With the holidays, my father’s passing, and my daughter leaving to go off to school, I haven’t been on the ball like usual with my planning meals and cooking. It seems like forever since I posted a Rachael Ray Wednesday recipe or a Food Star Friday. So yesterday, as I was scanning my email, I read one from my subscription to the Rachael Ray Show mailing. It was for a pork roast. BING the light bulb went of in my head…I have a pork roast in my freezer!!
Yay I found a recipe for my Rachael Ray Wednesday post!! All I needed were the peppers and I was good to go. So I asked Kevin to pick peppers up for me on the way home from work. It was funny how excited I was to make this meal. Like I said I am easily amused at times and it was a nice feeling to be so happy about cooking again.
Once I got down to the business of cooking I started to realize that I wanted to change a few things up in the recipe (of course) so this isn’t Rachael’s recipe as it was written. I am sure it would have been fantastic without the changes, but I can tell you that with the changes I made it was so good! My kitchen smelled amazing, the kids kept asking when dinner was going to be done because it smelled so good. It took 40 minutes to cook so Kevin and I went in the hot tub while we were waiting. The fan for the stove blows right out by the hot tub and we were both watching the timer because it was making our tummies rumble.
Once the roast was out and sliced I had people hovering around waiting for me to take pictures so they could dive in. Having a food blogger in the house can be a pain at times. I think this would have made wonderful leftovers but it never made it that far. The plate was clear in about 15 minutes! There was left over pepper sauce so Kevin sliced up some sausage and mixed it in to have a lunch for today. The pepper sauce is fantastic over rice too.
With Thanksgiving past and Christmas on the horizon I was a bit shocked when Kevin suggested we make a turkey this week. We were just wandering around the grocery store picking up a few items when we stumbled upon the turkeys and they were on sale. He looked at me and said, “Do you want to make a turkey?”. I don’t know why it seemed strange to me at first to make a turkey at any other time of year besides the holidays, but the foodie in me kicked in and my response was “Heck ya!”. I knew it would give me the opportunity to try a new way of roasting my turkey.
I have to admit to the fact that, even though I am adventurous in writing new recipes and changing up old ones, I have never altered the way I make my turkey. It is the same way my grandfather and my mother made it. I guess it just seemed like a tradition (or laziness….let’s go with tradition though because it sounds better).
I was watching the show The Chew and they had one episode where all of the stars made their own version of roasted turkey. All of them sounded wonderful but one of them used a compound butter and that set off the light bulb in my head. A while back I made a chicken with compound butter up under the skin and it was fabulous! I have no idea why I never connected that wonderful experience with a turkey. I mean really? A turkey is just a big chicken right? OK, I decided to roll up my sleeves and give it a try.
Oh, one of the best parts about this recipe? No basting!! The butter bastes the turkey and crisps the skin.
I chose this recipe because Kevin’s daughter was coming for dinner and she had told me she like spaghetti. I was excited to find something that I could cook that would not only make her happy, but also be from the “365 No Repeats” book. Unfortunately she didn’t make it for dinner, but we liked what we had.
Sometimes the ingredients that Rachael puts in her recipes drive me crazy. I know she says that she lives in a small town and her store carries these things but my stores a lot of the time DON’T, and that makes me nuts. I mean nuttier than I already am. The one in this recipe was the bucatini pasta. I had seen her use this pasta on 30 Minute Meals and thought it would be interesting however, I hadn’t been able to find pappardelle pasta anywhere until just recently. I was determined to not be negative about the hunt for this elusive pasta and off I went into the gray skies and drizzle to complete my quest.
As I began to scour the pasta isle of the store, I started getting more and more depressed thinking I was not going to be able to find a major part of this meal (I mean it is in the name of the recipe for God’s sake!) I had to be able to find this pasta! Out of the corner of my eye I spotted a pasta that looked like spaghetti but much thicker. Ok I knew bucatini is this hollow spaghetti so I snatched up the bag like it was a pot of gold. Much to my dismay, when I turned the package over the pasta was called perciatelli. My smile fell and my frustration grew. I must have gone through every single type of pasta they had at the store, and was just about to give up and buy regular spaghetti and issue my apologies when a light bulb went off in my head. I grabbed my trusty iPhone and jumped on Google. I did a search for perciatelle pasta and the very first one said perciatelli a fun spaghetti like noodle with a tiny hole running through it YAY!!! DING DING DING I found it. After I did my little happy dance, and the lady down the isle looked at me like I shouldn’t be drinking this early in the day. I purchased my little treasure and away we went, home to make a wonderful meal with this exciting new treat. I know it is crazy that I am this excited about pasta right? I need to get out more.
I followed this recipe very closely. I think that the meatballs need another egg or less bread crumbs because mine had a hard time staying together. They also need to cook longer in the oven. I cooked mine for the exact amount of time the recipe said and they were not cooked all the way through. My answer to that was to place them in with the sauce and cover the pot so they could finish cooking that way. It didn’t help the problem of them not staying in one piece, in fact it probably added to the problem, but they were nicely cooked and took on a lot of the sauce, which we all really liked. All in all we felt it was very tasty. The bucatini pasta was fun. We all acted like little kids slurping sauce through the noodles. I like any recipe that makes you have fun!
I really need to get some different plates, the plain white is getting boring for all of the pictures. Although it does make the food the focus, so we will see.
- coarse salt
- 1 pound bucatini (thick hollow spaghetti)
- 1 1/2 pounds extra lean ground beef
- 6 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 egg
- 1/2 to 2/3 cup Italian style bread crumbs ( a couple of overflowing handfuls)
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus some to pass at the table
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- fresh black pepper
- 3 tablespoons EVOO, plus some for drizzling
- 1 small to medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup dry red wine
- 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes, San Marzano variety if available
- 1/2 fresh flat leaf parsley leaves, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
- 3 tablespoons capers, drained and chopped
- 1/4 pound pancetta, chopped
- 12 cremini (baby portabello) mushrooms caps, chopped
- 1/2 beef stock
Preheat the oven to 400. Heat a large pot of water to a boil.
Heat a deep skillet over medium heat. Cook onions in 1 tablespoon of the EVOO for 5 minutes. Remove the onions and set them aside to cool. In a large bowl, mix the meat with half of the onions, 3 cloves of the chopped garlic, the egg, bread crumbs, cheese, allspice, capers, sage, a handful of chopped parsley, salt, pepper, and a healthy drizzle of EVOO. Score the meat into 4 sections and make three very large balls from each section. Arrange the 12 balls on a nonstick cookie sheet and roast for 15 minutes until firm, but not hard.
Add salt to the boiling water and drop the bucatini in, cook to al dente. Drain the pasta.
While the pasta and meatballs are cooking, heat another tablespoon of the EVOO in the skillet in which the onions were cooked. Add the pancetta and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, then add the remaining garlic and the mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes. Season the mushrooms with salt and pepper. Add the remaining onions back and deglaze the pan with the red wine, cook for 1 minute, add the beef stock, and whisk up any brown bits. Stir in the tomatoes and season the sauce with salt and pepper. Stir in the remaining parsley. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Toss the pasta with half of the sauce. Remove the meatballs from the oven and add to the remaining sauce, turning to coat. Serve 3 meatballs per person alongside the pasta. Spoon any remaining sauce over the pasta. Pass extra cheese at the table. Serve with a green salad.
WOW!! That is a mouthful! When I first read this recipe I had to double check to make sure that I was reading the right one. This just seemed like a very difficult, loooooooooong recipe. Don’t get me wrong, it sounded awesome, but it just looked very difficult. True it does seem to be the most complex Rachael recipe I have done of so far. But the work sure pays off in the end. Plus I have the world’s greatest sous chef/boyfriend (thank Goodness!!).
Like I said, this is a long recipe, so don’t let the length of it, or amount of pans you will have going at once, scare you off. I was really quite proud of myself once I got it going. My nerves gave way and then I was just downright excited to get it done and in my belly!
Kevin and I prepped everything before hand, so I really didn’t cook the “Rachael way” for this one. I just figured if all of the prep work was done BEFORE I started cooking I would be less stressed out about getting everything in the right pan at the right time.
Again a recipe that called for turkey cutlets, and again not a turkey cutlet to be found in the whole town. Luckily for me the store had some HUGE chicken breasts on sale. I needed 12 cutlets, so I grabbed 3 of the gigantic breasts and tracked down my friendly butcher to get them sliced into 4 cutlets each.
Once I got them home it was really easy to pound them out for the roll-ups. I will admit that I doubled up on the prosciutto for each roll-ups. I just like that saltiness it adds and since there is no cheese I figured a little more wouldn’t hurt. I have a huge sage plant in my backyard, so I was able to get some nice large sage leaves to put into the roll-ups. I really wanted to make sure there was a bit of sage in each bite and sometimes the sage leaves in the store bought packages can be a bit wimpy.
After we got all of the roll-ups completed and seasoned we set them aside so we could get everything else prepped. That really didn’t take very long, not as long as I thought it would after looking at the recipe, so we were in business and ready to rock and roll. We followed the timing on the recipe pretty close so everything came out yummy and warm ready to be eaten at the same time, which was my big fear. The only thing I did different was to leave the ragout over low heat while I finished the roll-ups and cooked the spinach.
Everyone LOVED this one. It was not only tasty but the roll-ups were really pretty. The cutlets were juicy and the gravy was soooo yummy. I am surprised however that anyone else got any of the mushroom and white bean ragout because I was nibbling away at it while it cooked. One of the perks about being the chef!
So with all of the votes in I really think this is one you should give a try. It is a nice meal to make when you have a couple friends over. One that will make them think you are so fancy and slaved away cooking, but it is our secret that you didn’t.