Patti’s Spaghetti Sauce

 

 

My mom’s wonderful neighbor and friend, Patti, shared this delicious recipe for spaghetti sauce with sausage and pesto. The kind of chorizo sausage used in this one is not the same kind you can find in the grocery stores in the Bay Area of California. It is not the tubes of  chorizo but actually sausage that stays bonded when cooked. At home, I used bratwurst or any kind of yummy sausage. In Canada, you can find the chorizo sausage in the original recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 jar Mezzetta Napa Valley Roasted Garlic and Caramelized Onions
  • 5 Garlic cloves minced
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 8 oz. mushrooms sliced
  • 2 chorizo sausages sliced and cooked
  • Pesto

Directions:

Sauté garlic, onion and mushrooms until tender. Cook sausages. Add all to sauce and simmer approx. 30 minutes. Add pesto to flavor. Serve over noodles of your choice.

 

 

 

 

Ricotta and Mozarella Stuffed Shells

For those that know me, they know that ricotta cheese is not my favorite cheese. Cooked this way, mixed with all sorts of goodness, I like it. This recipe is another one of my vegetarian dishes that the kids will eat. The original recipe was found in the 2012 issue of Food and Wine magazine. It has been modified by me.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion. thinly sliced
  • 12 oz jumbo shells
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 12 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 3 cups marinara sauce (homemade recipe below, or used store bought for simplicity)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In large, deep skillet, melt the butter and oil. Add onion until lightly browned, 15 minutes. Add water as needed to keep from scorching. Set aside and let cool.

Cook pasta shells to al dente, drain, cool under water, and pat dry.

Fold the ricotta, 1 cup of cheese, parsley, and onions and season with salt and pepper. Stir in eggs.

Mix marinara sauce with cream and pour 1 1/2 cups into a 9X13 baking dish. Stuff each shell and nestle close together in the sauce. Drizzle remaining marinara over and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella.

Bake for 40 minutes, until golden. Let rest for 15 minutes.

Marinara Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves halved
  • 1 Tbs tomato paste
  • 1 / 35oz can of whole peeled Italian tomatoes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pinch of sugar
  • 2 fresh basil sprigs

Directions:

Heat oil in large saucepan, add garlic and saute until golden, 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and stir for 1 minute. Add tomatoes and crush with a spoon. Season with salt, pepper, sugar, and basil. Simmer for 30 minute. Makes approx 3 cups.

Chicken Parmesan

 

 

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I made this the other night and my son devoured it like he was a paramedic, it was funny. Our favorite restaurant in Brentwood, Cap’s, serves an outstanding chicken parm and I have tweaked the sauce to resemble there’s. This means I add a bit more sugar while trying to get the delicate salty and sweet balance a chicken parm should have. Recipe is Tyler Florence’s.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted
  • 1/2 bunch fresh basil leaves
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes, drained and hand-crushed ( I uses pureed tomatoes to make this step easier)
  • Pinch sugar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 skinless, boneless, chicken breasts (about 11/2 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 TBS water
  • 1 cup dried bread crumbs
  • 1 (8-ounce) ball fresh buffalo mozzarella, water drained
  • Freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 pound spaghetti pasta, cooked al dente

Directions

Coat a saute pan with olive oil and place over medium heat. When the oil gets hazy, add the onions, garlic, and bay leaves; cook and stir for 5 minutes until fragrant and soft. Add the olives and some hand-torn basil. Carefully add the tomatoes (nothing splashes like tomatoes), cook and stir until the liquid is cooked down and the sauce is thick, about 15 minutes; season with sugar, salt and pepper. Lower the heat, cover, and keep warm.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Get the ingredients together for the chicken so you have a little assembly line. Put the chicken breasts side by side on a cutting board and lay a piece of plastic wrap over them. Pound the chicken breasts with a flat meat mallet, until they are about 1/2-inch thick. Put the flour in a shallow platter and season with a fair amount of salt and pepper; mix with a fork to distribute evenly. In a wide bowl, combine the eggs and water, beat until frothy. Put the bread crumbs on a plate, season with salt and pepper.

Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high flame in a large oven-proof skillet. Lightly dredge both sides of the chicken cutlets in the seasoned flour, and then dip them in the egg wash to coat completely, letting the excess drip off, then dredge in the bread crumbs. When the oil is nice and hot, add the cutlets and fry for 4 minutes on each side until golden and crusty, turning once.

Ladle the tomato-olive sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with mozzarella, Parmesan, and basil. Bake the Chicken Parmesan for 15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly. Serve hot with spaghetti.

Scottie’s Fatty Cheese Lasagna

This is my boyfriends’s lasagna recipe and it is super cheesy and delicious. He changes it up each time but this is the basic recipe. The difference from many lasagna recipes is that you slice, not shred, the cheese. Also, you add Monterey jack into the mix and there is lots of cheese.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 yellow and 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 jars of your fav spaghetti sauce or make it homemade
  • 1 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 1 pound Monterey jack cheese, sliced
  • 1 pound part-skim ricotta
  • 1 small can black, pitted, olives, sliced
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Italian seasoning
  • 1 pnd lasagna noodles

Directions:

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Heat olive oil and sauté onion until tender in large sauté pan. Add ground beef with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Cook until browned. Dispose of grease and add spaghetti sauce. Meanwhile, boil noodles as directed on package. Mix ricotta cheese with olives and season to taste. Layer the lasagna by starting with sauce, noodles, a layer or ricotta mixture, noodles, sauce, mozzarella cheese slices, noodles, sauce, Monterey jack cheese slices, noodles, sauce…..until lasagna is complete. 

Cover with tin foil and bake for 30 minutes, uncover and bake for another 25 minutes.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

A good old-fashioned spaghetti and meatball recipe. I have ruined other meatballs for my children and myself with this meatball recipe. The recipe is originally from Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen cookbook but I have changed it and made it my own to make it simpler. It is the best meatball recipe I have found and I have become an expert at making them. It really isn’t as difficult as it looks, give it a try.

Picture above from our trip to Venice, Italy in 2018 and my daughter enjoying her spaghetti when she was 5 years old (2008)….both great memories.

Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 2 35-ounce cans diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 tsp crushed hot red pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Meatballs

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup fine, dry bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese + 2/3 cups for cooked pasta
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped fine
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • All-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 pound spaghetti

Directions:

Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a 4- to 5-quart pot over medium high heat. Stir in the onion and cook, stirring, until wilted, about 4 minutes. Pour in the tomatoes, crushed red pepper and bay leaves, and season lightly with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat so the sauce is at a lively simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, crumble the pork and beef into a mixing bowl. Add the bread crumbs, 1/3 cup grated cheese, the parsley, and garlic over the meat. Beat the egg with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in a small bowl until blended. Pour over the meat mixture. Mix the ingredients with clean hands just until evenly blended. Don’t over mix. Shape the meat mixture into 1-1/2 inch balls.

Dredge the meatballs in the flour until lightly but evenly coated. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil and the vegetable oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Slip as many meatballs into the skillet as will fit without crowding. Fry, turning as necessary, until golden brown on all sides, about 6 minutes. Adjust the heat as the meatballs cook to prevent them from over browning. Remove the meatballs, and repeat if necessary with the remaining meatballs.

Add the browned meatballs to the tomato sauce and cook, stirring gently with a wooden spoon, until no trace of pink remains at the center of the meatballs, about 30 minutes.

Stir the spaghetti into the boiling water. Return to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook the pasta, semi-covered, stirring occasionally, until done, about 8 minutes.

Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Spoon in about 2 cups of the tomato sauce, tossing well until the pasta is coated with sauce. Remove from the heat and toss in 2/3 cup grated cheese. Check the seasoning, and add salt and pepper if necessary. Serve the pasta in warm bowls or piled high on a large warm platter. Spoon a little more of the sauce over the pasta, and pass the remaining sauce separately. Pass the meatballs family-style in a bowl, or top the bowls or platter of spaghetti with them.

Enjoy! I know you will love it.