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updated: 12/21/2011 11:05 AM

Easy, and elegant, Christmas dinner

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  • Easy doesn't mean less elegant. This creamy gorgonzola pasta is ready for the holiday table in 20 minutes.

      Easy doesn't mean less elegant. This creamy gorgonzola pasta is ready for the holiday table in 20 minutes.
    Alicia Ross/Desperation Dinners


This year I'm serving pasta for Christmas dinner. Oh, I know Christmas dinner is a meal that deserves something extraordinary. But I'm so tired from unpacking boxes and dealing with issues in my new space that the idea of standing in the kitchen for hours putting together the perfect "Martha Stewart Dinner for 20" makes me want to crawl in one of those boxes and hide. So I'm skipping the expense and time of the huge roast (and all the trimmings), and I'm boiling some noodles.

Shocking, right? Maybe, but I'm convinced that while we want something rich and amazing, this special holiday meal should be more about spending time with the people we love. And I can do that over a plate of pasta just as well as a standing rib roast.

So Christmas dinner at my house is going to be Penne With Gorgonzola Cream and Cranberries. The mildly sharp, tangy flavor of the Gorgonzola is a perfect foil to the sweet cranberries, and toasted chopped walnuts provide the texture to pull it all together. With a spinach salad and warm toasted garlic bread, we'll be sitting down to dinner in less than 30 minutes.

Maybe your December has been full of something besides planning for the holidays, and you'll appreciate the simple solution of pasta for your Christmas dinner. Let me know what you plan to serve at Merry Christmas!

Suggested menu: Penne With Gorgonzola Cream and Cranberries, spinach salad, toasted garlic bread and Prosecco.

• Beverly Mills and Alicia Ross are co-authors of "Desperation Dinners!" Contact them at Desperation Dinners, c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106, or send e-mail to More at the Desperation Dinners Web site,

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