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An Italian-Style Christmas Feast

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Pepperoni Sauce continued...

5. Remove mixture from heat and let cool slightly. Puree in a blender approximately 2 minutes or until smooth.

6. Pass sauce through a fine strainer to create a smoother texture. Use a rubber spatula to help push the sauce through. Stir in vinegar.

Note: The pepperoni sauce can be made in advance and refrigerated up to 3 days. Reheat sauce before serving.

Per serving: 86 calories, 4 g protein, 1 g carbohydrates, 7 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 15 mg cholesterol, 313 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 77%

Pan-Roasted Cabbage

Makes 6 servings


2 Tbsp canola oil

1/2 cup shallots, diced small

1 cup pepperoni, diced small

4 cups thinly sliced savoy cabbage

1 Tbsp white wine vinegar

1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp finely chopped parsley


1. Heat canola oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add shallots and sweat approximately 3 to 4 minutes until soft and translucent, stirring occasionally. Add pepperoni and continue cooking 3 minutes.

2. Add cabbage and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted (approximately 10 minutes).

3. Just before serving, add vinegar, olive oil, and parsley.

Per serving: 275 calories, 10 g protein, 7 g carbohydrate, 24 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 39 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 631 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 76%

Pumpkin Risotto

In winter, Isabella reaches for in-season veggies like pumpkin, mushrooms, and squash. And he offers this prep tip from his grandmother: "You have to put love into it, and always stir in one motion in the same circle. My grandmother always told me that when you constantly stir it in one motion, it cooks evenly, and it gets creamy and rich."

Makes 6 servings


2 Tbsp unsalted butter

1/2 cup white onion, diced small

1 cup carnaroli rice

3 cups simmering hot water

1/4 cup plain (no spices or flavoring added) pumpkin puree, canned

1/4 cup shredded or grated, Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted

2 Tbsp finely chopped chives

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