Sausage Ricotta Meatball Bake

 

Serves 4 to 6

 

Ingredients:

For the Sausage Ricotta Meatballs

1 cup fresh breadcrumbs

1 cup ricotta cheese

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1 egg, beaten

1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon ground black pepper ‘

1-pound ground Italian pork sausage

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

 

For the Basil Pomodoro Sauce

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 small yellow onion, finely diced

4 large cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

One 28-ounce can Italian crushed tomatoes

1/4 cup fresh basil, chiffonade

1 teaspoon sugar

Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

8 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated  

 

Directions:

To prepare the meatballs, preheat the oven to 400° F. Add the breadcrumbs to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, and pulse until finely ground. Place breadcrumbs in a large mixing bowl. Add the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, egg, parsley, fennel, oregano and pepper and stir to combine.

Add the sausage meat and gently stir again. Form meat into roughly 2-inch meatballs and place in a 10” cast iron skillet.

Bake in preheated oven until cooked through, about 20 minutes. Remove meatballs from the skillet and set aside on a plate. Let skillet cool for about 5 minutes and leave oven on.

For the sauce, return the skillet to medium heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Turn heat down to low and add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook just until garlic is fragrant and nutty but not browning, about 1 minute.

Add the tomatoes to the skillet and stir. Bring the sauce to a simmer over medium-low heat and cook until sauce is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Add the basil and sugar, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the meatballs back to the skillet and stir to coat with the sauce. Top the meatballs with the mozzarella and Parmesan cheese and place the preheated oven. Bake until cheese is melted and bubbling, about 10 minutes.

 

Cook’s Notes:

Short Cuts

For a quick and easy way to make this dish, use frozen meatballs of your choice and cook according to the package directions. Set aside.

Add one  28-ounce jar of prepared  marinara or spaghetti sauce to a 10″ cast iron skillet and heat over medium high heat. Stir in crushed red pepper flakes and fennel seeds. Reduce heat to medium low and bring the sauce to a simmer. Cook until sauce is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Add the basil and sugar, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the meatballs to the skillet and stir to coat with the sauce. Top the meatballs with the mozzarella and Parmesan cheese and place in a 400 F preheated oven. Bake until cheese is melted and bubbling, about 10 minutes.

 

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Harissa Spiced Honey Roasted Chicken Thighs with Persimmons and Lemons

This spicy harissa and persimmon chicken is a little sweet, a little spicy, and packed with flavor! It’s the perfect one-skillet winter meal!

Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the Marinade:
1 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1-4 teaspoons harissa dry seasoning or paste, to taste
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

For the Chicken:
4 to 5 bone in, skin on chicken thighs
Salt and ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup white wine
1 large shallot, sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 to 4 fuyu persimmons, sliced
2 lemons, sliced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary,finely minced
1/4 cup water

 

DIrections:
In a small bowl, whisk together all of the marinade ingredients. Place the chicken in a shallow dish or Ziploc bag, cover with the marinade and toss to coat. Let marinate for 1 hour at room temperature. For best results, allow the chicken marinate in the fridge overnight, just be sure to let it come to room temperature for an hour before cooking.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Heat the olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.Shake off excess marinade before searing the chickenm but do not wipe it all off as that’s what gives you the flavorful crust Sear the chicken for 3-4 minutes on each side or until there is a golden brown crust. Remove from the skillet and place ona clean plate and set aside.

Pour in the wine to deglaze the skillet, then add in the thyme, rosemary, garlic shallots, persimmons and lemons. Add the water. Return the chicken back to the skillet and place the skillet in the oven. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through to an internal temperature of 160°F and the skin is crisped.

Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

 

 

Cook’s Notes:

Yogurt:
You can substitute the Greek yogust with plain full fat yogurt.

Chicken:
Chicken Breasts can be used in place of the chicken thighs, if desired.


Persimmons:
There are two main types of persimmons that you’re likely to see at the grocery store between October and Januray, hachiya and fuyu.

Hachiya persimmons are elongated and shaped like a heart or acorn, they are very astringent, like quince, before they are ripe You don’t want to eat them unless they are extremely soft to the touch (almost soupy on the inside).

Fuyu persimmons are shaped like a tomato like the ones above in the photo, and have a delicately sweet flavor similar to peaches. They can be eaten when they are still very firm and are still delicious when they soften.For this recipe, you would want them on the firmer side.

Note that persimmons that are very firm will last at home for about two weeks if stored in the crisper draw in the fridge.


Shiitake Mushroom and Pesto Linguine with Spinach

I love mushrooms so much, that this recipe uses two kinds in this dish: your workaday standard creminis and somewhat-exotic shiitakes. These umami vessels are joined by healthy spinach, savory sun-dried tomatoes, and herbaceous, flavor-eous pesto. It’s all twirled together with pasta that makes for an easy-peasy, maximum flavor meal just when you need it.

 

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 oz. Cremini Mushrooms, sliced 1/4 inch
  • 3 oz. Shiitake Mushrooms, stemmed and sliced 1/4 inch
  • 1 Shallot, peeled and thinly sliced.
  • 4 oz. Baby Spinach
  • 5 oz. Linguine
  • 1 oz. Julienned Sun-Dried Tomatoes
  • ¼ cup Basil Pesto (See Cook’s Notes. Recipe Follows Below.)
  • 1 small plum or Roma tomato, sliced
  • 1 oz. Shredded Asiago Cheese
  • Salt  and Ground Black Pepper, to taste

 

Directions:

Bring 8 cups water and 2 teaspoons salt to a boil in a medium pot. Once water is boiling, add pasta and cook until al dente, 9-11 minutes. Reserve ¼ cup pasta cooking water. Drain pasta in a colander. DO NOT RINSE THE PASTA. Set aside.

While pasta cooks, brown mushrooms. Place a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, cremini mushrooms, and shiitake mushrooms to the hot pan. Stir occasionally until well-browned, 4-5 minutes.

Add shallot to pan. Stir occasionally until tender, 1-2 minutes. Stir in the spinach reserved pasta cooking water, sun-dried tomatoes, a pinch of salt salt, and ¼ teaspoons black pepper. Cook until spinach wilts, 2-3 minutes.

Add the pasta and pesto to pan and stir to combine.

To serve, add the finished pasta to a large bowl, garnishing with Asiago and sliced tomatoes.

 

Bon appétit!

 

 

 

Cook’s Notes:

Pesto is a mouthful of bright brightness. You can buy it in a jar , found in  the refrigerator section of your grocery story, but there is nothing better than making it yourself. Fresh basil can be found in abundance at farmers’ markets in the summer. Just clean, take the stems off and throw the leaves in a food processor with nuts and garlic. Dribble in the oil and you’ve got a versatile sauce for pasta, chicken or fish.

Yields 2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves (no stems)
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts or walnuts
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

 

Directions:

  1. Combine basil leaves, pine nuts or walnuts and garlic in a food processor and process until very finely minced.
  2. With the machine running slowly dribble in the oil and process until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Add the cheese and process very briefly, just long enough to combine. Store in refrigerator or freezer.

 

Hello Friends!

All photographs and content, excepted where noted, are copyright protected. Please do not use these photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this photograph and all other contents, then we kindly ask that you link back to this site. We are eternally grateful and we appreciate your support of this blog.

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