Instead of joining the crowds of party-goers this New Year's Eve, I'm staying in, and I invite you to do the same! Call up some friends and host a festive and special dinner party that lasts until the countdown. Start with a luxurious duo of appetizers: oysters on the half shell with two types of sauces (cucumber mignonette and classic cocktail sauce) and a bubbling pot of cheese fondue with lots of delicious items for dipping (bread cubes, potatoes, broccoli, etc.). For the main course, offer a thick and slow-cooked pork ragu with pasta. It's comforting and hearty. Crusty bread and a big green salad round out the menu. Check out the recommended recipes after the break.
Pappardelle with a tomato ragu sounds typical enough — until you jazz it up with the addition of leftover ground lamb, shallots, and parsley. Not only does it make for a seemingly effortless yet sophisticated Monday night dinner, but it's also a great way to introduce other family members and friends to the rich and slightly gamey flavors of lamb. Top it off with some mild ricotta salata or feta cheese, and you've got a very memorable meal. See the recipe when you keep on reading.
Impress the vegetarians in your life by taking the time to make this flavorful, hearty meal. Although it simmers for only about 45 minutes, the final dish has a depth and richness equal to something slow-cooked. The ingredient list includes mushrooms, cauliflower, onion, tomatoes, and bell peppers, but feel free to use the vegetables that your family enjoys eating.
To look at the recipe that would be delicious served with a chunk of crusty bread and a glass of red wine, read more
Cooking a romantic meal for your sweetheart is a wonderful way to show your affection. Although it doesn't appeal to everyone, I think a delicious slice of filet mignon is super sexy. It's actually one of my favorite meals! Especially when garnished with a rich mushroom ragout and drizzle of truffle oil. This steak is simple to make and the dish comes together quickly. Sound scrumptious? Wait till you see the recipe! read more
Traditionally, a ragu is a slow cooked meat heavy sauce; the meat is cooked for several hours until it falls off the bone and the sauce is thick. However, a rapid variation is simple to make in under 30 minutes. Ground lamb cooks quickly and is effortlessly flavored with fennel seed, oregano, and red wine. A ribbed pasta like rigatoni or penne is a great choice as the hearty sauce has something to cling to. Pine nuts and crumbled feta top off this wonderfully comforting end of the week dinner. Plus, you can drink the same wine that you used to make the dish! To check out the recipe, read more
A sauce of meat, poultry, or a combination of the two and finely diced vegetables simmered for a long time in one or more liquids, such as water, milk, cream, wine, broth, or stock and seasonings. A staple of northern Italy's Bologna, ragu is typically served with pasta.
Though different than the French ragout, both are derived from the verb "ragouter," which means to stimulate the appetite.