There are two traditional feasts that Filipino families often look forward to during Christmastime: the Christmas Eve Noche Buena and the one that follows on the 25th itself, which is often held as part of a festive family reunion. Either way, expect those in charge of preparing the dishes to pull out all the stops to serve the most delectable food on the table for everyone to enjoy.
And if that happens to be you, chances are high that you already have some recipes in mind to make each of these feasts a gastronomic delight to remember. They might even be all-time family favorites, or even hand-me-downs from your great-great grandparents. Having said that, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to learn a few more recipes just to keep things fresh and put something different on the table for Christmas. Two that are guaranteed to make you look like Master Chef are Meatballs in Black Truffle Sauce and Three-Cheese Truffle Macaroni and Cheese.
The recipes are as follows:
• 2 slices white bread crusts removed, broken into pieces
• scant 2/3 cup whole milk
• 2 1/4 cups finely minced ground beef (or a mixture of meats, such as pork, chicken or turkey)
• 1/2 cup meat pâté
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• Plain all-purpose flour, for dusting
• Olive oil for frying
FOR THE BLACK TRUFFLE SAUCE
• 1 tablespoon + 2 tsp butter
• A drizzle of olive oil
• 1 bunch spring onions scallions, finely chopped
• 1 carrot finely chopped
• 1 heaped cup button or oyster mushrooms finely chopped
• 3 1/2 tablespoon plain all-purpose flour
• 1/4 cup white wine
• 2 cups beef chicken or vegetable stock
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
• 1/2 cup double heavy cream
• 1/2 teaspoon Umbria Black Truffle Sauce
1. Place the bread in a bowl and pour over the milk. Set aside to soak.
2. In a separate bowl, mix together the meat and the pâté. Add the soaked bread and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix until smooth and well combined. Form meatballs by rolling walnut-sized pieces of the mixture between your hands. They should be about 1oz each. Dust the meatballs in flour.
3. Heat some oil in a shallow pan over a medium-high heat and fry the meatballs just until they are golden. Do not overcook at this stage as we are going to finish them in the sauce. Set aside.
4. To make the sauce, heat the butter and olive oil in a pan over a medium-low heat and add the finely chopped spring onions, carrot and mushrooms. Cook for about 10 minutes, until the onion is transparent. Reduce the temperature to low and add the flour to the pan, stirring with a wooden spoon to make a roux. Cook for about 4 minutes and then add the wine, continuing to stir until you get a paste and the alcohol has evaporated, then add the stock with the salt and rosemary. Keep stirring and cooking until the sauce thickens, then add the cream, stirring so that the mixture doesn’t split or curdle. Add the meatballs to the sauce and cook for a further 5 minutes.
5. Put Umbria Black Truffle Sauce into the sauce, mix and fold and serve hot.
Three-Cheese Truffle Macaroni and Cheese
1 tablespoon butter, divided
1 cup mushroom (75 g), sliced
1 pinch salt
1 pinch pepper
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk (240 mL)
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese (110 g)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (100 g)
2 cups shell pasta (400 g), cooked
½ teaspoon Umbria truffle oil
1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped
1. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, salt, and pepper and cook until the mushrooms are softened. Remove from the pot.
2. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and the flour to the pot. Whisk until the flour is toasted, approximately 2 minutes.
3. Add the milk while whisking continuously to avoid lumps. Cook until the sauce is thickened.
4. Whisk in the Parmesan and cheddar cheeses and season with salt and pepper.
5. Add the cooked pasta and mushrooms. Mix until the sauce coats the pasta well.
6. Top with Umbria truffle oil, fold and add chives.
Of course, it’s understandable that you’d stop at nothing to make these year’s Christmas celebrations as grand as possible. After all, last year’s Holidays were mostly muted due to the pandemic. Now, the scourge that is COVID-19 is still here, but the country is showing signs of recovery and the quarantine restrictions are easing as a result.
However, that doesn’t mean you and your family should be letting your guard down. Rather, continue to be vigilant even as you think of ways to gather everyone this Christmastime—ideally, sharing some sumptuous Meatballs in Umbria Black Truffle Sauce and servings of mouthwatering Three-Cheese Umbria White Truffle Macaroni and Cheese.