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Holiday recipe: Festive, classy, cheap!

PAM ANDERSON | 11/12/2010, 6:53 a.m.

USA WEEKEND Food

The budget may not allow for a beef tenderloin or standing-rib roast, but if you're cooking for a crowd this holiday, there just isn't a more celebratory, inexpensive roast than whole pork tenderloin (just $2.09 a pound at my local warehouse store).Stuff and flavor the roast with Italian sausage and seasonings and roast it on a wire rack over diced carrots, celery and onions. Pork drippings and vegetables effortlessly cook into a flavorful base for the pasta and white beans that eventually get stirred in.With a complete meal in the roasting pan, serve Caesar Salad Flatbread Pizzas (from my new book, Perfect One-Dish Dinners) and Honey Ricotta Cheesecake with Chocolate and Orange, all of which prove that a holiday party doesn't have to be pricy.You can substitute two 12-inch thin pizza crusts if you don't have time to make flatbreads.

1 cup light or regular mayonnaise

8 large garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2 tsps. Worcestershire

2 cups bread or white whole-wheat flour, plus extra for dusting

1 tsp. salt

2/3 cup warm water, plus extra if necessary

2 tsps. extra-virgin olive oil

3 Tbs. lemon juice

12 cups shredded hearts of Romaine

3 Tbs. olive oil

Salt and pepper

3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 500 degrees (or adjust oven rack to lower-middle oven and heat oven to 450 for packaged pizza crust). Mix mayonnaise, garlic and Worcestershire in a small bowl; set aside.

Mix flour and salt in a food processor. Mix water and oil and pour over flour mixture; process to form a soft dough ball. If dough is too stiff (hard clay texture), process in another teaspoon or so of water. Continue to process dough until well kneaded, about 15 seconds. With floured hands, turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and cut into sixths. Working one at a time, roll dough to an approximate 12- by 6-inch rectangle, coating with flour and turning as necessary to keep it from sticking. Place, crosswise, on one of two large (18- by 12-inch) parchment, Silpat-lined, or cornmeal coated rimless cookie sheets; repeat with remaining dough to make 5 more flatbreads. Spread all but a generous 1/4 cup of the mayonnaise mixture over dough or crust. Working one sheet at a time, bake until golden brown and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk lemon juice into remaining mayonnaise mixture. Drizzle olive oil over hearts of Romaine, along with a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper in a medium bowl; toss to coat. Add mayonnaise mixture; toss to coat. Add 1/2 cup of the cheese; toss to coat again.

Top warm flatbreads with tossed salad. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Serve immediately, halving each flatbread or cutting each prepared crust into 6 wedges.

YIELD: 12 SERVINGS

PER SERVING: 200 calories, 21 g carbohydrates, 5 g protein, 11 g fat (2 g saturated), 11 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 456 mg sodium1 pound bulk Italian sausage (or removed from casings)

2 large onions, cut into small dice, divided