Tag Archives: Italian

Classic Spaghetti & Meatballs

15 Apr
2014-04-09 17.59.35

I had a pretty picture all set up of the beautiful sauce & meatballs sitting on top of the spaghetti with cheese and then I promptly forgot about the picture and ate it instead. So here’s my half-eaten plate of spaghetti & meatballs!

I don’t know what it is about spaghetti and meatballs that’s so fun. It always just looks so delicious and comforting. Now I typically just make spaghetti with meat sauce, but every once in a while I like to mix it up a bit and do meatballs instead. These meatballs are super easy to make and have a great flavor from using a 50/50 mixture of ground pork and ground beef. And the spaghetti sauce is killer too. This whole recipe will probably take close to 2 hours to make, but most of that is for the sauce to simmer. Well worth the time I say.

2014-04-09 16.23.25

For the Meatballs:

  • ¾ pound ground pork
  • ¾ pound ground beef
  • 1 Tablespoon onion, minced
  • ½ teaspoon parsley
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 1-1½ cups Italian seasoned breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 450°F.

In a large mixing bowl add the meats and blend together with your hands. Add the onion, parsley, pepper, and garlic salt. Mix again with your hands until the seasonings are well blended with the meat. Add the eggs and while mixing, add in the bread crumbs ½ cup at a time (up to 1½ cups) until the meat begins to feel slightly firm.

Form the meat into 1½” balls with your hands and place on a baking sheet so the meatballs are close but not touching. Bake for 10 minutes or until browned. The meatballs will not be fully cooked.  (Start sauce while meatballs are cooking).

Adapted from Food.com

For the Sauce:

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
  • 1½ teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼-½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ fresh ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • 1 pound spaghetti noodles

In a large, heavy stockpot, cook the onions in olive oil until softened. Add garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Add basil, parsley, brown sugar, salt, crushed red pepper, and black pepper. Stir well and bring to a simmer. Stir in red wine & meatballs.

Simmer on low, stirring occasionally for at least an hour. About 10-15 minutes before sauce is ready, cook spaghetti noodles.

Spoon sauce and meatballs over drained spaghetti and sprinkle with fresh Parmesan cheese.

Adapted from Food.com


Quick Spinach Alfredo Lasagna

25 Oct

This was another incredibly delicious, fast meal from my America’s Test Kitchen Quick Family Cookbook. I ended up subbing gouda cheese for fontina because they didn’t have it at the grocery store. I also omitted the porcini mushrooms because I couldn’t find those either. Be sure to let it cool a bit otherwise it’ll be a tad runny. This was especially delicious as leftovers the next day!

spinach lasagna


  • 1 (15-ounce) jar Alfredo sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 10 ounces frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed dry, and chopped fine
  • 1 tomato, cored and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 4 ounces fontina cheese, shredded (1 cup)
  • 1/8 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed and minced
  • 4 ounces (½ cup) ricotta cheese (do not use low-fat or nonfat ricotta here)
  • 6 no-boil lasagna noodles


1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Grease 8-inch square baking dish with vegetable oil spray.

2. Combine Alfredo sauce, water, spinach, tomato, ½ cup fontina, and mushrooms in bowl until uniform. Gently fold in ricotta, leaving some clumps. Spread ½ cup sauce into prepared baking dish. Lay 2 noodles into dish, and top with 1 1/3 cups sauce. Repeat layering of noodles and sauces two more times.

3. Cover lasagna and microwave until just warmed in center, about 5 minutes. Uncover, top with remaining ½ cup fontina, and bake until cheese is just beginning to brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool slightly and serve.

Quick and Easy Roasted Red Pepper Pasta

14 Jun


What’s that you say? This recipe is quick AND easy? Well okay, I’ll make it then. Seriously… “quick and easy” is my mantra these days and this recipe lived up to its name. Even better was the fact that it tasted great. Because what sense would it make to make something that was quick and easy but made you throw up? None. So make this. It tastes gooder.

Go to Recipe

Creamy Pasta Alfredo

16 Nov

I bought a package of fresh tortellini pasta to have on hand for a quick weeknight meal. Last night after looking at my 10 year old packets of alfredo sauce mix, I decided to just make the sauce from scratch. I don’t typically keep heavy cream on hand which is a common staple in alfredo sauce recipes. Luckily I found this one that uses milk thickened with a roux. Add a bit of parmesan cheese and voila! Alfredo sauce! To give you an idea of how much it makes, I used a 20 oz. package of pasta and doubled this sauce recipe.

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Orchiette Pasta with Wild Mushroom Cream Sauce

17 Sep

So… I sort of changed this recipe a bit to accommodate what I had. Now I know pasta all basically tastes the same and mainly comes in different shapes to suit different types of sauces. Well the other day I saw some Campanelle pasta at the store and it was so pretty I had to buy it. It looks like little flower buds to me. So, that’s what I used for this recipe. I also had a combination of button mushrooms and baby Portobellas leftover from other recipes so I used those instead of wild mushrooms. I also didn’t use any onions or chives because I was fresh out of those. But everything else I did the same. Ok so the recipe I made was totally different. But how can you go wrong with mushrooms, cream, pasta, and thyme? You can’t.

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Meatless Muffaletta Panini

9 Sep

This week I broke out my Rachael Ray cookbook. While I’m not a huge fan of Rachael and her many signature cutesy words (sammies, evoo), her recipes are generally pretty good. I decided to try out this recipe just for the fact that I love regular muffaletta sandwiches and figured this meatless version would be equally delicious. My instincts served me well as both Seth and I really liked these. For the record, I used some large white rolls instead of the Kaisers (like I know what those are) and only one piece of cheese… but feel free to follow the recipe as written.


  • 2 handfuls of good-quality pitted green and black olives
  • 1 cup giardiniera (pickled cauliflower, carrot, and hot pepper mix), drained
  • 4 sesame or cornmeal kaiser rolls, split
  • 8 deli slices sharp Provolone cheese
  • 1 (15-ounce) can artichoke hearts in water, drained and thinly sliced
  • 2 roasted red peppers, drained and thinly sliced
  1. Preheat a griddle or a grill pan over medium-high heat, or prepare a Panini press (I used the George Forman grill).
  2. Place the olives and pickled veggies in a food processor and pulse or chop them into a relish. Divide the relish among the bottom halves of the sandwich rolls and top it with a single slice of cheese. Layer the sliced artichokes and the peppers onto the cheese, then add another slice of Provolone to each sandwich and press the tops in place.
  3. Place the sandwiches on the griddle or grill pan and press them with a heavy skillet weighted down with cans, or place them in the Panini press. Press the sandwiches for a few minutes on each side, then cut into halves and serve.

4 servings

From: Rachael Ray 2, 4, 6, 8: Great Meals for Couples or Crowds


Baked Ziti with Tomatoes and Mozzarella

18 Feb

When planning my meals for this week I wanted to make a few from my America’s Test Kitchen cookbook and I also wanted a quick meal. This is one of the recipes that struck my fancy and turned out to be everything I’d wanted. This was super easy to make and made A TON! Great option to feed a crowd!

Baked Ziti with Tomatoes and Mozzarella

  • 1 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • Salt
  • 1 lb. ziti or penne
  • 8 oz. mozzarella, shredded (2 c.)
  • ¼ c. grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 400°F. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot for the pasta.

Meanwhile, cook the oil and garlic in a skillet over medium heat, stirring often until the garlic is fragrant but not browned, about 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, with their juice. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened slightly, about 15 minutes. Stir in the basil, salt, and sugar.

When the pasta water is boiling, stir in 1 tablespoon salt and pasta. Cook until almost tender, but still with a bite. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta water, drain the ziti, and return to pot. Add tomato sauce and pasta water, as needed, to loosen the sauce. Spread half the pasta in an oiled 9×13 baking dish. Sprinkle with half the mozzarella and half of the parmesan cheese. Repeat. Sprinkle fresh basil on top, if desired.

Bake until cheeses turn golden brown, about 20 minutes.

From: The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

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