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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Homemade SpaghettiO’s With Meatballs

Homemade SpaghettiO's (1)

What’s better than reliving one of your favorite childhood meals. You know the one I’m talking about, SpaghettiO’s with meatballs! Well, I’ve recreated a Homemade SpaghettiO’s With Meatballs for you and its super easy to make.

Making homemade sauce and meatballs takes this to dish to a grown-up level that will definitely surprise you, guests. I have a couple of secret ingredients for the meatballs that are going to blow your mind!

Let’s start by making the meatballs and getting them into the oven before working on the sauce.

Normally I wouldn’t use a store-bought basil pesto however, in this instance, I’m using it as one of the ingredients for my meatballs. If you’re going to go this route, buy the basil pesto you get from the refrigerated section of the grocery store, rather than the jarred version. In some of my earlier posts I’ve mentioned using basil pesto in meatballs really elevates the flavor, and when you think about it, they’re really ingredients you would most likely add to the meatball mixture anyway.

When making the mixture for the ground meat, you want to start with the flavorings in a bowl first. The mixture needs to have the consistency of wet sand.

Next, you’ll add your choice of ground meat and combine. I use a fork to slowly combine the wet flavoring mixture to the ground meat. Keep the ground meat as loose as possible, do not over mix. This will ensure you’ll have super tender meatballs.

Below are three “portion scoops” or cookie scoops. The one in the middle one is around a 2-ounce scoop and is perfect for my mini meatballs. Relative to half the size of a gold ball.

ice cream soops.jpg

 

Equipment: 2 baking sheets, lined with parchment paper, 2 6-quart saucepots, cookie scoop
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Yields: 6 servings

Ingredients For Meatballs: Yields 48 meatballs
2 pounds (your choice of ) ground meat, chicken, turkey, pork, beef, or veal.
2 extra large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup half-and-half, room temperature
1/4 cup water, room temperature
1/4 cup Ricotta cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup of a fresh store-bought basil pesto
5 dashes Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons ketchup
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese. (grated Parmesan cheese is fine too)
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 heaping tablespoons dried parsley flakes (finely chop and use double this amount of fresh)
1 to 1 1/2 cups of  Italian bread crumbs (you want the consistency of wet sand)
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Ingredients For Sauce:
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 15-ounce can of fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 large onion diced
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup unsalted chicken stock
3 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, basil sprigs for garnish
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese, for cooked pasta
2 packages of la Molisana pasta

Directions For Meatballs:
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and spray them both with non- stick cooking spray.
Start by placing all the flavorings for the meatballs into a large mixing bowl. When blending in the bread crumbs, start with 1 cup, add an additional 1/2 cup if needed. The finished consistency should look like (and have the texture of) wet sand.

Add in the (your choice of) ground meat. Using a fork to combine the flavorings and meat together, do not over mix.

NOTE: If the ground meat starts to stick to the ice cream scoop, spray with a little non- stick cooking spray and the meat will release easier.

Scoop the meat mixture into your hands, roll into balls, then place the meatballs on the greased parchment paper lined baking sheets. Each baking sheet should hold 24 meatballs. For nice golden brown meatballs, spray the tops of the meatballs with a little non-stick cooking spray. Bake for 45 minutes.

Directions For Sauce:
While the meatballs are in the oven, start the sauce. On med-high heat add the olive oil to a heavy bottom pot. Add in the onions, cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until translucent. Add the minced garlic, Kosher salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, oregano, basil, brown sugar, and tomato paste. Cook for 2 minutes. Next, add the chicken stock. Let the stock come up to a bubble and reduce by half. Once the stock has reduced, add in the tomato products. Turn the heat down to med-low and let simmer until the meatballs come out of the oven.

After the meatballs come out of the oven, add them to the sauce. Simmer the sauce for another 45 minutes.

Cook 2 packages of the pasta according to the directions. In a large serving bowl, add the well-drained cooked pasta. Add 1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and toss through. Ladle the sauce with meatballs over the pasta and toss through. Add fresh basil leaves.

Serve up table side into individual bowls. Garnish each bowl with sprigs of fresh basil. Have extra cheese on hand for your guests.

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Linguine And Meatballs

Spaghetti And Meatballs

It’s cold outside so I thought this dish would hit the spot. The secret ingredient I add to my meatballs is fresh basil pesto. Think about it, all the ingredients that you would add to your meatballs are the same ones in fresh pesto right? It just stands to reason to add one ingredient instead of all those individual ones.

 

 

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Grilled Chicken Caprese Tarts

Grilled Chicken Caprese Tarts

 

Puff Pastry.jpg

My Grilled Chicken Caprese Tarts were inspired by remembering my grandmother’s Caprese salad. She used tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, and a little balsamic vinegar. I thought I’m going to take that idea a step further.

I’ve found the grocery store offers a lot of great products that make life in the kitchen easy and fun. Puff Pastry is definitely one of those items that’s a staple in my house. Puff Pastry is available in the frozen section of the grocery store. If you plan on using Puff Pastry for any recipe, transfer the box to the refrigerator the night before. The dough needs to stay cold until your ready to use it. All you need to do after that is to follow the directions on the box.

Grilled Chicken Caprese Tarts

Yields: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Equipment: 6-inch plate, rolling pin, 2 rimmed baking sheet pans, indoor grill pan

Ingredients:
1 package (using 1 sheet) of Puff Pastry, cut into 4 6-inch circles, 1/4-inch thick
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, *butterflied (Yields 4 chicken breast cutlets)
3 vine ripe tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1/2 a red onion, thinly sliced into half moons
1 cup of fresh basil leaves
4 tablespoons of your favorite store-bought fresh-made basil pesto (usually found in the refrigerated section)
1 8-ounce package of fresh mozzarella, sliced 1/4-inch thick
8 tablespoons of good olive oil
2 tablespoons of kosher salt, to season the tarts
2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper, to season the tarts
a good balsamic vinegar, to drizzle before serving (optional)

Directions:
Preheat oven 400-degrees F.

Directions For Chicken:
Preheat an indoor grill pan on high heat for 2-3 minutes.
To start, *butterfly the two chicken breasts. Lay the 4 chicken breasts out onto a plastic cutting board.

Pat with a paper towel all four chicken breast cutlets completely dry. drizzle both sides with olive oil and season with Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste.  Reduce the heat to medium-high heat. Place the chicken on the indoor grill pan in a single layer and spaced out (depending on the number of chicken breasts you’re cooking), depending on the surface area of your grill pan.

Grill 4 minutes per side. Test if the chicken breasts are done using an instant-read thermometer. Internal temperature needs to read 165-degrees F. Transfer the chicken to a clean serving plate, cover with foil to stay warm.

Line 2 rimmed baking sheet pans with parchment paper.
While your chicken is grilling, dust a flat surface with all-purpose flour. Roll out one sheet of Puff Pastry to a 1/4-inch thick. Using a 6-inch plate and a paring knife, cut out 4 circles.  Place two circles of pastry on each sheet pan.

Using the paring knife again, score a margin a 1/4-inch from the outside of each circle. This will allow the outside of the circles to puff up slightly and give a tart-like look to the pastry. Take a fork and prick the inside of the circles. This will allow steam to escape and the center of the pastry circles will lay flat.

Arrange the tomatoes, sliced red onion, and mozzarella slices in the center of each tart. Sprinkle Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper over each tart. Drizzle each tart with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

Brush the outer rims with *egg wash.

Follow the cooking instructions on the Puff Pastry box. Usually bakes for 15 minutes. While tarts are baking, slice the chicken on the bias. Transfer the sliced chicken to a mixing bowl. Add the basil pesto and toss to combine.

Once the tarts come out of the oven, add the pesto marinated sliced chicken evenly divided over the top of each tart. The heat of the tarts will warm up the basil and it will smell so good.  Finally, a few freshly torn basil leaves over the top.

This recipe could easily be a vegetarian dish.
Serve hot.

*Egg Wash: 1 beaten egg whisked together with one tablespoon of water or milk.

*Butterfly Chicken Breasts. Place the chicken breast on a plastic cutting board and, with your hand flat on top of it, use a sharp knife to slice into one side of the breast, starting at the thicker end and ending at the thin point. Open out the breast so it resembles a butterfly. Where the breast meets at the center, (open book-like piece of chicken), slice down the center giving you two equal breast pieces, 1/2-inch thick.

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