Italian Sauce and Meatballs

Italian Sauce

My husband is taking the boys camping this weekend so I will be taking the opportunity to make some sauce.  I like to make a big batch of it and freeze it in quart (freezer safe) canning jars.  It will keep in the refrigerator for 4 days.  The meatballs freeze beautifully as well.  After baking move them to a clean baking sheet and place in the freezer.  Once frozen place them in freezer bags or another freezer safe container, keep up to 6 months in a deep freezer.

2 (28 oz.) cans crushed tomatoes
2 (28 oz.) cans whole peeled Italian tomatoes (with liquid), crushed with your hands
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 pounds pork ribs or neck bones with meat
1 large onion, minced
1 large shallot, minced
3 ribs celery, minced
1 green bell pepper, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, peeled
1 teaspoon dried Thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 Bay leaves
4 tablespoons sugar

1. Place a mesh sieve over a bowl. Add the tomatoes; force through to remove the seeds.
2. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium. Add the pork ribs/necks; cook until browned, turning as needed about every 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
3. Add the onion, shallots, celery, and bell pepper; cook over medium, 5 minutes. Add garlic; stir 30 seconds.
4. Add the tomatoes, carrot, thyme, oregano, black pepper, bay leaves, sugar and salt to taste; return the ribs to the pot. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer until meat is tender, 2-3 hours; remove bones and carrot.
5. Meanwhile, make meatballs (below)
6. Serve over choice of pasta with meatballs and grated cheese.

Makes approximately 4 quarts.

Italian Meatballs
In large bowl combine:
2 pounds ground beef
1 pound ground pork
2 eggs
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
¼ cup whole milk
¾ cup bread crumbs
2 Tbsp. dried parsley flakes or ¼ cup minced fresh parsley leaves
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper

1. Line a rimmed baking pan with foil
2. Form mixture into approx. 40 (2-inch) balls.
3. Place balls on lined baking pan and bake at 400° for 20 min. turning over halfway through.
4. Serve with Italian sauce and pasta

Click Here for a printable copy of Italian Sauce and Meatballs

Coconutty Chicken

This recipe was adapted from a Rachael Ray Magazine Meal Planner pullout.  This was a big hit with all the entire family and a friend one of my sons had over.  My husband thinks some crushed red pepper should be added next time.

2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed
Salt and pepper
1 (13½ ounce) can coconut milk
½ cup cider vinegar
⅓ cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 small head garlic, peeled and smashed
2 bay leaves
8 ounces orecchiette or orzo pasta
1 (10-11 ounce) package baby spinach, washed and dried
1. In a large pan, brown the cubed chicken. Season generously with salt and pepper.
2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl combine the coconut milk, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic and bay leaves.
3. When the chicken is golden brown, add the sauce to the chicken and stir. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, partially cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.
4. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta according to package directions.
5. While the pasta is cooking remove the cover from the chicken, discard the bay leaves; bring the sauce to a boil until slightly reduced and thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the spinach to wilt. Serve over pasta.

Original Recipe from Rachael Ray Magazine

Poblano Cream Pasta with Shrimp

4 servings

Salt and pepper
1 pound linguine
6 tablespoons butter
1 small Poblano chile pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tablespoons flour
1½ cups chicken stock
½ cup crème fraîche or mexican crema
1 pound medium shrimp
fresh thyme, finely chopped, for garnishing
Grated parmigiano-reggiano, for passing around the table (optional)

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook it until al dente. Drain.
2. While the pasta is working, in a medium saucepan, melt 4 tbsp. butter over medium heat. Add the poblano, onion and garlic and cook until softened, 7 to 8 minutes. Whisk in the flour for 1 minute. Whisk in the chicken stock and simmer, stirring, for 5 minutes.
3. In a small saucepan, heat the crème fraîche (or crema) over medium heat. Whisk the warm cream into the poblano sauce. Transfer to a food processor or blender and puree until very smooth; season with salt.
4. In a large skillet, melt the remaining 2 tbsp. butter over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and cook until firm and pink; season with salt and pepper. Add the pasta and poblano sauce to the shrimp; toss well. Sprinkle the thyme on top. Pass the cheese at the table, if desired.

Everyday with Rachael Ray, March 2012: Poblano Cream Pasta with Shrimp

Pappardelle with Beef and Mushroom Ragù

Serves 4
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound beef chuck, cut into 1-inch pieces
kosher salt and black pepper
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (15-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 pound assorted mushrooms (such as button, cremini, and shiitake), sliced
12 ounces pappardelle or fettuccine
½ cup grated Parmesan (2 ounces), plus more for serving

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season the beef with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
2. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in the saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots, garlic, rosemary, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until slightly darkened, about 1 minute more.
3. Return the beef to the saucepan and add the chicken broth and tomatoes. Simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until the beef is fork-tender, 60 to 75 minutes.
4. Add the mushrooms to the saucepan and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until tender, 10 to 12 minutes more. If the sauce is too thin, simmer, uncovered, until thickened to the desired consistency.
5. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the package directions; drain and return it to the pot. Add the beef ragù and Parmesan and toss. Serve with additional Parmesan.

Real Simple, January 2011: Pappardelle with Beef and Mushroom Ragù

Cauliflower Penne Puttanesca

Serves 6
My Husband made this one while I was out of town. I didn’t get to try it but he said the kids had double servings and he can’t wait to make it again!

1 lb. penne
3 Tbs. Olive oil
1 large head cauliflower 2 lbs., cored and cut in florets
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
4 cloves garlic
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
8 oz. can tomato sauce
¾ c. Kalamata Olives
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper
2 Tbsp. parsley chopped
Grated Parmesan for serving

1. Cook Pasta according to directions. Drain and return to pot.
2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cauliflower, salt and black pepper. Cock until golden about 4-6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and sauce, olives, and crushed red pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until the cauliflower is tender 8-10 minutes.
3. Toss the pasta with the sauce. Serve topped with the parsley and Parmesan.

Real Simple Feb 2012: Cauliflower Penne Puttanesca