Archive for the ‘Italian & Pasta’ Category
Ah summer… the sun is shining, days seem longer and gardens are producing tons of fresh fruits and veggies. There is nothing better than garden fresh veggies. Crisp peppers, corn on the cob, zucchini for days and vine ripened tomatoes. However living in Pittsburgh we have all but a brief window of time where we can grow our own veggies like that. Nothing is better than homemade pasta sauce with garden fresh garlic, herbs and those juicy tomatoes. Well thankfully RAGÚ came out with their new Homestyle pasta sauces! You can get garden fresh taste with that rich homestyle way just like Nonna! So when the great folks from RAGÚ reached out to me to check out their new RAGÚ Homestyle pasta sauces I was ecstatic. You see RAGÚ Homestyle pasta sauce is about tradition, family and amazing flavors. So today I’m sharing with you my Italian Veggie Stuffed Zucchini Boats Starring Ragu Homestyle Thick & Hearty Pasta Sauce. Get on the boat to YUMVILLE with this dish!
This time around I decided to go with their Homestyle Thick & Hearty Roasted Garlic pasta sauce. Since this dish was meatless I really wanted to give the veggie filling tons of flavors. This sauce was the perfect way to go! Rich, thick, bold and the roasted garlic flavor was amazing!
For me I tend to associate foods with memories. I grew up in a house where Mom and Dad were always in the kitchen laughing, dancing, singing and whipping up something to feed us 6 kids. Mom had her go-to dinner rituals. Sundays were pot roast, Wednesday was spaghetti, Friday was pizza and Saturday was leftovers turned into something truly amazing. Since Mom wasn’t Italian she left the sauce up to the great folks from RAGÚ. Just the other day as I was blogging out a pot roast recipe and how amazing it smelled it immediately triggered a memory from when I was 8 years old. I could vividly what I was doing, the fact that I got hurt jumping off the swing and how she pretty much flew down by my side before I could get the first tear down my cheek. As she consoled me and wrapped me in her arms the way only a mother could we walked up towards the house I could smell her Sunday pot roast. Some 30+ years later as I stood in my kitchen smelling my pot roast I immediately got a smile on my face.
I was making her dish, carrying on her traditions. When I met Mr. Fantabulous I gained an amazing Italian family. Mama Fantabulous took me under her wing and shared with me their traditions of which a good many of them centered around foods. She shared with me their amazing pasta recipes and more importantly shared with me the stories of how these dishes came to be. So when the great folks from RAGÚ reached out to me to check out their new RAGÚ Homestyle pasta sauces I was ecstatic. You see RAGÚ Homestyle pasta sauce is about tradition, family and amazing flavors. For me that’s the perfect combination to make great memories!
Marrying into an Italian family, you learn a lot about tradition, family and dreams. Often there is that patriarch of the family; that one person that essentially ‘started it all’. When the good folks from Ragu® reached out to me they taught me their patriarch, Assunta Cantisano. Assunta made the voyage from Italy to America with a little something extra up her sleeve, her family’s recipe for tomato sauce– a secret and sublime combination of vine-ripened tomatoes, fresh basil, fennel, garlic and ground pepper, meticulously writing down every detail and hiding it for safe passage. She must have known she was onto something when the neighbor’s raved about it. Then the neighbor’s neighbors. Word spread, and when people in Iowa started grabbing it off the shelves, well, the legend was off and running.
Chicken meatballs aren’t something new here. When I introduced my Margarita Chicken Meatballs to my Stuffed Buffalo Chicken Meatballs with Cheesy Ranch Centers you guys went nuts! Then you guys asked for a super healthy version and who I am to deny you? Thus came my Protein Packed Chicken Parmesan Florentine Meatballs. These meatballs are not only super healthy and packed with protein but they are friggen delicious! I’ve been preaching to you all for years.. eating healthy doesn’t have to taste bad! You should never have to sacrifice taste for making food healthy!
Heck I’ve created so many meatballs recipes on here that it has it’s only subcategory on the website!
A few weeks ago I shared with you my latest meatball recipe, Mozzarella Stuffed Italian Meatballs made with beef and pork. These seriously stopped both Mr. Fantabulous and I in our tracks. See while he likes cheese he doesn’t “love it”. I know he’s a weirdo but he’s sexy and can lift super heavy stuff so I keep him around. LOL Please… I adore that man and would be lost without him! But when it comes to cheese he can either love it leave it. Me, on the other hand, has an entire fridge drawer dedicated to just cheese. So when I decided to make a batch of meatballs I wanted to incorporate some cheesy awesomeness into them. Just by stuffing some cheese in the middle the outcome was so incredible that I may just permanently switch to making my meatballs this way for when I make meatball subs. For him I won’t have to add extra cheese on top (again he’s weird) and for me I’ll get a double whammy of cheese… cheese in the middle and cheese on top! WIN WIN!
So I have a confession. I’ve been holding out on you with this recipe. Well okay actually 2 recipes.. this beef and pork version and a chicken version (coming up soon). I have had it in my repertoire for some time that I had every intention of sharing with you but I got side tracked and ultimately I forgot about it. See at times when I have a ton going on at once I can be that person that you can be having a full, deep conversation with and out of the corner of my eye I spy something shiny. I will immediately lose focus and follow the sparkly thing. It doesn’t happen often but I’m human and it has happened. Well this is one of those times. It was like “so I think that the ITIL standard should be where we require…” SQUIRREL! and immediately I’ve ended mid sentence to concentrate on the other item.
I think as humans we all get distracted for various reasons – overworked, tired, sexy stranger, baby crying, laughter or if you’re like me… shiny/glittery things. LOL Well these Mozzarella Stuffed Italian Meatballs will surely catch your eye and distract you from whatever you are doing. Those delicate little juicy meatballs just exploding with melty cheese will trump whatever you’re concentrating on every time. How can you not be drawn into these luscious little browned bits of heaven; so juicy, so tender. And just barely peeking out is that melty, ooey gooey cheese molten like a river of lava cheese.
Well these caught my eye but more importantly they caught the eye of Mr. Fantabulous. He had come into the house after working in his shop for hours starving and tired. I had just pulled these babies out of the oven and they were at their peak. He came in complaining about the weather (he is so not a cold weather person), that damn stupid rooster from next door that cannot tell friggen time (crow at sunrise, not all friggen day and night – stupid thing!) and that he was starving. I mean he went a whole 4 hours without eating or a snack. Inhumane I know! But wait, let me go back to that damn stupid rooster. Wait, let me go a bit further…. roosters as in more than 1 stupid thing that serves ZERO purpose other than to make more chickens/roosters.