I was watching Giada a few Saturday mornings ago and had to wipe drool away during her “meatball” episode.  Meatballs just aren’t something I make during the summer.  When I think of meatballs, I think of spaghetti, warm sweaters and leaves turning.

So when I watched one of my favorite Food Network stars make a Meatball and Kale Pizza, I knew this was coming to a fall menu near me.

I picked up a medium dough from my favorite pizza parlour (Fellini’s in Atlanta) and used only half the batch of meatballs on the pizza.  The other half I served over fresh spinach linguine noodles with marinara later in the week.

M husband is a little wary of ground turkey, but he absolutely loved the taste of these.  I’ll definitely be making again to use in marinara, meatball subs, etc.

Tell me, how do you make your favorite meatballs?

meatballs

Browned meatballs out of the oven

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Add mozzarella and parmesan and back into the oven

pizza2

Warm and cheesy out of the oven

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Crispy kale tops off this wholesome meal!

Ingredients

Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Pizza:

  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for oiling the baking sheet and for drizzling
  • One 1-pound ball pizza dough (I used a medium dough for a 12.5 in pizza stone)
  • 3/4 cup coarsely grated whole-milk mozzarella
  • 8 Classic Italian Turkey Meatballs, recipe follows, halved
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
  • 2 medium leaves kale, ribs removed, coarsely chopped and massaged with evoo and salt and pepper

Directions

For the sauce: In a heavy small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and stir constantly for 1 minute. Gradually add the milk, whisking constantly. Add the nutmeg, bay leaf and garlic. Whisk over medium heat until the mixture thickens to sauce consistency and is smooth, 2 to 5 minutes. Stir in the salt and pepper.

Remove and discard the bay leaf and garlic.

For the pizza: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.  Place the pizza stone in the oven, to get hot, while it is preheating.  Meanwhile, work with the dough to get it “stretched out” to go on the stone.  Honestly, this is an art.  Luckily, Jim has mastered it.  If this is your first time working with dough, you might want to buy two to play with until you get it right.

Once the oven is preheated, remove the stone and place it on a trivet.  Quickly spread the dough over the stone, being careful not to burn your fingers. Drizzle the dough with olive oil. Spoon the white sauce on top and spread evenly leaving a 1-inch border around the dough. Sprinkle the mozzarella on top. Arrange the meatballs, cut-side down, on top. Sprinkle with the Parmesan. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and add the kale in an even layer on top of the meatballs. Bake until the kale is crispy, 10 minutes longer.

Cut into squares and serve.

Classic Italian Turkey Meatballs:

  • 1 cup plain breadcrumbs (I use Panko for everything these days)
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/4 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 pound ground turkey meat
  • 1 pound spicy ground turkey
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, basil, parsley, milk, tomato paste, salt, pepper, eggs, garlic and onions. Stir to blend. Add the ground turkey and sausage meat. Using fingers, gently mix all the ingredients until thoroughly combined.

Form the meat mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls (22 to 24 meatballs). Place the meatballs on a heavy nonstick baking sheet, spacing apart. Drizzle with olive oil and bake until cooked through, 15 minutes.

For more hearty fall meal ideas, get inspiration from my fellow #SundaySupper foodies.  Check out their tasty blogs below:

Amazing Breakfasts, Brunches, and Breads

Outstanding Soups, Starters and Sides:

Comforting Main Dishes:

Decadent Desserts:

Tasty Drinks:

A Meaty Marinara

August 24, 2012

The summer is winding down and it’s time to start thinking about cooler nights, college football and hearty meals to feed your family.  A good meat sauce is a great recipe to have in your back pocket.  It’s easy to make ahead of time and freeze in batches, so you can defrost it on a busy weeknight while boiling pasta. You can also throw together a lasagna, eggplant parm or another of your favorite Italian dishes once the marinara is done and bake that night, or put in the freezer to save for a night when you have less time to cook.

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Marinara over tortellini

Traditional Meat Sauce

printable recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 (29-ounce) can tomato puree
  • 2 (12-ounce) cans tomato paste
  • 1 (15-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon chopped parsley leaves

Directions

Brown ground beef with minced garlic and salt and pepper, to taste. Drain ground beef and set aside.

Place oil and onions in a saucepan and saute on high heat until soft. Add all cans of tomato products and chicken stock. Add all other ingredients and heat through. Once hot, add the browned ground beef and simmer on low heat for approximately 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Serve over your favorite pasta, top with freshly grated parmesan and enjoy!

Arancini de Delizioso!

April 2, 2011

For Christmas last year, I decided to serve an Italian feast.  That it was…although we ate two and a half hours late.  But, in my family, that tends to happen.  We did have plenty of wine and appetizers, so we enjoyed a lot of great family time together!

The Arancini, or Italian Rice Balls, were an absolute hit!  I had enough leftover risotto to make another batch a few days later and threw them in a ziplock bag and into the freezer.  We’ve been enjoying them for months since — just toss into the oven at 400 degrees for about 10 to 15 minutes and they’re just as delicious as the first time!

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Making Risotto mixture

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Stuff a Mozzarella cube inside

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Roll stuffed Risotto Balls in bread crumbs (Cooking in PJs, BTW)

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Gooey goodness!

Ingredients:

Printable Recipe

 

  • Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • 2 large eggs, beaten to blend
  • 2 cups Risotto with Mushrooms and Peas, recipe follows, cooled
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 1/2 cups dried Italian-style bread crumbs
  • 2 ounces mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • Salt

Directions:

Pour enough oil in a heavy large saucepan to reach the depth of 3 inches. Heat the oil over medium heat to 350 degrees F.

Stir the eggs, risotto, Parmesan, and 1/2 cup of the bread crumbs in a large bowl to combine. Place the remaining breadcrumbs in a medium bowl. Using about 2 tablespoons of the risotto mixture for each, form the risotto mixture into 1 3/4-inch-diameter balls. Insert 1 cube of mozzarella into the center of each ball. Roll the balls in the bread crumbs to coat.

Working in batches, add the rice balls to the hot ail and cook until brown and heated through, turning them as necessary, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the rice balls to paper towels to drain. Season with salt. Let rest 2 minutes. Serve hot.

 Mushroom Risotto with Peas:

  • 8 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
  • 1/2-ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups finely chopped onions
  • 10 ounces white mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice or short-grain white rice
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, optional

 

Bring the broth to a simmer in a heavy medium saucepan. Add the porcini mushrooms. Set aside until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Keep the broth warm over very low heat.

Melt the butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the white mushrooms and garlic. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the porcini mushrooms to a cutting board. Finely chop the mushrooms and add to the saucepan. Saute until the mushrooms are tender and the juices evaporate, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice and let it toast for a few minutes. Add the wine; cook until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of hot broth; simmer over medium-low heat until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Continue to cook until the rice is just tender and the mixture is creamy, adding more broth by cupfuls and stirring often, about 28 minutes (the rice will absorb 6 to 8 cups of broth). Stir in the peas. Mix in the Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Yield: 6 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

This recipe from Cooking Light is divine.  I served it alongside Long-Grain & Wild Rice and Roasted Veggies.

Dinner is served!

Fennel-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Shallot-Onion Agrodolce

Agrodolce is an Italian sweet and sour sauce that combines sugar and vinegar. In this version, acidic wine and vinegar harmonize with the sweetness from the onions and raisins.

 Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 3 ounces pork and about 1/2 cup agrodolce)

 Ingredients

Agrodolce:

  • 1 tablespoon  olive oil
  • 2 cups  vertically sliced onion
  • 1 cup  sliced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon  sugar
  • 3/4  cup  dry white wine
  • 1/3  cup  golden raisins
  • 1/4  cup  red wine vinegar
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/8  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper

 Pork tenderloin:

  • 2 teaspoons  fennel seeds, crushed
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  ground coriander
  • 1/2  teaspoon  ground cumin
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • (1-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed
  • Cooking spray

 Preparation

1. To prepare agrodolce, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, shallots, and sugar to pan; sauté 12 minutes or until golden. Stir in wine, raisins, and vinegar; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 9 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Remove from heat; stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.

 2. Prepare grill.

 3. To prepare pork tenderloin, combine fennel seeds, 1/2 teaspoon salt, coriander, cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle pork with fennel seed mixture. Place pork on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill for 20 minutes or until a thermometer registers 155° (slightly pink), turning pork occasionally. Let stand for 10 minutes. Cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Serve with agrodolce.

Perfection.

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