Pasta Feed

Easy Drop Meatballs In Marinara Sauce

Drop Meatballs in Marinara Sauce Spaghetti

 

This quick and easy meatball recipe from Cook’s Country utilizes a few shortcuts that make it an easy recipe for weeknight cooking.  Their technique of simmering the meatballs in the tomato sauce in the ambient heat of the oven cooks them evenly without requiring stirring all while infusing the sauce with great flavor. Using saltines in place of fresh bread gets rid of some of the moisture, making the meatballs less gummy. Perfect over spaghetti.

Download EASY DROP MEATBALLS IN MARINARA SAUCE

 

GATHER YOUR INGREDIENTS

Meatballs

22 square saltines

1 cup milk

2 pounds 85 percent lean ground beef

2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (1 cup)

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

Sauce

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

10 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes

Salt and pepper

3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

NOTE: You can use a #16 portion scoop to form the meatballs. To make shaping easier, wet your hands slightly. The recipe yields enough sauce for 2 pounds of pasta. To serve, toss the pasta with some sauce and top it with the meatballs.

INSTRUCTIONS:

FOR THE MEATBALLS:

  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Place saltines in large zipper-lock bag, seal bag, and crush saltines fine with rolling pin (you should have 1 cup). Combine saltines and milk in large bowl and let sit for 5 minutes for saltines to soften. Mash with fork until smooth paste forms.
  2. Add beef, Parmesan, garlic powder, oregano, salt, and pepper to saltine mixture and mix with your hands until thoroughly combined. Divide meat mixture into 24 scant ¼-cup portions. Roll portions between your wet hands to form balls. Transfer to plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to use. (Meatballs can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours.)

FOR THE SAUCE:

  1. Combine oil and garlic in large Dutch oven. Cook over low heat until garlic is soft and golden on all sides, 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes and 1 teaspoon salt. Nestle meatballs into sauce. Bring to simmer over medium-high heat.
  2. Cover and bake until meatballs are cooked through and tender, about 40 minutes. Let cool, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Gently stir in basil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

Drop Meatballs in Marinara Sauce

 


Easy Fresh Summer Tomato Pasta Caprese

Fresh Summer Pasta Caprese

 I try to make this recipe (which I found years ago in a Cook’s Illustrated magazine) every summer when tomatoes are in peak season. Inspired by the classic caprese salad, this pasta uses just a few ingredients that depends on high quality ingredients – ripe tomatoes, great olive oil, and fresh buffalo mozzarella.

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 - 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, more if needed depending on tomatoes

1 small garlic clove, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1/2 teaspoon)

1 small shallot, minced fine (about 2 tablespoons)

Salt and ground black pepper

1 ½ pounds ripe tomatoes, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch dice

12 ounces fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 pound penne pasta or other short tubular or curly pasta such as fusilli or campanelle

¼ cup chopped fresh basil

1 teaspoon sugar, if needed, depending on the ripeness of the tomatoes

1. Whisk oil, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, garlic, shallot, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper together in large bowl. Add tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella and gently toss to combine; set aside. Do not marinate for longer than 45 minutes.

2. While tomatoes are marinating, bring 4 quarts water to rolling boil in stockpot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta, stir to separate, and cook until al dente. Drain well.

3. Add pasta to tomato and mozzarella mixture and gently toss to combine. Let stand 5 minutes. Stir in basil; adjust seasonings with salt, pepper, and additional lemon juice or sugar, if desired, and serve immediately.


Quick Loaf Pan Lasagna For Two

Quick Loaf Pan Lasagna serving

Generally, lasagna is reserved for large gatherings, but this scaled down recipe makes a mini version that serves two generous portions. Using jarred tomato sauce saves time, but you can use your favorite homemade if you have it on hand.

Download Quick Loaf Pan Lasagna For Two

1 tablespoon olive oil

8 ounces 85% lean ground beef

2 cups jarred tomato sauce, Rao’s or Muir Glenn, or homemade

4 ounces whole-milk or part-skim ricotta cheese

1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (1/2 cup), plus 2 tablespoons

3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley

1 large egg, lightly beaten

⅛ teaspoon salt

⅛ teaspoon pepper

4 no-boil Barilla lasagna noodles

4 ounces whole-milk mozzarella cheese, shredded (1 cup)

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add ground beef and cook, breaking up meat into small pieces, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes.

3. Stir in tomato sauce and cook until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and set aside.

4. Combine ricotta, 1/2 cup Parmesan, basil, parsley, egg, salt, and pepper in bowl and set aside.

5. Cover bottom of 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch loaf pan with 1/2 cup sauce. Top with 1 noodle and spread one-third of ricotta mixture evenly over noodle. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup mozzarella and cover with 1/2 cup sauce. Repeat twice, beginning with noodle and ending with sauce. Top with remaining 1 noodle, remaining 1 cup sauce, remaining 1/4 cup mozzarella, and remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan.

6. Cover pan tightly with foil sprayed with vegetable oil spray and bake until bubbling around the edges, 25 to 30 minutes. Discard foil and continue to bake until browned, about 10 minutes. Cool on wire rack for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped basil or parsley. Serve.

Quick Loaf Pan Lasagna recipe


Ina Garten’s Quick and Easy Weeknight Bolognese

Ina Garten Weeknight Bolognese plate

This recipe from Ina Garten’s cookbook – How is Easy is That? - gets rave reviews online, but some reason I had yet to make it. I thought that a good Bolognese needed hours to make, but this streamlined version manages to nearly rival the depth and richness of a long-cooked version. It comes together fast, with readily available ingredients, making it an easy at home recipe.

Download Ina Garten’s Quick and Easy Weeknight Bolognese recipe

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound lean ground sirloin (90%)

4 teaspoons minced garlic (4 cloves)

1 tablespoon dried oregano

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1¼ cups dry red wine, divided

1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 pound dried pasta, such as orecchiette or small shells

¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves, lightly packed

¼ cup heavy cream

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground sirloin and cook, crumbling the meat with a wooden spoon. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the meat has lost its pink color and has started to brown. 
  2. Stir in the tomato paste, garlic, oregano, and hot red pepper flakes and cook for one minute. Pour the wine into the skillet and stir to scrape up any browned bits. Add the tomatoes, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, and 1½ teaspoons ground pepper, stirring until combined.  Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of water to a boil, add a tablespoon of salt and the pasta and cook according to the directions on the box.
  4. While the pasta cooks, finish the sauce. Add the nutmeg, chopped basil, cream and add the remaining ¼ cup of wine to the sauce and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. When the pasta is cooked, transfer it with a slotted spoon or sieve to the pan with the sauce, saving the ½ cup of the pasta liquid.  Cook for one minute, adding pasta water, a bit at a time, if necessary to achieve desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot with Parmesan on the side.

Ina Garten Weeknight Bolognese Orchiette Pasta
Ina Garten Weeknight Bolognese Orchiette Pasta
Ina Garten Weeknight Bolognese Orchiette Pasta


Quick Easy Penne alla Vodka

20190821_135806 Penne all vodka

According to Saveur magazine, the origin of this popular Italian dish in still in question – “whether or not this dish of tube-shaped penne pasta lavished with a peppery, vodka-laced cream and tomato sauce was created in Italy is a matter of heated debate in some quarters; some say it was the result of aggressive marketing on the part of vodka importers. Whatever the case, it has become firmly entrenched as an Italian American classic.” This recipe, adapted with minor changes from Cook’s Illustrated, is quick to make and absolutely delicious. It all comes together rather quickly, so have everything prepped and ready to go before you begin the recipe.

Download Quick Easy Penne alla Vodka recipe

INGREDIENTS

1 (28 ounce) can best quality crushed tomatoes (see list here Best Canned Tomatoes)

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ small onion, minced (about 1/3 cup)

1 tablespoon tomato paste

3 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press

½-1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

Table salt

⅓ cup vodka

½ cup heavy cream

1 pound penne pasta

2 tablespoons minced fresh basil leaves

Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

  1. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large Dutch oven over high heat. While the water heats up, add olive oil to a saucepan over medium heat and heat until shimmering. Add onion and tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are light golden around edges, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and pepper flakes; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  2. Stir in tomatoes and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Remove pan from heat and add vodka. Return pan to medium-high heat and simmer briskly until alcohol flavor is cooked off, 8 to 10 minutes; stir frequently and lower heat to medium if simmering becomes too vigorous. Stir in cream and cook until hot, about 1 minute.
  3. While the sauce is simmering, add 1 tablespoon salt to boiling water and add penne pasta. Cook until just shy of al dente (about 9-10 minutes), then drain pasta, reserving 1/4 cup cooking water, and transfer pasta back to Dutch oven. Add sauce to pasta and toss over medium heat until pasta absorbs some of sauce, 1 to 2 minutes, adding reserved cooking water if sauce is too thick. Stir in basil and adjust seasoning with salt. Divide among pasta bowls and serve immediately, passing Parmesan separately.

 


Pasta with Spinach and Fresh Ricotta

Pasta with Spinach and Fresh Ricotta

This is an incredibly easy pasta dish from America’s Test Kitchen that features the classic combination of spinach and ricotta, without the extra work of stuffing shells or ravioli. It makes a great lunch for 4 people, and while the ingredients are simple, it delivers a first class meal. It’s well worth seeking out the best ricotta, or even making homemade ricotta in advance.

Download Pasta with Spinach And Fresh Ricotta Cheese recipe

 

12 ounces (1 ½ cups) Bellwether Farms whole-milk ricotta cheese, or your favorite artisan ricotta

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

1 pound fusilli

1 pound (16 cups) baby spinach, chopped coarse

4 garlic cloves, minced

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper

¼ cup heavy cream

Grated zest of 1 lemon zest, plus 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice

1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (1/2 cup), plus extra for serving

1.Whisk 1 cup ricotta, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl until smooth. You may need to add a little more olive oil to get a smooth consistency; set aside.

2. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring often, until al dente (cooking according to box instructions, usually 11-12 min). Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water. Stir spinach into pot with pasta and cook until wilted, about 30 seconds. Drain pasta and spinach and return them to pot.

3. As the pasta cooks, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil, garlic, nutmeg, and cayenne in saucepan over medium heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove pan from heat and whisk in remaining ricotta, heavy cream, lemon zest and juice, and 3/4 teaspoon salt until smooth; set aside.

4. Add ricotta-cream mixture from step 3 and Parmesan to pasta and toss to combine. Let pasta rest, tossing frequently, until sauce has thickened slightly and coats pasta, 2 to 4 minutes, adjusting consistency with reserved cooking water as needed. Serve the pasta in a wide bowl or plate and add a dollop of the ricotta from step 1. Sprinkle each serving with extra Parmesan, extra lemon zest and a drizzle of high qulaity extra virgin olive oil. 

Chopped spinach1


One Skillet Pasta with Creamy Ricotta Peas and Prosciutto

Pasta prosciutto peas2 

 My sister gave me a great cookbook from Cook’s Illustrated – The Best Skillet Recipes – which I’ve been working my way through. The recipes are always foolproof and are very easy to follow, and this one is no exception. Creamy ricotta and crisp salty prosciutto pair perfectly and the addition of green peas, lemon, and fresh mint brighten the pasta and add great flavor.

1 cup whole made ricotta cheese

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Salt and ground black pepper

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into ¼-inch pieces

1 medium onion, minced

2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press, (about 2 teaspoons)

½ cup dry white wine (optional)

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

2 cups water

1 cup heavy cream

12 ounces (about 4 ½ cups) medium pasta shells

2 cups frozen peas

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces

1 tablespoon juice from 1 lemon

2 tablespoons minced fresh mint leaves

  1. Combine the ricotta, Parmesan, lemon zest, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the prosciutto and cook until well browned and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the prosciutto to a paper towel–lined plate, leaving the oil in the skillet.
  3. Add the onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the oil left in the skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Stir in wine (if using) and simmer for 2 minutes. Stir in the broth, water, and cream, then add the pasta. Increase the heat to high and cook at a vigorous simmer, stirring often, until the pasta is tender and the liquid has thickened, 15 to 18 minutes.
  5. Stir in the peas, butter, and lemon juice and cook until the peas are hot, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Dot heaping tablespoons of the ricotta mixture over the noodles. Cover and let stand off the heat until the cheese warms and softens, 2 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle with the crisp prosciutto and mint and serve.

Fresh Basil Pesto Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes

Pesto pasta 1

This is delicious summertime pasta and works well on its own, or with your favorite Barbecued Chicken or Grilled Fish. I’ve got tons of basil growing in the garden and this is a great way to use it. The addition of mayonnaise helps keep the pesto from separating and turning too oily and the parsley and spinach gives it great flavor and a bright green color.

Download Fresh Basil Pesto Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes

 

½ cup pine nuts, divided

¼ cup walnuts 

2 medium cloves garlic, peeled

Sea Salt 

1 pound pasta (bowtie or penne)

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon

3 cups packed fresh basil leaves (about 4 ounces)

I bunch fresh Italian parsley, leaves only

1 cup baby spinach leaves

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper 

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice from 1 lemon

2/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese 

½ cup mayonnaise 

1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered

 

Instructions

1.    Toast pine nuts in small dry skillet over medium heat, until just beginning to turn golden and fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes.

2.    Bring 4 quarts water to rolling boil in large pot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta to water, stir to separate, and cook until tender (just past al dente), about 11-12 minutes for farfalle. Reserve 1/4 cup cooking water, drain pasta, rinse briefly with cool water to stop cooking process and toss with 1 tablespoon oil, and let rest to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

3.    In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together: walnuts and 1/4 cup of the toasted pine nuts, garlic, basil, parsley, spinach, pepper, lemon juice, remaining 1/3 cup oil, and 1 teaspoon salt in bowl of food processor and process until smooth. Push leaves down and scrape with rubber spatula as needed. Add parmesan cheese and mayonnaise and process until thoroughly combined.

4.    In large bowl combine pasta with pesto sauce; add 1 or 2 tablespoons of reserved pasta water as needed to create smooth sauce and evenly coat pasta. Add remaining pine nuts and tomatoes. Taste for seasoning and add a bit more salt and pepper if needed. Spread pasta on large serving platter and garnish with whole basil leaves.

Pesto ingredients

Basil1


Quick Fresh Summer Tomato Basil Sauce

SPAGHETTI FRESH TOMATO SAUCE

Quick Fresh Summer Tomato Basil Sauce

Nothing beats fresh tomato sauce made with your own (or someone else’s) garden tomatoes. The few simple ingredients combine to make a truly delicious and authentic pasta sauce. This recipe can easily be doubled if you have an abundance of tomatoes, and it freezes really well, so it’s worth making a big batch. Perfect with angel hair, but any favorite pasta can be used. 

Download Quick Fresh Tomato Sauce

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

5-6 cloves garlic , minced

2 pounds ripe red tomatoes (Beefsteak, Roma, or the best you can find), cored, peeled and diced (for easy peeling, just drop tomatoes in boiling water for about 15 seconds)

½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

1/8- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Pinch of sugar, optional

¼ cup chopped fresh basil

Ground black pepper, to taste

1. Stir oil and garlic together in large skillet. Turn heat to medium and cook until garlic is sizzling and fragrant, about 2 minutes, do not let it burn. Stir in tomatoes and 1/2 teaspoon salt and red pepper flakes. Increase to medium high and bring to rapid simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, reducing heat if sauce begins to stick to bottom of pan, until thickened and chunky, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in basil and season with salt and pepper to taste (add a pinch of sugar if the tomatoes are too acidic.

Fresh Tomato Sauce diced

Fresh Tomato Sauce garlic oil simmer

Fresh Tomato Sauce simmer

Fresh Tomato Sauce skillet

Fresh Tomato Sauce freezer container




Pasta with Fresh Pesto and Cherry Tomatoes

Fresh Pesto Pasta Salad 

Pasta with Fresh Pesto and Cherry Tomatoes 

 

This is a great summertime pasta and works well with Barbecued Chicken or Grilled Fish. The mayonnaise helps keep the pesto from turning too oily and the addition of parsley and spinach leaves ensures a bright green color.  

 

Recipe:

3/4 cup pine nuts 

2 medium cloves garlic, peeled

Sea Salt 

1 pound pasta (bowtie or penne)

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 cups packed fresh basil leaves (about 4 ounces)

I bunch fresh Italian parsley, leaves only

1 cup baby spinach leaves

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper 

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice from 1 lemon

2/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese 

5-6 tablespoons mayonnaise 

1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered

 

Instructions

1.    Toast pine nuts in small dry skillet over medium heat, until just beginning to turn golden and fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes. 

 

2.    Bring 4 quarts water to rolling boil in large pot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta to water, stir to separate, and cook until tender (just past al dente), about 11-12 minutes for farfalle. Reserve 1/4 cup cooking water, drain pasta, rinse briefly with cool water to stop cooking process and toss with 1 tablespoon oil, and let rest to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

 

3.    In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together: 1/4 cup of the toasted pine nuts, garlic, basil, parsley, spinach, pepper, lemon juice, remaining 1/3 cup oil, and 1 teaspoon salt in bowl of food processor and process until smooth. Push leaves down and scrape with rubber spatula as needed. Add parmesan cheese and mayonnaise and process until thoroughly combined.

 

4.    In large bowl combine pasta with pesto sauce; add 1 or 2 tablespoons of reserved pasta water as needed to create smooth sauce and evenly coat pasta. Add remaining pine nuts and tomatoes. Taste for seasoning and add a bit more salt and pepper if needed. Spread pasta on large serving platter and garnish with whole basil leaves.