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Party Perfection: Delicious Tips for Sober Holiday Celebrations

The holidays are a time to celebrate the joys of the season with family and friends.  As you prepare for a new year and a new beginning, it’s important to remember that alcohol and drugs do not need to be a part of the holiday festivities for your celebration to be a success. The most memorable holiday parties have three important ingredients in common:  good company, a welcoming atmosphere and great food.  Check out The Ranch PA Rehab Center’s Head Chef Riley Grothe’s delicious recipe for a cheesy pasta dish that is sure to be a crowd pleaser. Bon Appétit! Baked Penne alla Norma with Tomato Mornay Sauce 2 Medium-sized eggplant (about 1 ½ to 2 lbs.), cut into ¾ inch cubes 1 lb. Whole wheat penne pasta ½ C Whole milk ricotta cheese ½ C Grated parmesan cheese 1/3 lb Fresh mozzarella Olive oil Salt and pepper to taste Sauce 3T Unsalted butter 2T All-purpose flour ½ C Onion, diced 1 C Vegetable broth 1 C Heavy cream 2 C Canned crushed tomatoes 1 C Grated gruyere cheese ½ C Shredded cheddar cheese 1 t Crushed red pepper flakes 1 ½ t Dried basil

  1. In a medium stock pot, bring 3 quarts of salted water to a boil (salt the water to taste). When the water is boiling, add penne and stir. When the pasta is al dente, strain through a colander and put the pasta back into the stock pot, toss with olive oil.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, add the cubed eggplant and season with salt and pepper. Cook the eggplant until soft in the middle and golden on the outside; add the cooked eggplant to the pasta.
  3. To make the sauce, start by melting 3T of unsalted butter over medium heat in a large sauté pan. When the butter is melted, add the onion and cook until tender. Season with salt and pepper. When the onion is cooked, reduce heat to medium-low and whisk in the flour to make a roux.
  4. Let the roux cook for about a minute then add the vegetable broth and whisk. When this starts to boil, add the heavy cream and continue to stir the sauce. Bring the sauce to a boil again and whisk in the grated gruyere and cheddar cheeses. Next, add the crushed tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and dried basil.
  5. Pour the sauce into the stock pot containing the pasta and eggplant and mix all together.
  6. Pour the pasta mixture into a 9 x 13 baking dish and spread the ricotta cheese evenly over the top (it is easiest to do this by hand). Now pull apart the fresh mozzarella and distribute evenly over the pasta as well. Finish by sprinkling the parmesan evenly over everything and put the pan in the oven at 350°F for 30 minutes.
  7. Lastly, turn the broiler on high and place the dish close to the broiler (if not already there). Broil until cheese starts to become golden brown.
  8. Remove from the oven and enjoy!

Whether you are hosting a party of your own or heading out to visit loved ones, it’s important to be comfortable in your surroundings and confident in your choice to abstain from alcohol and drugs. If you need support, consider inviting a guest who is supportive of your recovery. Learning transition strategies for post-recovery success is a key foundation in The Ranch PA Rehab Center’s holistic approach to rehabilitation. The Ranch PA Rehab Center’s dedicated staff understands that recovery is an ongoing process for those struggling with addiction as well as their family and friends and is committed to offering resources and support for life-long success.

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