Tag Archives: Spaghetti

Gina’s Variation of Spaghetti & Meatballs

Pasta is better inhaled like a vacuum cleaner. It’s so much fun!

Spaghetti & Meatballs

Spaghetti & Meatballs

 

Spaghetti & Meatballs is a comforting Italian-American dish. It is not a traditional Italian dish because the Italians prefer to eat their pasta alone without the meatballs. Meatballs are known as “polpette” in Italian, and they are consumed as a tasty second course (secondo). I have many different versions of tomato sauce, and sometimes, I use Italian sausage for added richness. Today, I am sharing with you a simplified sauce that is rustic and is a crowd-pleaser. For a smoother sauce, simply pure’ the San Marzano tomatoes. This blog post is not sponsored, but I am using the brands that I like. There are times when I combine ground beef and pork, and in that instance, I don’t use the sausage. Alternatively, you can use ground turkey for a healthier version. I use seasoned breadcrumbs instead of the traditional slice of bread soaked in milk. Generally, I don’t use grated cheese, except in my Veal Meatballs with Pecorino. Put your apron on, and follow me in the kitchen. Don’t forget your glass of wine or cider! This recipe is crafted for 6-8 people depending on their appetite. You can easily divide the ingredients to feed fewer people.

 

Spaghetti & Meatballs

Spaghetti & Meatballs

 

Ingredients for the meatballs

1 ½ lbs. ground sirloin
1 ½ lbs. ground chuck
3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon oregano
½ small onion, grated
1½ teaspoons sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 large eggs
½ cup seasoned breadcrumbs, Progresso brand
1 handful of flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped, plus more for garnish

Preparation:

Mix well all the ingredients by hand (I use a glove because I have long nails) and form the meatballs using an ice cream scooper with a spring. Spray a large tray and place the meatballs on there. Bake them for 10-12 minutes in a 350-degree oven, turning them once. You can also pan-fry them in olive oil for tastier meatballs but this process is less convenient. Set aside.

Ingredients for the Tomato Sauce: 

2-3 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 (26.46 ounces) container of Pomi -strained tomato
1 (26.46 ounces) container of Pomi – finely chopped tomatoes
1 (28 oz.) Flora’s San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand
Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 pound of spaghetti
Grated Parmigiano Reggiano to taste (a lot)

Preparation:

In a large stock pot, on medium heat, heat olive oil and sauté the garlic quickly, and add the tomato paste. Stir constantly until it’s caramelized. Add the strained, chopped, and crushed tomatoes. Bring to a gently boil, stir occasionally. Add the meatballs. Lower the flame. Cover with lid tilted. Stir occasionally to avoid the sauce from sticking on the bottom. Allow 1½ to 2 hours until all the flavors marry beautifully. Toward the last 15 minutes, bring your pasta water to a boil. Add a handful of salt, and cook according to package directions. I like mine al dente so cook it for at least 1 or 2 minutes less. The best way to find out how you like it is to taste the pasta before draining it.

Mix the pasta with the sauce until every strand is coated. Serve with grated Parmigiano Reggiano. Garnish with parsley

Wine pairing suggestion:  Sangiovese-based wines such a Rosso Di Montalcino or Chianti Classico will work harmoniously with the acidity in the tomatoes.

Happy Cooking & Happy Sipping from Gina’s Kitchen!

Gina Martino Zarcadoolas, aka Foodiewinelover
Culinary Personality, Food & Wine Blogger
Author of the cookbook: Cuisines, Corkscrews & Cultures: https://foodiewinelover.com/product/cookbook/
Level-2 Certified world-renowned – “WSET: Wine, Spirit, Education, Trust”
Level-2 Certified Sommelier & Italian Wine Scholar Student (Prep course completed)
Winner of 2019 Italian Wines “Salice Salentino USA Bloggers” Award, held in Puglia, Italy
Brand Strategist

Gina’s Spaghetti alla Puttanesca

 

 


There are many explanations that describe the origin of this dish. Puttanesca (literally means whore’s style spaghetti) is believed to have originated in the Campania region of Italy. In 2007, when we visited the ruins of Pompeii in Naples, our tour guide Marco from Perillo Tours explained to us the story behind the name of this dish. According to him, the ladies of the evening made it to lure the men into their house by attracting them with the aroma of the sauce.  Other sources claim the ladies made it  because it was easy and quick as they were always busy and had little time for cooking.  Whatever the story, Puttanesca is a delicious and lively sauce that you can whip in no time. It’s best served over spaghetti. It is tasty but on the salty side.

 

Get the recipe in my cookbook: https://foodiewinelover.com/product/cookbook/

 

Warning: This dish has a high sodium content
Photos by Gina Martino Zarcadoolas for Foodiewinelover

Happy Cooking from my Kitchen to yours,
Gina Martino Zarcadoolas, aka Foodiewinelover
My Food, Wine & Travel Lifestyles
WSET-Level 2 Wine Connoisseur
Culinary and Global Cuisines Aficionado

Spaghetti alla Puttanesca

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Spaghetti alla carbonara

 

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Mise en place

 

photo (47)

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Egg mixture

In my house, life is a combination of magic and pasta, as beautifully quoted by Federico Fellini.

I have many versions of pasta recipes in my repertoire, however this one is very special, because the origin is from beautiful Rome, one of my favorite cities in the world.  I am happy to share with you Spaghetti alla Carbonara.  Mirco di Trizio, an aspiring Roman chef, provided me with the main ingredients, the ratio and method of cooking. I put it all together and kitchen tested it. The result was this creamy pasta that screamed deliciousness in every bite.

Serves: 4   Degree of difficulty: Moderate

Ingredients: 

  • 1 lb. of Spaghetti
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 to 3/4 lb. of pancetta, chopped (guanciale is preferred but hard to find in the US.)
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 4 extra-large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, finely grated, Parmesan cheese (maybe more, if necessary)
  • 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated, made from sheep’s milk
  • 1/2 cup water room temperature, (for sauce)


    Preparation:

    1) In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, add freshly ground pepper  and both cheeses. Mix well and set aside.

    2) Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt to taste, and cook pasta according to package directions.

    3) In the meanwhile, heat olive oil, over medium flame, and brown pancetta until crispy, stirring occasionally, This will take 8 – 10 minutes depending on your pan and the degree of heat. Deglaze with the water, bring to a quick boil, then turn the heat to the lowest setting. Leave it on the burner.

    At this point, the pasta should be done, and it’s time to drain it. PUT IT BACK IN THE SAME POT.  Get the assistance of someone for the next step, if you can.  Bring the pot of pasta on your kitchen counter, (not on the hot stove) drop in the pancetta, mix it in.  Next, comes the tricky part,  get someone to slowly pour the egg mixture in the pasta while you gently stir it, AWAY from the heat. You should obtain a nice creamy texture. If you feel like it’s too watery, go ahead and add a little more cheese. Remove from the pot immediately to avoid the effect of scrambled eggs. (It would be edible, however, it  is not the presentation, we are looking for.) Place in a serving bowl and serve while it’s piping hot.

    The chef has complimented me on the dish but scolded me about the parsley as a garnish. Instead, he recommends using a melted Parmigiano, called Cialda di Parmigiano.  An easy way to achieve this, is to melt some cheese in the microwave. You can bypass this step all together but wanted to give you some option for garnish.

    cialda

    Cheese garnish, optional. Stock photo, not mine

    I hope you will try this recipe in your kitchen. It may seem complicated but it’s simple if you follow my directions step by step. Wishing all of you a beautiful holiday season!

Happy Cooking from Gina’s Kitchen.

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