It is the Thursday before the last day of school before my kids are on winter break. That, in itself, is enough to celebrate. But it also means that tonight is their school Christmas Program. This will be our 8th year, and we will once again squeeze ourselves into the lovely church, straining to get a brief look at our kids as they belt out their songs, and maybe sometimes only catching a glimpse of them as they walk up to the stage. Are binoculars inappropriate? Perhaps a pair of opera glasses. Before I send them off to stand confidently in front of hundreds of people and perform, a good hearty meal will be had.
3/4 lb veal shoulder, ground or chopped
3 cups chopped crimini mushrooms
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp flour
1/4 cup madeira
1 1/4 cups veal stock
pinch dried thyme
1 bay leaf
2 tsp tomato paste
1 tbsp chopped capers
1 lb fresh shell shaped pasta
An idea from a video a friend sent to me, I decided to use a large heavy cleaver to hand chop the veal shoulder instead of grinding it. I first cut the veal into small pieces and then chopped it finely with the cleaver. A fine way to also get some aggression out, should you need to do so. Saute the veal in a little olive oil over medium high heat until it is well browned. Add in the onions and then the mushrooms, bay leaf and thyme. Saute until mushrooms and onions are quite softened. Add in the tomato paste and then the flour and stir to combine well. Deglaze with the madeira and then add in the veal stock. I tasted it and it needed a little something, so I decided to add the capers. Let simmer for about 20 minutes.
Cook the pasta and add the pasta to the sauce and stir together. Serve with freshly grated Manchego cheese. The pasta.... delicious. The singing ignites the Christmas spirit.