We started having the big family Christmas gathering at my house when I rented my church’s parsonage after my wife and I split. You’d think that holiday hosting duties wouldn’t fall to the newly single guy, but logistically it just made sense. I was pinching pennies thanks to exorbitant lawyer bills, and that first Christmas was mighty lean. It was so lean that I fed everyone spaghetti for Christmas dinner.
I must admit, I really like my homemade spaghetti sauce. I had perfected it through trial and error when I taught myself to cook in my early 20s in my first apartment. But I was surprised when my Christmas spaghetti was a huge hit, and even more surprised the next year when everybody asked me to make it again. My mom has asked for it every year since. Now that money isn’t so tight, I make a bigger and more elaborate Christmas meal – but make spaghetti the night before or the night after. Here’s my recipe.
1 lb. bulk Italian sausage
1 stick pepperoni, cut into chunks
Small onion, diced
30 oz. crushed tomatoes or tomato puree
30 oz. diced tomatoes, drained
12 oz. tomato paste
5 cloves garlic, pressed
2 t basil
2 t oregano
1 t salt
1 t pepper
Brown the sausage with the onion and drain the fat. Add the tomatoes, pepperoni, and spices and simmer until the flavors come together, at least an hour.
As you can see, there’s not much to it, but it sure does taste good. I usually serve it with a salad, steamed broccoli, and warm crusty bread.
What unusual Christmas traditions does your family have?
Another tradition at my house is the Christmas music we play. Johnny Mathis figures heavily into the mix. Read that story.