Vesuvius Rigatoni

I have not had a food crush like this in a while. I was watching a tv show about Italian street food and saw this dish and cooked it the next day. I even found a recipe for it online in Italian and translated it to English to find out what exactly was in this dish. I didn’t make the recommended sauces for it (in small part because I didn’t have tomatoes from the foothills of Mount Vesuvius) so I topped it with Julie’s Pasta Sauce. Also, they originally baked these at 300 degrees in aluminum tins lined with plastic wrap but I just used a 6-count nonstick muffin tin instead and it worked great. I’m still very unsure about the whole plastic-wrap-in-the-oven-thing. I tried researching the details about such a thing with inconclusive results. Ok, back to the fun part. To make this dish you will need to dice up a log of fresh mozzarella, mix together grean peas and ricotta cheese (I ended up using about 8 oz.), make mini meatballs (I made simple mini turkey meatballs by combining 1lb. lean ground turkey, one egg, breadcrumbs to texture, garlic powder, salt, and freshly ground black pepper), and boil large rigatoni pasta for 4 minutes. Trust the four minute cooking time and do not worry about stopping the cooking process of the pasta once drained. 4 minutes is perfect.

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Meatball Sandwiches

The other day, I made really simple and easy-to-make meatballs. I make a few different kinds of meatballs depending on how I feel and how much work I want to do. Sometimes I stuff meatballs with cheese. Sometimes I throw minced onion and garlic into the mix. This time however, I just mixed in some garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and dried italian seasoning into a pound of ground beef. Whenever I am making meatballs, I mix in a couple of eggs then add breadcrumbs as needed until the mixture is sticky, not wet. Of course you could pan fry your meatballs but consider putting them in a 325 degree oven on a baking sheet for 20 minutes or so.

Most of the time, I actually prefer the dark brown, evenly crisp exterior of baked meatballs to the extra crispy pan-fried meatballs. Also, I don’t have to babysit the meatballs the whole cooking time and I’m putting them in sauce before serving anyways. So I made a shit-ton of meatballs for spaghetti and leftovers. I considered doing a different pasta dish with the leftovers but then settled upon sandwiches. I just picked up a couple rolls from a local deli, cut them, and scooped out some of the bread on the top to create a nice pocket for the mozzarella. I also put some mozzarella on the bottom piece and put them both in the toaster oven until the cheese melted. Then I just scooped on the meatballs that had been simmering in some sauce and that’s it. I’m getting really hungry just looking at this picture again, those sandwiches were so good.