This year I’m serving pasta for Christmas dinner.
Oh, I know Christmas dinner is a meal that deserves something extraordinary. But I’m so tired from unpacking boxes and dealing with issues in my new space that the idea of standing in the kitchen for hours putting together the perfect “Martha Stewart Dinner for 20” makes me want to crawl into one of those boxes and hide. So I’m skipping the expense and time of the huge roast (and all the trimmings), and I’m boiling some noodles.
Shocking, right? Maybe, but I’m convinced that while we want something rich and amazing, this special holiday meal should be more about spending time with the people we love. And I can do that over a plate of pasta just as well as a standing rib roast. So Christmas dinner at my house is going to be Penne With Gorgonzola Cream and Cranberries.
The mildly sharp, tangy flavor of the Gorgonzola is a perfect foil to the sweet cranberries, and toasted chopped walnuts provide the texture to pull it all together. With a spinach salad and warm toasted garlic bread, we’ll be sitting down to dinner in less than 30 minutes.
Maybe your December has been full of something besides planning for the holidays, and you’ll appreciate the simple solution of pasta for your Christmas dinner. Let me know what you plan to serve at Kitchenscoop.com. Merry Christmas!
Penne With Gorgonzola
Cream and Cranberries
16 oz. penne pasta
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
4 oz. cream cheese
4 oz. Gorgonzola crumbles
¾ cup sweetened dried cranberries
¼ cup toasted chopped walnuts
Cook pasta according to package directions. While pasta cooks, melt butter in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour to make a paste; stir 30 seconds, until light gold. Slowly add milk and stir constantly, until milk begins to thicken. Remove from heat.
Add the cheeses and stir until completely melted. Stir in cranberries.
When pasta is cooked, drain well and place in a large serving dish. Add cheese sauce and toss to mix. Top with toasted walnuts and serve immediately.
Makes 6 servings (easily doubled or tripled).
Each serving has about 576 calories (37 percent from fat), 24 grams fat (12 grams saturated), 56 milligrams cholesterol, 23 grams protein, 70 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams dietary fiber and 475 milligrams sodium.
Beverly Mills and Alicia Ross are co-authors of three cookbooks for the desperate. Contact them at Desperation Dinners, c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106, or visit http://kitchenscoop.com.