WITH Christmas gatherings having to be reduced in size in compliance with social distancing and other health protocols, the usual Christmas fare may be too complicated to make. But since this year has been extraordinary in so many ways, why not try something different?

“Why not go Italian?” asks Chef Jade Christopher Lee of the De La Salle-College of Saint

Benilde. Lee suggests the hearty flavors of Chicken and Sausage Ragu and the decadence of Christmas Semifreddo this season of sharing.

“As one of the most recognized, popular and favorite cuisines in the world, it guarantees a smile for everyone. The ingredients can be easily acquired while supporting local farmers and small entrepreneurs,” he said.


(Serves four to six)



200 gm fresh pork sausage, removed from casing

1 chopped red onion

2 chopped garlic cloves

1 tsp paprika

80 gm chopped sundried tomatoes

600 gm skinless and boneless chicken thighs

400 gm canned chopped tomatoes

100 ml stock

2 tbsp calamansi juice

500 gm dried pasta (penne, rigatoni, fusilli, etc.)


1. If using dried sundried tomatoes, soak them in warm water for a few minutes. If using sundried tomatoes in oil, drain the oil.

2. Fry the sausage over medium heat in a saucepan until the fat renders and the meat browns.

3. Add the onion and garlic and fry for three to five minutes.

4. Stir in the sundried tomatoes and paprika.

5. Add chicken to the pan and fry for two to three minutes on each side to brown.

6. Add chopped tomatoes and stock, lower the heat, cover, and cook for 20 to 30 minutes until the chicken starts to fall apart and the sauce becomes thick.

7. Add calamansi juice and adjust seasoning with salt.

8. Boil a pot of water, add salt, and cook the pasta until al dente or as prescribed by the packaging. Drain the pasta once cooked.

9. Add cooked pasta to the sauce, mix, and serve.


(Serves four to six)


4 egg yolks

2 egg whites

75 gm sugar

250 gm cream cheese

100 gm assorted and chopped candied fruit

250 ml cream

15 ml cherry liqueur (optional)

6 to 8 slices fruit cake or panettone (Italian fruit cake)


1. Whisk yolks and sugar in a bowl over a pan of simmering water until the mixture becomes thick and creamy. Set aside and let it cool for about 10 minutes.

2. Beat cream cheese and cream together then stir into the yolk mixture.

3. Whisk egg whites until soft peaks and fold into the cream/yolk mixture and the candied fruit.

4. Line a loaf pan with cling film. Brush liqueur over the fruit cake slices.

5. Line the bottom of the loaf pan with fruitcake slices and pour half of the cream mixture, add another layer of fruitcake, the rest of the cream mixture, and finally the last layer of fruit cake.

6. Freeze for at least three to five hours. Remove from the freezer, unmold on a serving platter, and serve immediately.