italian rigatoni & spicy meatballs

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this is one of my favorite easy recipes. you can go all out and make your own marinara sauce or you can use a big short cut and buy your favorite jar of store-bought marinara and enhance.

ingredients for the meatballs:

  • 1/2 cup finely diced onions (optional- i didn’t use them)
  • 2 teaspoons evoo
  • 2 crushed & minced garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup parmesan reggiano
  • 1 1/2 pounds of ground meat (I used 1/2 pound beef, 1/2 pound veal, 1/2 pound spicy italian sausage)
  • 1 cup italian breadcrumbs
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh chopped italian parsley
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

directions for meatballs:

  1. begin by heating up the extra virgin olive oil in a sauce pan. add garlic and the onion. cook until soft.
  2. preheat oven to 350 f.
  3. mix the meats, breadcrumbs, parmesan, parsley, salt, water and red pepper flakes.
  4. sear meatballs for a few minutes in a pan just to brown the outside.
  5. finish cooking the meatballs in the oven for 15 minutes.

ingredients for assembly:

  • cooked rigatoni pasta
  • 2 table spoons of evoo
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella
  • 1 jar of your favorite marinara sauce
  • parmesan to taste
  • red pepper flakes to taste
  • fresh chopped italian parsley to garnish

for the assembly:

  1. cook rigatoni according to package.
  2. heat extra virgin olive oil in large sauce pan. my favorite is the le creuset “every day pan.”
  3. add crushed garlic, salt, italian seasoning and any other spices that you’d like until browned.
  4. add your favorite jar of marinara sauce and mix together.
  5. add cooked rigatoni.
  6. add mozzarella, parmesan, and meatballs. mix together.
  7. bake in oven for 2 minutes.
  8. top with italian parsley garnish and serve.

enjoy!

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italian rigatoni & spicy meatballs

Cacio E Pepe

Getting home late after a long day, sometimes all I want is a simple pasta. Simple, but delicious, this dish has many dimensions. The saltiness of the pecorino and parmesan contrasts the cracked black pepper and the butter makes it super smooth to taste.

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Ingredients:

  • 6 oz pasta
  • 2 tablespoons butter (or olive oil if you prefer)
  • 1/3 cup pecorino
  • 1/3 cup parmesan
  • 1-2 teaspoons fresh cracked black pepper
  1. Boil 6 oz. of any type of pasta that you prefer in salty water. I prefer angel hair pasta or even capellini, but you can use whatever you prefer. You can adjust this pasta recipe to a smaller portion if you are just making for one person.
  2. Drain pasta and rinse quickly with cold water. Drop a few teaspoons of butter and let it melt down.
  3. Using a Microplane, grate a 1/3  cup each fresh parmasean and pecorino. If you only have parmesan, you can just use that as well. Pour into the pasta and toss.
  4. Add about a teaspoon or two of fresh cracked black pepper and toss. It may seem like a lot, but the pepper adds a lot of flavor and the more, the better!
  5. Ta-da!

If you’d like to make this a full meal, you can top it with pretty much anything. In the picture below, I roasted an herb coated pork tenderloin, sliced and served over the pasta and then drizzled a homemade pesto oil over it all. It was so yummy and can be used in so many different ways. Try tossing in some lemon, oil and shrimp!IMG_0632

I like to think of this as an adult version of ramen noodles. Enjoy!

Cacio E Pepe