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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Taste The Love

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 your guests. I’m also adding a couple of secret ingredients to 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.

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The first secret ingredient for my meatballs is fresh basil pesto. 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 add basil pesto to your meatballs, look for the fresh pesto that’s kept in the refrigerated section of the grocery store, rather than the jarred variety.

In some of my earlier posts, I’ve mentioned using basil pesto in my meatball recipes and it really elevates the flavor. When you think about it, they’re really ingredients you would most likely add to your meatball recipe.

The second secret ingredient I’m using is whole milk ricotta cheese. Ricotta doesn’t add any noticeable flavor but it definitely acts as a tenderizer.

Note:
Anytime you want to make meatballs start with the flavorings in a large mixing bowl first. You want the flavoring mixture 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” better-known as cookie/ice cream scoops. The cookie-dough scoop in the middle is equivalent to 1 1/2 tablespoons and perfect for my mini meatballs. Relatively speaking that’s half the size of a golf ball.

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Homemade SpaghettiO's (2)

Homemade SpaghettiO's (1)

 

 

 

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

Ingredients For Meatballs: Yields 48 meatballs
2 pounds ground pork, substitute ground beef, chicken, or turkey
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 Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/4 cup of Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 to 1 1/2 cups of Italian breadcrumbs, Italian-style
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground 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 chicken stock, unsalted
3 tablespoons fresh basil leaves,  reserve extra sprigs of basil for garnish
1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated for the cooked pasta
2 (1-pound) 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 the (your choice of) ground chicken. 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 medium-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.

In a large stockpot of boiling salted water add the pasta. Cook according to the directions on the package. 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 tableside into individual porcelain pasta bowls. Garnish each bowl with sprigs of fresh basil. Have extra cheese on hand for your guests. There you have it my Homemade SpaghettiO’s With Meatballs.

This meatball and tomato sauce recipe works with any style of pasta you choose.

Linguine With Meatballs

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Cheese Ravioli Lasagna In A Tomato Basil Meat Sauce

Check out my new twist on a classic.

Let's Dish

 

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Is it crazy to imagine taking a classic dish like lasagna and shaking it up a bit, right? What about taking a little help from your local grocery store. A great start is by purchasing a really good jarred sauce and making it taste as if you made it from scratch. This sauce will taste likes its been simmering on the stove all day.

The other ingredient I’m going to be using for this dish is a good quality store-bought cheese ravioli. They’re found in the freezer section of the grocery store. My favorite is the mini cheese ravioli.

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I’m utilizing each one of my fresh herbs, from my Organic Hanging Herb Garden, and incorporating them into my dishes. I’m highlighting sweet basil in my Cheese Ravioli Lasagna In A Tomato Basil Meat Sauce.

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Tomato Basil Meat Sauce

Tomato Basil Meat Sauce

Cheese Ravioli

8 X 11 Baking Dish

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Cheese Ravioli Lasagna (3)

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 3 to 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Yields: 8 to 10 servings
Equipment: 1 (9 x 13) baking dish, 2 (6-quart) saucepots, slotted spoon colander, a rimmed baking sheet pan, mini food processor or Microplane

Ingredients:
4 tablespoons of olive oil
2 pounds (90% lean) ground sirloin
1 large onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1/4 cup of light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
2 (24-ounce) jars of Rao’s Marinara Sauce, tomato basil variety
2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup of chicken stock, unsalted
2 (1 pound 6-ounce) packages of frozen mini cheese ravioli
1 cup of fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
3/4 cup of Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped (reserve 1/4 cup for the top)
2 packages of shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated

Directions:
In a large saucepot over medium-high heat add olive. Add diced onions 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, red pepper flakes, dried oregano, and light brown sugar. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Next, add the chicken stock, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for another 2 to 3 minutes reducing the liquid by half.

Reduce the heat to low, add both jars of tomato basil sauce. Simmer for another 15 minutes. Turn the heat to off, add the finely chopped fresh basil leaves, stir to combine.

In another saucepot over medium-high heat add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the ground sirloin, 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper. Using a wooden spoon, break up the ground meat, stirring frequently. Add fresh thyme continue to cook until the sirloin is no longer pink and cooked through, about 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer the cooked sirloin, using a slotted spoon, to the containing the tomato sauce.

While the sauce is simmering have a large pot of salted boiling water ready. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to prevent the ravioli from sticking. Let cook just under the required time on the package, about 5 minutes. They’ll continue their cooking during the baking process. Drain the ravioli. Rinse under cool water to stop the cooking process, then drain well.

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
Start by ladling around 1 1/2 cups of the tomato basil sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. Next, arrange the mini ravioli in the dish covering all of the sauce. Then add the 1 package of shredded Mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup of the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano covering all the ravioli. Sprinkle with half of the finely chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley. Top with another layer of the tomato basil sauce. Repeat this process one more time. You want to the shredded Mozzarella and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano end up on top. Finally, sprinkle the rest of the finely chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley over the cheese.

Spray the underside (dull side) of the foil with non-stick cooking spray and cover the dish tightly. This will prevent the cheese from sticking to the foil. Place the baking dish on top of a sheet pan. Bake covered for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake uncovered for another 10 or until the top is golden brown.

Let the baking dish rest for at least 15 minutes to set, before cutting.  Serve with fresh basil leaves.

Note:
What’s great about this recipe is you can prepare everything in advance. All you need to do is to prepare the sauce and the cheese ravioli. Layer all the ingredients into the baking dish. Allow enough time for the dish to come to room temperature. Spray off the dull side of the foil with non-stick cooking spray before tightly wrapping the baking dish. That will prevent the cheese from sticking to the foil in the baking process.

Transfer the whole covered dish into the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake. I recommend no more than two days. If it’s been previously refrigerated, the baking time will vary (may take 45 to 50 minutes or until golden and bubbly).

My Organic Hanging Herb Garden

1 Comment »

Cabbage Soup

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Cabbage Soup has to be one of my very favorites when it comes to food for the soul. I believe, if you’re a fan of stuffed cabbage, you’ll love this soup.

I’m using Savoy cabbage (green cabbage is fine as well) and a 90% lean ground sirloin which makes for a healthier and better-tasting soup.

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Yields: 6 servings
Equipment: 6-quart stockpot, chef’s knife

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 1/2 pounds of lean ground sirloin
5 cups of Savoy cabbage, core removed and chopped (substitute green cabbage)
1 cup of onions, diced
1 cup of carrots, diced
2 bay leaves
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
1 tablespoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 cup of white rice, (Sucess rice Boil-in-a-Bag), remove from the bag
2 quarts of chicken stock, unsalted
2 cups of good tomato juice
Homemade Ciabatta Croutons for garnish
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated for garnish

Directions:
Start by prepping all the vegetables going into the soup. This includes cabbage, carrots, garlic, and onions.

In a large stockpot over medium-high heat add olive and the ground sirloin. Using a wooden spoon begin breaking up the meat. Add Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, red pepper flakes, and tomato paste. Cook, stirring frequently, for 7 to 10 minutes or until meat is no longer pink.

Next, add the diced onions and minced garlic. Continue cooking, add the diced carrots, cook together for another 5 minutes. Throw in 2 bay leaves stir to combine.

Add the chicken stock. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up any bits that may be stuck to the bottom of the pot. Lower the heat to medium, slowly add the chopped Savoy cabbage. Using the wooden spoon to push the cabbage down into the liquid.

As the Savoy cabbage softens and wilts into the chicken stock, add the rice. Simmer (adjust the heat, to medium-low if needed, to a slow simmer) for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.

Finally, add the tomato juice, stir to combine. Turn the heat off, remove the bay leaves, and cover. Wait 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with Homemade Ciabatta Croutons and freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

Homemade Ciabatta Croutons

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