Bolognese Sauce

This delicious bolognese sauce is a recipe my BF has mastered and tweaked to perfection. The longer it simmers throughout the day, the better, so start early with the cookery. Use the pasta of your choice.

Ingredients:

1/2 stalk celery, diced

1/2 carrot, diced

1/4 yellow or white onion, diced

2 TBS extra virgin olive oil

1/2 lb ground pork

1/2 lb ground beef

25 oz can crushed tomato

Water, use the empty tomato can, you will need 3/4 of the can and may need to add more

1/2 cup dry white wine

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 tsp oregano

Chili flake to taste

Pasta

Directions:

Heat olive oil and sauté vegetables on medium until softened, about five minutes. Add beef first, brown, add pork to beef and vegetables, brown. Do not pour off fat, leave it in there for flavor. Add wine and cook until alcohol is cooked absorbed. Add water, tomato, and spices to taste. Simmer covered for at least two hours, the longer the better.

Once it is ready to eat, boil the pasta of your choice and enjoy!

Spicy Calabrian Pesto

This delicious pesto is another one from my boyfriend’s collection of recipes. He usually makes this with homemade gnocchi. You can use it with any type of pasta.

Ingredients:

2 TBS extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup white onion, chopped

2 red bell peppers, chopped

25 cherry tomatoes, halved

6 basil leaves, fresh

7 ounces (a little over 3/4 cup) ricotta cheese

1.75 ounces (approx 1/4 cup) Pecorino cheese, grated

Salt and pepper to taste

Chili flake to taste

Oregano to taste

Directions:

Heat olive oil in pan and add onion, cook until soft. Add bell peppers and cook for 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper, chili flake and cook for another 10-15 minutes.

Blend in a blender or food processor until smooth while adding basil leaves.

In mixing bowl add ricotta and Pecorino and mix by hand, add oregano.

Pasta All’Assassina – Killer Pasta

Another fantastic recipe from the amazing website Pasta Grammar. If you have not checked out their website yet, I highly recommend you do so. Eva and Harper from Pasta Grammar indicate that this particular recipe is a secret recipe that originated in Bari, Italy. It is a unique technique used to cook the pasta but it is well worth learning this one. Very few ingredients needed and easy to whip up at a moments notice.

Ingredients:

7 oz dry spaghetti (do not use bronze cut, lower quality pasta is recommended, like Barilla)

1 1/8 cup pure tomato puree

5 oz tomato paste

2 1/2 cups water

2 cloves garlic

Crushed red pepper

Olive oil

Salt

Directions:

In a small saucepan add 1/8 cup (2 TBS) tomato puree, tomato paste, and water Bring to simmer while salting to taste.

Add olive oil to coat a cast iron or heavy pan (be sure to use a pan large enough to accommodate the dry pasta lying flush on the bottom). Add 1 clove of diced garlic and 1 whole along with some crushed red pepper to the pan and cook until garlic sizzles. Add the remaining 1 cup of tomato puree and simmer. Add the dry pasta and spread into an even layer in the pan. Let the pasta burn and blacken slightly before flipping and do the same on the other side. Trust your instincts and be patient during this part because the slightly burnt and crispy pasta is delicious. Begin adding the tomato water mixture in increments while the pasta cooks. You want the moisture to evaporate then add more tomato water mixture in steps until the pasta is cooked to your liking. Season with salt and crushed red pepper.

Serve immediately with a drizzle of olive oil (and I like to add lots of fresh parmesan cheese on top).

Cheesy Stuffed Shells by Scott

Not only has my boyfriend been learning to speak Italian, but he has also been cooking the most amazing Italian food. This is one of his recipes and is easy to make along with being delizioso.

Ingredients:

For the marinara:

1/2 onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and left whole

24 oz tomato puree

salt and pepper to taste

basil leaves, fresh and torn

1 tsp red chili pepper flakes

1 tsp sugar

For the shells:

1 box jumbo pasta shells

1/2 cup ricotta cheese

2 cups mozzarella cheese, grated

1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano

10 oz spinach (boiled and diced)

Pepper to taste

Directions:

Add all ingredients for the marinara together and simmer for 1 hour. Once marinara is done, heat oven to 350F and boil pasta shells. Mix cheeses with spinach and pepper. Once shells are done, rinse with cold water to make them easier to handle. Place shells on paper towel or clean kitchen towel to absorb water. Take a baking sheet and place a portion of the marinara on the bottom of the pan to prevent sticking. Stuff each shell with the cheese mixture and place in baking pan until the pan is full of shells in a single layer. Top with the remaining marinara and sprinkle some Parmigiano Reggiano on top, bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

Linguine alla Carbonara

After watching Frankie make a big pot of Linguine alla Carbonara on one of my favorite shows, Better Things, I had craving for the delicious, creamy pasta. I have made it a couple times since and it is a very simple dish. The recipe I use is from Lidia Bastianich’s cookbook titled Lidia’s Italian-American kitchen. Lidia explains that you often see this dish cooked with cream. However, that is not the traditional style. Traditional carbonara is made with egg yolks. The heat of the pasta is enough to cook the egg yolks.

Ingredients:

6 ounces slab bacon

2 TBS olive oil

2 large yellow onions, sliced 1/2 inch thick (about 3 cups)

1 1/2 cups hot chicken stock

1 pound linguine, I use spaghetti noodles, you can use whatever you prefer

3 egg yolks

1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Coarsely ground black pepper

Directions:

Bring a pot of salted water to boil for the linguine.

Cut the bacon into 1/4 inch thick slices, heat the oil in a large heavy skillet and add the bacon, cook for about 6 minutes. Bacon should be soft in center and lightly browned.

If there is more than 3-4 TBS of oil in the skillet, remove to make 3-4 TBS of oil. Add the onions with the bacon and cook for about 4-5 minutes, the onions should be wilted but still crunchy. Add the stock, bring to a boil and adjust to simmer. Reduce the sauce by half.

Cook the linguine semi-covered until cooked to your desire.

Ladle off a cup of the pasta water. If the skillet is large enough to accommodate sauce and pasta, fish the pasta out of the boiling water and drop it into the sauce, stir to coat. Bring the sauce and pasta to a boil, check the seasoning, add salt if necessary. Add chicken stock or pasta water if there is not enough sauce to coat the pasta.

Meanwhile, separate your eggs and whisk each yolk slightly, you will want to keep them separate as they need to be added one at a time.

Remove the pasta from heat and stir in each egg yolk separately. A salad fork and spoon works well for this part. Stir vigorously while each yolk is added to avoid the eggs becoming scrambled.

Add the cheese and black pepper. Serve immediately

Patti’s Spaghetti Sauce

My mom’s amazing 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.

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

IMG_9372

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 sounds, give it a try.

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

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