For those that live alone or have a travelling spouse, this recipe is for you. My husband is a pilot in the Air Force and is gone more often than I’d like to acknowledge. For the longest time I would eat terrible frozen foods that taste like rubber when he was away. One Lean Cuisine too many and I eventually progressed into cooking for myself. The meals started out simple and boring because I dreaded a kitchen with more than one dish to clean. Even keeping the meals basic, I still found myself putting too much energy into the cooking and cleaning (my husband does all of the washing when he is home). Recently it dawned on me… why not cook one meal that progressively gets better through out the week? Cook for three nights in one, dishes to clean only once, and easily microwavable. The flavors in soups and sauces actually fully develop a day or two after the initial creation.
The recipe below is my take on a traditional marinara sauce with the volume turned up on my home-made meatballs with pesto. I added a nutty basil infused sauce to create concentrated flavors and added moisture. The longer the pesto infused meatballs hang out in the tomato based pool, the more tender and tasty they become. I recommend using a pork, veal, and beef blend for maximum flavor and to keep the meat from falling apart. Both the pesto and tomato sauce recipes can be doubled or even tripled and stored for later use in the freezer.
Wine Pairing: Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. A medium bodied red from Italy that stands up beautifully to the acid in tomato sauces. A rich purplish color, plums and spice on the palate, and a velvety texture. Watch out Chianti, Montepulciano may become even hotter than your Sangiovese based table pleaser! Nicodemi Montepulciano is my favorite.
- 20 oz can crushed tomato
- 1 medium white onion chopped
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 small red chili pepper minced(optional for extra spice)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 3 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
- 1/4 cup fresh parmesan
- 1 lb spaghetti
Saute onions, chili pepper, and garlic in olive oil over medium heat in a deep pot until soft. Add salt and pepper to season. Add red wine and cook for a few minutes. Pour can of tomatoes and oregano into pot. Reduce heat to medium low and let cook for about 30 minutes. In last few minutes add parmesan. Meanwhile, bring salted pot of water to a boil and cook spaghetti noodles until al dente. Serve with sauce and meatballs.
- 1 lb pork, veal, beef blend(can substitute ground turkey or lean beef)
- 1 egg
- 1/2 white onion chopped and sautéed
- 1 clove garlic minced and sautéed
- 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
- salt and pepper
- Pesto: 1/4 cup walnuts, 4-5 cups fresh basil, 1 clove garlic, salt, 1/4 cup olive oil – blend in food processor
In a food processor, create pesto. Scoop sauce out of the processor. Add the meat, sautéed onion and garlic, egg, salt, and pepper to blend. Pulse a few times. Create meatballs and put a tsp of pesto in the center of each. Dust Panko breadcrumbs over all of them. In a medium pan, heat oil to medium high. Work in batches and cook for a few minutes on each side. Drop into sauce to finish cooking. Let soak in the sauce for about 20 minutes. Serve with al dente spaghetti.