Friday, January 2, 2015

Mealtime Magic: Variations on Pasta and Meatballs

Pasta and meatballs are classic combination, and a popular dish that's easy to make. This year, mix it up with some unique quick and easy Meatball/Pasta recipes from the Quick Meal Queen, Natashja Szortyka. These easy to make but still delicious recipes will be the talk of any gathering. Recipes are posted courtesy of Mama Lucia.

Turkey Meatball Florentine Casserole

12 oz. box Mama Lucia Turkey Meatballs
2 c. penne pasta, cooked 

1 pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
10 3/4 oz. can condensed cream of mushroom soup

1/2 soup can water 

1/2 c. canned diced tomatoes 

1/2 c. mozzarella cheese, shredded

Combine all ingredients in an oiled 8- or 9-inch shallow baking dish. Top with additional cheese if desired. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes.

Garden Pasta with Turkey Meatballs

12 oz. box Mama Lucia Turkey Meatballs, dinner size

1 medium yellow summer squash, thick-sliced

I medium zucchini, thick-sliced

1 pint grape tomatoes
3 Tbsp. olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tsp. Italian herb seasoning

12 oz. pkg. farfalle pasta, cooked according to package directions

Arrange meatballs and vegetables in a single layer on a shallow-rimmed baking pan. Mix olive oil, lemon juice and Italian seasoning, pour half of mixture over meatballs and vegetables, and toss to coat. Bake at 400° for 15-20 minutes. (Mixture can be heated in skillet if preferred.) Serve over pasta that has been tossed with remaining oil, lemon and herb mixture. Garnish with fresh oregano.

Serves 4 – 6

Meatballs with Rosa Sauce

12 oz. box Mama Lucia Italian-Style Meatballs, dinner size

24 oz. jar vodka or rosa sauce for pasta

8 oz. rigatoni pasta, cooked according to package directions
3 1/4 oz. can pitted ripe olives, drained

1 c. baby arugula tossed with a little olive oil

Cook meatballs in sauce in skillet over medium heat. Serve over pasta. Top with olives and arugula if desired.

Serves 4

Under the Tuscan Moon Meatballs 
with a Pecorino-Parmesan Risotto

Most Romantic Meatball Recipe Challenge Third-Place Winner: Barbara Mayo

12 Mama Lucia Italian-Style Meatballs

1 Tbsp. olive oil

4 c. fresh spinach

4 garlic cloves, roasted

1 tsp. grated nutmeg

14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes with rosemary and oregano

1/3 c. chopped roasted red and yellow peppers

1 Tbsp. Tuscan seasoning (such as McCormick) 

1 Tbsp. dried orange peel

1/3 c. sliced black olives

1 c. good red wine

1 Tbsp. butter

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1 tsp. ground black pepper

1 box Parmesan risotto 

2 fresh sprigs rosemary  

1/3 c. grated Pecorino Romano (reserve 4 Tbsp.)

Place large sauté pan on medium-high heat and add olive oil. When oil is hot, saute fresh spinach and roasted garlic, and then add nutmeg. Stir well, turn heat to low, and add tomatoes, peppers, Tuscan seasoning and orange peel, stirring to incorporate. Add black olives and red wine, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, place meatballs on a cookie sheet and put in preheated 425° oven for 6-8 minutes. Remove and place on paper towel to drain. Add meatballs to sauce and simmer for 15 minutes, adding butter, salt and pepper the last 5 minutes. Stir until butter is melted. This gives the sauce a real richness.

Prepare risotto according to package directions, adding butter and Pecorino Romano cheese. Stir well and remove from heat. To serve, fill large martini glasses halfway with risotto and top with sauce and meatballs. Garnish with reserved cheese and a fresh rosemary sprig. Serve with a glass of red wine and lots of love!

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