tree and to share what they bought for one another. I don't cook a big meal because I am too busy keeping the troops in line. I save the big meal for Christmas day. Christmas eve is for laying back with a table full of food to graze on and of course a platter full of Christmas cookies which we usually devour.

I made this dish one year and it has been tradition on our Christmas eve table ever since. It is a very comforting dish, great for a cold winters night.

Serve with a full bodied red wine and a nice hunk of Italian bread and all is good with the world.

Rigatoni in a Woodman's Sauce

3 Tbsps olive oil
1/2 c. chopped onion
1/4 lb sweet Italian sausage, removed from casing
2 cups crimini or baby bella mushrooms, cleaned and chopped coarse
2 Tbsps butter
1 Tbsps olive oil
1 can (14 oz) san marzano, cherry tomatoes, canned
1/2 cup fresh ricotta cheese
1 cup cooked peas or frozen
1 cup heay cream
salt and pepper to taste
lb rigatoni, cooked al dente
1 cup freshly grated parmigianno reggiano

In a large non reactive saucepan heat the olive oil. Saute onions until wilted. Add sausage and cook for 10 minutes or until cooked through.

In a separate pan saute the mushrooms in olive oil and butter until tender.

Add the tomatoes and simmer gently until thick, about 10 minutes. Add 1/4 cup of the ricotta cheese to the sauce and mix well, then add peas, cream and boil lightly for 4 minutes. Add the sausage and onions and season with salt and pepper.

Add the rigatoni to the pan and give a stir coating the noodles. Fold in the parmesan and 1/4 cup more of the ricotta cheese.
Garnish with fresh basil and serve with some Italian bread.

Merry Christmas to all. Enjoy your families and friends and I hope your holiday is filled with good food and lots of laughter. 

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