My mom wanted spaghetti and meatballs the other day so that is just what we did. You can never go wrong with this classic. I got a new cookbook for Christmas that incorporates spicy sausage into the mixture rather than pork or veal. This gives the meatballs amazing new flavor, I added in more sausage and less ground beef than called for because I love the sausage flavor, but as usual, do what makes you happy. This makes about 12 meatballs
1 Cup Dried Bread Crumbs
1/4 Cup Whole Milk
2 LBS 85% Lean Ground Beef
1/2 LBS Spicy Italian Sausage, casing removed
1 Cup Finely Grated Parmesan Cheese
2 TSP Dried Oregano
1 TSP Dried Chili Flakes
1 TSP Salt
1 TSP Pepper
2 Eggs, beaten
1 26 oz Jar of Marinara Sauce
Let’s Get Cooking
Preheat the oven to 400F and line your baking sheets
In a large mixing bowl combine with your hands: bread crumbs + milk + beef + sausage + cheese + oregano + chili flakes + salt + pepper.
Add in the eggs and mix until well combined. Don’t over mix, it will make the meat tough.
Using about 1/2 cup measure scoop the meatball mixture out and roll with your hands to make a ball.
Place on baking sheets and bake for about 25 minutes.
Serve with your favorite marinara sauce and pasta.
It’s the simplest ingredients that go the longest ways. I mean roasted garlic is good on a flip-flop. So with these 4 simple ingredients you are about to make a meal that will have your taste buds so damn happy. I got this recipe from Brad on It’s Alive by Bon Appetit. It should be noted that I love him very much but at the same time I need Bon Appetit to pay their POC employee’s fairly. This recipe uses homemade sourdough, but you don’t have to be like me and make sourdough solely for this recipe. Feel free to use a demi-baguette or whatever kind of bread your heart desires.
Sourdough Bread/Demi-Baguette, sliced
Salt + Pepper
Let’s Get Cooking
Bring out a large sauce pan and add in about 1-2 TBSP olive oil. Add in 6-8 cherry tomatoes [depending on how many people you are cooking for, use about 6 for one serving] and whole cloves of garlic, with the husks on, about 2-4.
Saute the tomatoes and garlic until the tomatoes begin to burst open and slightly char and the garlic has softened. Remove from heat, placing the garlic in the bowl first and tomatoes on top, top off with salt + a little olive oil.
Add in about 2 TSP more of olive oil into the same pan and place the sliced bread into the pan, allow to toast on both sides.
While the bread is toasting, place ricotta cheese in a bowl. Take the garlic from the tomatoes and remove the husks. Smash the garlic with a knife and rough chop them. Once chopped add to the ricotta. Add in olive oil + salt + pepper and mix well.
Once the bread is toasted to your preference, top off with the ricotta cheese, tomatoes, and any juices that is left off in the tomato bowl.
I LOVE Risotto, so creamy and cheesy, but it can take a lot of patience. So be patient and get your greens in with this risotto recipe from Simply Recipes!
5 TBSP Butter, divided into 4 TBSP and 1 TBSP
1 Cup Chopped Yellow Onion
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
1/2 TSP Italian Seasoning, like basil and parsley
2 Cups Risotto Rice, like arborio
1/2 Cup White Wine
5 Cups Chicken Stock
3/4 Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
8 oz Baby Spinach, finely chopped
1 TSP Lemon Zest
1 TSP Lemon Juice
1/2 TSP Black Pepper
1/2 TSP Salt
Let’s Get Cooking
Add your stock to a saucepan and get it warmed up. While the stock is warming, prep your ingredients
Melt the 4 TBSP of butter into a wide saucepan on med-med high heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Once translucent, add in garlic + italian seasoning and cook for about a minute.
Add the risotto to the pan and coat with butter and onions. Let cook until the rice begins to get clear, about 2-3 minutes. Add in the white wine and stir into the rice, simmer until the wine is absorbed into the rice.
Add in the broth one ladle at a time, or about 1/2 cup. Gently stir after each ladle and do not add more until the liquid is absorbed. Continue until the risotto begins to get creamy and has a slight chew.
Once done, add in the butter + parmesan + spinach + lemon juice + lemon zest.
Serve immediately with a little more parmesan + salt + lots of black pepper.
Every major city has their own version of Little Italy. The one I know best is Cleveland’s, a strip of Mayfield road dedicated to some of the best Italian restaurants in the area. I have not been to every restaurant on the strip (it is a goal of mine) but I am going to share with you a few of my favorites.
La Dolce Vita
This may be one of my favorite places on this list. The food has always been amazing. The tomato cream sauce is a meal I would die for, you can’t help but eat every bite. I highly recommend their appetizer trio as well, it gives you an amazing sample of their stuffed peppers, eggplant parm, and meatballs. There is nothing on this menu that tastes bad.
Trattoria on the Hill
Another one of my favorites would be this classic. The menu is long, the service is excellent and everything is amazing. I’ve had the Veal Scallopini and the Gnocci al Burro and good lord I could eat it non-stop. It’s food made with love and you can tell.
Mama Santa’s is the first restaurant I went to in Little Italy and it will always have a place in my heart. They have an extensive menu, so everyone, even the pickiest eater, can find something that they like!
If you go to Little Italy, after dinner you have to go to Corbo’s. My mother introduced me to this place and explained just how good this place is. They have all sorts of baked treats, which is exactly the thing you need after eating a massive plate of pasta.
So if you are in the Cleveland area go check out the Little Italy area, not only do they have excellent restaurants but cute shops as well [I highly recommend the thrift shop Moonstruck]. It’s a great place to spend a Saturday afternoon.
I love noodles, so simple and comforting. As a kid I could eat noodles for every meal, but the sauce always had to be on the side. As my self-taught, home kitchen culinary skills grew, making pasta was on my list to make. With a new kitchen aid, and attachments, I was able to scratch off homemade pasta.
I was expecting the process of pasta making to be drawn out and difficult. I soon realized my assumption was far from the truth. The pasta included 4 ingredients, Semolina flour + eggs + water + oil.
The directions on the semolina bag were easy to follow. A well was made in the flour and the remaining ingredients were added. The dough is then kneaded until there are no cracks. The dough is left to sit for about 30 minutes, wrapped in a towel.
After the dough has taken a break, it is finally time for the best part! I had never used a pasta roller or cutter before so this was a very exciting time for me. The dough was put through the roller, then folded over, repeating this step until the desired thickness. The dough is then put through the pasta cutter, I used the spaghetti cutter for my first try.
The pasta is then cooked in boiling water for about 2-3 minutes. Be sure to watch carefully as it cooks super fast! This was some of the most fun I had cooking in awhile! If I could I would make homemade pasta for every occasion.