Sunday, December 23, 2012

Cooking Countdown 2 Days to Christmas

This picture was taken about four years ago, when we still got snow in the Winter!   We had so much fun this day.   We are really hoping that this climate change thing hasn't gotten so bad that snow in New York is a thing of the past. 2012 has been one of the warmest years on record and 2013 looks like its shaping up to be the same.

Now for Christmas Cooking Countdown, Baked Zita with Pork and Sausage Ragu from epicurious.  This is a good recipe if you have a potluck or some such thing to go to, it make a large amount of food, and it can be prepared completely in advance.   It takes a while to make but most of the cooking time its such simmering in the pot.

Baked Ziti With Spicy Pork and Sausage Ragu

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 ounces  pancetta, chopped (getting the pre-chopped kind is easiest)
  • 2 pounds pork stew meat, like cubed boston butt
  • 1 pound Italian hot sausages, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 3/4 cup chopped carrots
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery
  • 6 large fresh thyme sprigs
  • 6 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 1 28-ounce can plum tomatoes in juice, 

  • 1 and 1/2 packages pounds  pasta
  • 2 cups (8 oz) shredded mozzarella (not fresh, get the stuff that comes in the bag)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Heat the olive oil over medium high heat and add the pancetta and brown  for about 5 minutes until crispy.  Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a large bowl.  Add the pork and season well with salt and pepper and cook for 7 minutes until browned.   Remove with the slotted spoon to the bowl with the pancetta.   Add the sausage and cook until no longer pink, about five minutes.   Add the vegetables and bay leaves and thyme and cook until softened about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add the wine and bring to a boil.   Add the canned tomatoes (which you should break up a bit with a knife) and juice and bring back to the boil.  Add the meat.  One everything is boiling reduce the heat to a simmer and cover and cook for 2 hours (stir occasionally and keep adjusting the heat to make sure it is just simmering, it should not be boiling.)   Its ready when the pork is falling apart.   (The ragu can be made 2 days ahead and stored in the fridge)

Cook the ziti in boiling water.  Remove the hardened fat from the top of the ragu and heat it up a bit in the microwave.   Stir the cooked ziti and ragu together and transfer to a buttered lasagna pan.   Top with the grated cheese. Cook in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes until heated through and the cheese is browned.

On a sad note we are praying for a Christmas miracle for our pal Pip.  He is feeling very poorly, please stop by and wish him well.


  1. Oh my the Ragu is so up our street. It looks fabulous. I am printing this off to try during the holidays. Have a super Sunday.
    Best wishes Molly

  2. What a pawsome snow photo!

    And a great recipe. We're in Italy for Christmas, so we're eating tons and tons of pasta. Mom will have to make this, too!

    Merry Christmas!

  3. Snow or no snow...what time is dinner? LOL Happy Holidays!

  4. That's my kind of dinner on a cold day...Warm & comforting and yummy..We be there by 6 ;)

  5. Soooo very appetizing!
    Dip Bridge and Elliot x

  6. Look at that snow and foodables!!
    Benny & Lily

  7. A walk in that luciouz thick snow, coming home to that wonderful dinner, Tell ya Mammy, My Daddy said he'z moving in..BOL..Have a wonderful christmas, Love you all.. xxoox

    Mollie and Alfie

  8. Love the snow romping photo

    Stop on by for a visit