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7 Best Pasta Cake Recipes

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spaghetti-cake-recipe

What are Pasta Cakes?

Cake for lunch or dinner? Why not? Let’s explore how a mealtime staple gets turned into something fun to eat, just by changing its preparation. A pasta cake is part lasagna / part pasta dish, but mostly, simple to prepare. With the following recipes you’ll get a chance to see the different methods for making pasta into a “cake”.

Isn’t that that same thing as a Pasta Bake?

‘Pasta cakes’ are similar to ‘pasta bakes’, except they hold their shape much like a cake would. So the difference is that a pasta bake is when the pasta ingredients are placed into the oven, usually in a baking pan. They tend to be saucy and need to be served using a spoon. But pasta cakes retain their shape, can be sliced into pieces, and they are baked in and held together using different methods: like the shape of what you bake it in, or using eggier recipes.


Pasta cakes are only limited to your imagination. After testing these recipes, you could put your own spin on them and make virtually any of your favorite pasta dishes into a pasta cake! They are a wonderful twist on our favorite pastas and even make leftovers still pretty to look at! Virtually any flavorful pasta dish can be modified to become a pasta cake. Feeding large groups can sometimes be a challenge and these recipes make pasta cakes a fun and easy way to feed a hungry army. Here are a few of our favorites that we’d like to share.

1. Martha Stewart’s Pasta Cake

Video Courtesy of Martha Stewart

Our first recipe is a meatless, yet rich and tasty version of the pasta cake. Martha Stewart explores a more eggy version of the pasta cake which leads this one to be more rich in flavor and very filling. With its spinach and egg base, it is a subtle nod to a quiche. Due to the structure of the pasta cake needing to be firm, this is not a saucy dish, but rather a dense and sliceable one with nice flavors.


The pecorino and the ricotta add a tanginess to the cake that makes it a yummy take on a pasta bake. The pretty cake-like presentation, along with the creaminess of the ricotta and nutmeg, up this recipe to being worthy of a date night meal. But its simple ingredients and easy preparation, make this recipe enjoyable for a family as well.

  • Coarse salt
  • 1 pound ziti pasta
  • 1 roasted red pepper, stemmed, seeded, and coarsely chopped
  • One 16-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 6 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 basil leaves, torn
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated pecorino cheese
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Get the full recipe and directions from Martha Stewart

2. Spaghetti Cake

spaghetti-cake-recipe
Photo courtesy of Tesco

Our next recipe takes a family favorite and changes its shape and texture to create a wonderful and fun take on spaghetti. Spaghetti is a staple in many homes and this is a great way to change it up and make it a unique weeknight meal or a special event dish. With simple ingredients (including the always crowd favorite- bacon), along with its portability, this makes a perfect dish for potlucks! The sharpness of the cheddar and the smokiness of the bacon make this normally everyday dish feel a bit special. This would be great served at an event due to its presentation, and ability to be made in large batches. 

  • 150ml (5fl oz) half-fat crème fraiche
  • 150ml (5fl oz) single cream
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 2 tbsp finely grated Parmesan
  • 60g (2oz) mature cheddar, grated
  • 300g spaghetti
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 6 rashers smoked streaky bacon, chopped
  • 200g (7oz) baby-leaf spinach
  • 50g cherry tomatoes, halved

Get the full recipe and directions from Tesco

3. Jamie Oliver’s Carbonara Cake

jamie-olivers-carbonara-cake
Photo courtesy of Jamie Oliver

The carbonara cake recipe (from Jamie Oliver) is easily our most decadent of the recipe options. This is because its made with 3 of our favorite melty cheeses (such as Gruyère, cheddar, parmesan) and heavy cream to help hold its shape. While the specific recipe calls for ham, it really could easily be adapted to become vegetarian or make use of seasonal vegetables you might have on hand.


I also feel this one might be the most spectacular once unveiled depending on the height of the pan you use. Once popped out of the mold, the crispy outside reveals a creamy inside. You can amaze your guests or family with a beautiful presentation with not too much added effort.

  • 300 g dried spaghetti
  • olive oil
  • 100 g hard cheese, such as Parmesan, Cheddar, Gruyère
  • 3 large free-range eggs
  • 250 ml double cream
  • 250 g cooked smoked higher-welfare ham
  • 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary

Get the full recipe and directions from Jamie Oliver

4. Capellini Cakes (Capellini al Forno)

capellini-cakes
Photo courtesy of The Food Network

Of all of our favorite recipes, the capellini cake is the one that has the most layered-cake look! And with the layers of prosciutto and the sprinkling of breadcrumbs to finish this off, this just might feel the most like you are partaking in an actual cake.


Although this is a pasta dish, the amount of meat makes it a hearty meal for the hungriest of eaters. They won’t feel like they’ve missed out on their protein with this dish. What sets this apart from the other dishes is the crispy bread-crumbed topping which adds such a great texture. This savory, yet visually very cake-like version is truly a delight to eat!

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing pan 
  • 1 pound capellini (angel hair) pasta 
  • 1 cup plus 1/2 cup grated Parmesan 
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature, beaten 
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt 
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1 cup plain breadcrumbs 
  • 1 pound prosciutto, sliced 1/8-inch thick and coarsely chopped 
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded smoked mozzarella 
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1 (25-ounce) jar marinara or tomato-basil sauce, warmed 

Get the full recipe and directions from The Food Network

5. Scallop Ceviche on Black Pasta Cakes with Cilantro Salsa

Scallop-ceviche-on-black-pasta-cakes-with-cilantro-salsa
Photo courtesy of Epicurious

While this has pasta in the form of little cakes, this is by far the most different of the recipes, not only because it’s an appetizer, but also because it has ceviche and salsa! These small beauties are super fancy and a very elegant way to serve ceviche.

In this particular recipe, squid ink pasta (with its dark black color), contrasts beautifully with the white scalloped ceviche. The pasta cakes are a fun canvas for nearly any topping as a fun appetizer for any dinner party. Your friends will think you’ve hired a private chef!

For Ceviche

  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced white onion
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 fresh jalapeño chile, sliced, including seeds
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 24 medium sea scallops (1 1/4 pound), tough muscles removed from sides if necessary and scallops halved horizontally

For Pasta Cakes

  • 6 ounce black (squid ink) angel’s hair pasta
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • About 1 cup olive or vegetable oil

For Cilantro Salsa

  • 1/2 cup minced white onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh tomatillos
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped tomato
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh jalapeño chile, including seeds
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Get the full recipe and directions from Epicurious

6. Broccoli and Cheese Cupcakes

broccoli-cheese-pasta-cupcakes
Photo courtesy of Betty Crocker

Probably the most playful and kid-friendly of the recipes, this might just be the way to get your pickiest eater to eat broccoli! While family friendly, these could also make a cute appetizer or addition to a potluck or dinner party too.


The ingredients are those that we might have in the freezer and fridge at any time, so they make a great way to jazz up a weekday meal or bring for a last minute gathering as they are portable and perfect service sized. It’s also great for those days when you don’t have time to make lunch, and just need a little snack to hold you over. Just zap them in the microwave for 30 seconds, and you’re good to go!

  • 6. Broccoli and Cheese Pasta Cupcakes
  • 2 cups uncooked rigatoni pasta (6 oz)
  • 1box (10 oz) frozen broccoli & cheese sauce
  • ¼ cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup fat-free (skim) milk
  • ¼ teaspoon dried basil leaves
  • 6 foil baking cups

Get the full recipe and directions from Betty Crocker

7. Tagliatelle Cake with Shrimp

tagliatelle-pasta-cake-with-shrimp
Photo courtesy of La Cucina Italiana

This particular recipe could really be classified as pie more than a cake only because there is a crust on this one, but it still ends up looking like slices of cake once cut.  This one is a bit more labor intensive since you need to knead the dough – which ends up being a nice cheesy and crispy outer layer of this dish.


Another beautiful presentation, this one has more color than the others with the shrimp and broccoli as the top layer, so this would be a ‘wow’ type dish to bring to a potluck! I think the crust on this one would make it a very different take on the pasta cake and it would be worth the effort!

  • 14 oz of shrimp 
  • 350 G of tagliatelle 
  • 2 1/8 C. of flour 
  • 11 OZ. of broccoli florets
  • 2/3 C. of salted butter 
  • 1/3 C. of cream 
  • 1 of shallot Parmigiano Reggiano PDO cheese 
  • Thyme 
  • Dry white wine
  • Extra virgin olive oil 
  • Salt and Pepper

Get the full recipe and directions from La Cucina Italiana


As much fun as it’s been to talk about turning pasta into cakes, this rounds out our list. With different styles that would work for date night, parties, entertaining, or even a weekday meal, which recipe would you be tempted to try first and have your first taste of a pasta cake?  I am sure that whoever is eating would be excited when they hear you will be serving a pasta cake for a meal!

If you liked these recipes we also recommend checking out on of our favorite pasta dishes, Alison Roman’s Shallot Pasta Recipe post.

best-pasta-cake-recipes

17 Tips for Alison Roman’s Shallot Pasta Recipe

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alison-romans-shallot-pasta

There aren’t many pasta dishes that we categorize as life-changing, but Alison Roman’s shallot pasta might be one of the few. If you’re looking for the full recipe for the caramelized shallot pasta, then look no further. We’ll also review why this pasta (particularly the sauce) is so addicting, and some of the best tricks and tips we’ve found along the way including vegan/vegetarian options and some great ideas for that leftover pasta sauce. We have a lot of great tips to uncover, so let’s dive into it!

The ‘Happy Accident’ of Caramelized Shallot Pasta

It’s so great to hear Alison’s recollection of how this pasta dish came to be. It was kind of a “happy accident” and boy, are we glad it occurred. It seems that she celebrates Christmas Eve with a group of family and friends every year, and one year the theme was ‘Feast of the Seven Fishes’ (which if you don’t know, is an Italian Christmas Eve tradition which consists of a huge seafood-themed meal).

She knew that people would bring a dozen of dishes with fish as the star so she wanted to focus on a fish-adjacent meal, more specifically, a pasta dish with anchovy in the sauce. The “happy accident” part occurred when she realized that they had an abundance of shallots. So lucky for us, the ‘anchovy pasta’ became the ‘shallot and anchovy pasta’, because honestly, we can’t imagine this pasta without one or the other.

Did you say there’s anchovies in this dish?

Yes, I did. And trust me, the sooner you get over that fact, the sooner you can enjoy the best pasta dish you’ll ever make at home. As you can probably tell I am not a fan of anchovies. And actually I hate to admit that I waited quite a long time debating if I should even try this recipe. It took months of reading so many rave reviews that I finally took the plunge and I’m so glad that I did.


You guys, this pasta sauce is so amazing and full of flavor that you can’t even tell there’s anchovy in it. This is likely because it’s balanced with the sweetness of the caramelized onions and the slight spice of the red pepper flakes. The anchovy isn’t at all fishy like I thought it would be, but it actually provides a deep umami flavor that I just cannot get over. Just try it once and trust me, you will want to slather this sauce all over everything you eat. Trust me on this!


But if for whatever reason you still can’t get over the anchovy’s presence, don’t worry, we got you covered. In our list of tips below we go over a couple of ways to minimize the anchovy taste, or substitute it altogether (which is especially great if you’re vegetarian / vegan but want to still try this recipe).

The Recipe

alison-roman-shallot-pasta
Courtesy of NY Times

Ingredients (Yields 4 Servings)

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 6 large shallots, sliced very thinly
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt and fresh black pepper
  • 1 tsp red-pepper flakes
  • 1, 2 oz can anchovy fillets (about 12 anchovies), drained but not rinsed
  • 1, 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 10 oz pasta (or just use the whole box, like we did!)
  • Parsley to top (optional)
  • Parmasean (optional)
  • Flaky salt (optional)

PREPARATION

  1. In a large heavy-bottomed Dutch, heat olive oil oven over medium high. Add garlic and shallots, seasoned with salt and pepper. Stirring occasionally, cook until the shallots are softened and caramelized, 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Add in anchovies and red-pepper flakes. (The anchovies will dissolve, so no need to chop them). Stir until the anchovies melt into the shallots, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add tomato paste, seasoned with salt and pepper. Let the tomato paste cook in the oil until it goes from bright red color to a deep brick color, about 2 minutes. Remove it from heat and put half the mixture in a resealable container, to store for a later use. (This will be leftovers to be used elsewhere)
  4. Follow the package instructions for the pasta that you’re using, until very al dente. Transfer to the Dutch/skillet oven with the remaining shallot mixture and add 1 cup of pasta water. Cook the noodles with the sauce over medium to high heat, until the sauce has reduced and is sticky, but not too saucy, 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine some finely chopped garlic clove and parsley, seasoned with flaky salt and pepper. Divide pasta among serving plates and top with the garlic and parsley mixture. Can also add a bit more red-pepper flakes.

Click here to view the recipe on NY Times – Cooking

Caramelizing the Shallots

shallots

1. Slice Shallots and Garlic Very Thinly

The first part of the recipe requires slicing the shallots and garlic before throwing them into the pan. The trick is to slice them as thin as possible – this will help them break down and caramelize evenly.

2. Use a Mandoline

mandoline-shallots
Photo Courtesy of Culinary Hill

If your knife skills are anything like mine, then that last tip of slicing the shallots and garlic thinly probably gave you a little bit of anxiety. I don’t know why, but I’m always concerned about slicing items thinly, especially when they’re small or don’t lay completely flat.


Also, you don’t need my knife-anxiety as an excuse to use a mandoline. They are also just great to use if you want consistency in your slices or to cut down on some of the prep time.

3. Dealing with “Crying Onion Eyes”

I have super sensitive eyes in general. But there’s nothing quite like slicing shallots and onions. Other than wearing googles, there aren’t too many things that can alleviate this for me. I’ve read that freezing the onions keeps the chemical ‘suberin’ from being released, which is what causes the eyes to burn. But for some reason I feel super guilty freezing ingredients when I have the option to only use fresh ingredients. Plus I honestly don’t know how the process of caramelizing frozen onions will go, and it’s not a risk I’m willing to take.

The best thing that’s worked personally for me is to put my dining table ceiling fan on high, and slice my onions/shallots directly underneath it. This doesn’t get rid of the crying completely but I feel like it helps a lot.

4. Use Medium-Low Heat

low-heat
Photo Courtesy of Point & Click Appliance

The recipe states to use medium-high heat, but I honestly feel like this will cause the shallots to burn. The process of caramelization is a purposefully slow and drawn-out process. Trying to speed this up will only take away from the shallots full flavor potential.

5. Sprinkle in a Pinch of Salt

Sprinkling salt over the shallots will help draw out the water and dissolved sugars. While drawing out the water might make the browning process take a little bit longer, it’s worth this extra time cause you’ll get a better flavor profile and a more even caramelization.

6. Deglaze the Pan with Stock

deglazing-pan
Photo Courtesy of We Like to Cook

When you’re caramelizing any alliums (onions or shallots), you can deglaze the pan with a small amount of stock (chicken, beef, or vegetable). I will usually place the stock on a different burner to warm it up, then will add a little bit of it to the caramelization pan when the sugars start to stick to the bottom of the pan. Deglazing the pan will keep your shallots from burning, while adding more flavor to the caramelization.

7. Substituting the Shallots

The recipe calls for 6 shallots and honestly there isn’t anything that you can really swap that will yield the same result. Shallots have a delicate, sweet flavor with a hint of garlic, that make them so great to work with. But if you just can’t find any for any reason, we have a couple of options to try.

  • 1st place: Shallots. This is what the recipe calls for and is perfection for this recipe.
  • 2nd place: Sweet onions, which are a good choice since they don’t have that astringent taste that most onions have.
  • 3rd place (tie): Yellow and red onions, which aren’t as sweet as sweet onions, but are very similar to one another.
  • Last place: White onion. If you need to use the red, yellow, or white onion, we recommend decreasing the amount used in the recipe by a little bit, to ensure it’s not too onion-y.

Adding in the Anchovies

anchovies
Photo Courtesy of La Tienda

8. Adjusting the Anchovy Flavor

Depending on your level of tolerance for anchovies, you can adjust the amount of anchovy flavor that is added to the pasta sauce. We have outlined the best 3 options for turning the anchovy flavor up, or dialing it down, so you can tailor it to your preference.

  • Heaviest – Entire anchovy can, including the oil
  • Medium – Adding only the anchovy fillets (without the oil)
  • Lightest – Using anchovy paste

9. Anchovy Substitute

miso-paste
Photo Courtesy of Taste of Home

For those that are vegetarian / vegan or those who really can’t stand the thought of adding anchovy, we’ve come up with several options. Keep in mind that there is no ingredient that is comparable to anchovies. Yes, you can find items that are equally salty, but anchovies have a deep umami flavor which is unmatched. While these are great options, you are only getting about 50-70% of the flavor profile with these other substitutions.


The best substitute option in my opinion is dark miso paste. If miso is difficult to get a hold of, the following are also decent options (in no specific order): olive tapenade, smashed capers, dried mushrooms, soy sauce, Umeboshi paste, or sun dried tomatoes soaked in water.

The Pasta

bucatini

10. Use a Long Noodle or Tube Pasta

Since the sauce in this dish has a nice glossy slip, it will work well with long or tubular pastas. You can use bucatini, pappardelle, spaghetti, or even fettuccine. You really can’t go wring with the noodle selection, but I typically like chunky sauces with short noodles, and slippery sauces with long noodles since they coat the noodles better.

11. Immediately Move Pasta Around in the Water

boiling-pasta
Photo Courtesy of Mashed

I think most people know to stir pasta in boiling water occasionally, but an even better tip is to stir the pasta the moment it hits the water. Why? Because the highest chance of the noodles sticking together is when they first soften. Stirring the pot immediately will help with keeping this from happening.

12. Remove the Pasta When Al Dente

There’s nothing I hate more than over-cooked pasta (ok, that’s an exaggeration, but let’s just say that i really dislike over-cooked pasta). Since we’ll be adding hot pasta water to the sauce, the pasta will continue to cook up a bit even after it’s been pulled from the water. This is why for this recipe you’ll want to pull the pasta out of the water when it just becomes al dente.

Finishing the Sauce

alison-roman-pasta-sauce
Photo Courtesy of NY Times

13. Toast the Tomato Paste

Ever notice how raw tomato paste has kind of a weird metallic flavor? You can take the edge off by toasting the tomato paste in the oil for a bit. You’ll know it’s ready when the tomato paste goes from a bright red, to a deep brick red color.

14. Save Some of the Pasta Water

pasta-water
Photo Courtesy of Huffington Post

Have you ever drained pasta over the sink? Whatever you do, make sure to always save your pasta water instead of letting it run down the drain. Not only can it be used in a bunch of ways later, it is really great at loosening the shallot/anchovy pasta sauce to make sure there’s a nice glossy slip.

Make sure you set a decent amount of pasta water aside when you drain the noodles. I like to reserve at least 2 cups of pasta water so that I can slowly add as much of what’s needed to loosen up the sauce in this recipe.

15. Add a Bit of Lemon

I’m not really sure of when I got into a habit of this, but I like to add a squeeze of lemon to everything. I think it first started with seafood dishes, but somehow it’s grown to be a lot of the dishes I make, especially all of my pasta dishes.

Since there’s seafood in this (the anchovies), I decided to add a little bit of lemon zest with a nice big lemon juice squeeze. Don’t get me wrong, this dish is amazing no matter what, but I felt like the lemon helped to brighten it up a bit.

Final Thoughts

Photo Courtesy of NY Times

16. What to Use that Leftover Pasta Sauce On

We love that this recipe makes you use an entire can of tomato paste, instead of just using a portion of it. This is great for a couple of reasons:

First, we hate waste and let’s be honest…half of a can of tomato paste in your fridge will eventually just go in the garbage. You’ll have intentions of using it up, but if you’re anything like, you probably won’t.

Second, this recipe makes double the amount of pasta sauce you’ll need. So you can place half of the sauce in a mason jar and freeze it for a later use. We love saving pasta sauces cause they freeze and re-heat very well.

You could easily just make another batch of the pasta, and have the same exact meal all over again (which trust me, we’ve done). But this sauce is so versatile that you can use it on a ton of things:

  • Scrambled Eggs
  • Fried Eggs
  • Toast
  • Avocado Toast
  • Huevos Rancheros
  • Roasted Veggies
  • Calzones
  • Roasted Chicken
  • Pizza Sauce
  • Raviolis
  • Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
  • Lasagna
  • Meatballs in Sauce (Check out our favorite meatball recipes here)

This is just a quick list to get the creative juices flowing, but it’s a great condiment that can go on almost anything!

17. Buy Ingredients in Bulk

It was such perfect timing that Alison’s recipe was posted at the start of the COVID 19 pandemic. Not only am I only wanting comfort food, but this recipe is perfect for those who only want to go to the grocery store like once a month.

All of the ingredients in this recipe can be purchased in bulk, and will last several months. Even the shallots can last up to 2 months when stored in a dry and cool place (think in a dark pantry). I like to buy enough ingredients to make the pasta sauce at least 3 times in a 2-month period. That might sound like a lot, but it’s just further proof that now that I’ve made this shallot pasta sauce, I just can’t imagine life without it.


That concludes our very thorough list of tips and tricks to perfecting this pasta recipe. We would love to hear if you’ve tried this pasta already yourself, and if you made any changes/additions.

If you liked this recipe, we recommend checking out our favorite meatball recipes post, located here.

alison-romans-shallot-pasta

15 Reasons Why Truffle Prices Are So Expensive

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truffle-flavor

What are Truffles?

Truffles are underground fungus and are known to be one of the most expensive foods in the world (Source: Money Inc). And just to be clear, we’re not talking about those “truffle-flavored” oils and salts that you find on fancy store shelves (those are synthetically flavored by the way). We’re talking about actual truffles. The super fragrant, rough-skinned, misshapen potato-looking thing that people are paying up to $4,000 per pound of to shave onto their food.


Let’s look into some of the reasons why truffles are considered the diamonds of gastronomy, and what elements contribute to why they are so expensive.

1. They’re Very Difficult to Grow

grow-truffles
Courtesy of hashtaglegend

If you want some truffles you just grow some, right? Not quite.


Truffles are very very challenging to cultivate, almost near impossible, actually. There has to be a “perfect storm” of proper soil conditions, the right trees, and need constant irrigation. For a very long time you couldn’t even grow them, they had to occur naturally by Mother Nature herself. It was only very recently that a handful of farmers were able to emulate the correct conditions to grow them, and even then, there are no guarantees.

2. They Take a Long Time to Grow

truffle-time
Courtesy of business2community

Even if you somehow figured out the correct conditions needed to grow them, it could take 5-10 years to have a successful harvest. And on top of that, there’s no guarantee they will even taste good. Case in point: China was able to crack the code several years ago, but the truffles had no flavor or scent and are said to taste like cardboard. As you can imagine, China truffles don’t sell for very much if even at all.

3. They Need to be Hunted

truffle-dog

I remember the first time I heard the term ‘truffle hunter’. I was watching an episode of Top Chef where the final 4 contestants were in Italy and were just told that they were going to get to spend the day with truffle hunters. I was so confused and intrigued at the same time. Why do truffles need to be ‘hunted’? Can anyone be a truffle hunter? Do the truffle hunters wear camouflage and carry a shotgun? (I’m kidding on that last one)


Little did I know that the real truffle hunters weren’t humans at all. They are four-legged companions with a keen sense of smell. In the earlier days they used pigs, but realized that they couldn’t keep the pigs from eating the truffles so decided to turn to an animal that could actually be trained instead…


Nowadays they mostly use dogs. It can pretty much be any breed, just as long as they have a really good sense of smell and can follow simple commands. They even have classes that can help you get your dog trained specifically for truffle hunting. As if we need another reason to love dogs so much!

4. They’re Hard to Protect

truffle-protection

A lot of fruits and vegetables have skins, peels, or outer layers to protect them – not truffles. They lack any kind of protection and are subject to many environmental conditions such as climate or even someone unknowingly stepping on it. This was another reason why pigs were fired from being hunters, was because they were too difficult to tame and would often times trample over the truffle beds, destroying the truffles themselves, but also the chance for another truffle to grow in that location.

5. They Can Grow in Areas that are Difficult to Access

truffle-access
Courtesy of Travel Squire

If you think truffle hunting is a nice leisurely walk through the park, think again! Truffles like to grow in dark and cool places. This means you’re hiking around a dark and wet wooden area. Because of these conditions, the hunt for truffles can be quite frustrating and sometimes treacherous.

6. They’re Hard to Find

finding-truffles
Courtesy of Outplacement

A lot of people assume that you can just grab a truffle hunting dog and go into the woods to find truffles, and that’s definitely far from the truth. Even in an area that is known to produce truffles, they are still difficult to find. You could spend hours walking around and still come up empty handed or with only a few ounces. Truffle hunting takes a lot of time and patience and is only becoming more difficult as more truffle hunters come into the fold.

7. They Require a Little Bit of Luck

truffle-luck
Courtesy of timsr

This is an interesting one to have on the list but since so many truffle hunters have commented this, I thought it should be added. There is definitely an element of luck with regard to finding truffles. There have been instance where someone has come up empty-handed after spending a whole day in hunting in an area, only to have someone find a bunch of them in that same exact area.


There have even be instances where truffles hunters have found nice sized truffles in an area they had checked every single day for weeks prior. It’s almost like needing to be in the right place at the right time.

8. They’re Only in Season for a Short Amount of Time

truffle-season
Courtesy of pexels

The truffle industry is highly seasonal. Truffles in general typically only grow from September to January, but that will vary greatly depending on the type of truffle. White truffles for example (the most expensive type of truffle) only grow mid-October to December. It is because of these seasonal rarities that some countries make it illegal to hunt outside of truffle season dates.

9. They Shrink

truffles-shrink
Courtesy of merriam-webster

That’s right, you heard it – truffles actually shrink. This is due to the water content being loss by evaporation. To give you an estimate, they shrink approximately by 5% each day since the moment they’re found. 5% might not seem like a lot, but let’s not forget that like most products, truffles have a distribution process.


It is likely that truffle hunters bring their findings to their distributor, there is weighing and checking on the quality of the truffles, distributors then send them to their vendors (like restaurants), which then get put onto your plate. That means there’s at least 2 days (up to 10% of mass) lost just from the moment a truffle is found, to the moment it’s on your plate.


This of course makes truffles in even more high of demand.

10. Their Fragrance Only Last About 7 Days

truffle-fragrance

Even if you happen to get your hands on a truffle, it comes with a fast-approaching expiration date. The fragrance of the truffle starts to dissipate the moment the truffle is found, and has a shelf life of about 7 days. This is why a lot of people will use the truffle to make truffle oil or salt, since it has to be used up before the 7 days is up. Also, keep in mind that you have to take into consideration the amount of time it took to get to you (approximately 2 days).

11. The Need to Be Shipped – Fast

truffle-shipment

You probably guessed this one was next up on the list. Since truffles shrink and lose fragrance every single day since the moment they’re found, time is of the essence. A lot of truffle distributors aim to have all of their truffles packed and delivered within 36 hours.


This of course means more money for the expedited transit, and packaging (like ice packs) to keep the truffles as fresh as possible.

12. They’re Affected by Loss of Woodland

truffle-woodland

As mentioned, truffles need trees to grow on. Many regions of Europe (specifically Italy, France, and Spain) are clearing out woodlands to make room for other things like cities and buildings. This loss of woodland has already started to impact the truffle industry and will continue to do so until we can find efficient ways to harvest truffles.

13. They are Affected by Climate Change

truffle-climate-change

Truffles like habitats that are dark, cold, and damp. They are directly impacted by climate change, and we’ve seen the effects of this historically. Since they will actually perish if they go more than 3 weeks without water, we’ve seen high drought years result in a very low truffle output. With raising concerns over global warming as well, the future of the truffle industry does not look very good.

14. Their Flavor is Unmatched

truffle-flavor

Anyone who’s ever had a truffle can tell you that it’s an amazing and indescribable experience (especially white truffles). The flavor and the fragrance is unlike anything in this world, which is why people are willing to pay a pretty penny for it. If you’ve never had truffle before I highly recommend trying it out so you can make the decision for yourself. There are several restaurants who will offer to shave truffles onto your meal which is a great way to try it without spending a ton of money to buy a whole truffle.

15. Supply and Demand

supply-and-demand-of-truffles

We’ve listed several factors which contribute to why truffles are so rare. As you probably know, most markets are driven by supply and demand and the truffle market is no different. It’s crazy to think that at the time of writing this, that only about 65% of the truffle demand is met. This means that people are paying a premium to be part of that 65%, and that’s ultimately the reason why truffle prices are driven so high.


If you like this post, we think you’ll like our best red velvet pasta recipes post.

truffle-price

7 Best Red Velvet Pasta Recipes (Beetroot Pasta)

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beetroot-ravioli

What is Red Velvet Pasta?

Red velvet pasta is basically a pasta dish that uses beetroot. While I have yet to come across an exact definition of ‘red velvet pasta’, all instances I’ve seen have either incorporated the beetroot into the pasta sauce or into  the pasta noodles itself. As you can imagine, most people use ‘beetroot pasta’ and ‘red velvet pasta’ interchangeably, but I’ve actually noticed that red velvet pasta recipes have an additional component – the cheese.


Just like a traditional red velvet cake which uses cream cheese frosting, pasta red velvet recipes have a cheesy ingredient as well. The most popular ones I’ve seen use feta, but you could easily switch this up and use goat cheese, alfredo or even a carbonara sauce.
So there you have it. We are officially declaring the difference between beetroot pasta and red velvet pasta…


Beetroot Pasta: A pasta dish where either the pasta noodles or pasta sauce have incorporated beetroots.

Red Velvet Pasta: A beetroot pasta with a cheesy ingredient added.

Adding Beetroot to the Pasta Sauce

beet-pasta-sauce
Courtesy of Sweet & Savory

The process of adding beetroot to your pasta sauce is actually pretty easy and it ends up yielding this gorgeous pink/red hue. If you want to add the beetroot directly into the pasta noodle itself, we have a couple of recipes for those at the bottom of the post as well. We would like to pretend that we’re only using beetroot to incorporate all these amazing nutrients into the dish, but in reality, we also really love it because it’s pink and it’s pretty on the plate. Here are a few of our favorite recipes!

1. Red Velvet Spaghetti

red-velvet-spaghetti

I’ve had spaghetti with meatballs so many times that I couldn’t even count. I remember watching Lady and the Tramp as a kid, and then requesting spaghetti with meatballs for dinner later that night. And it had to be the big meatballs too, just like the ones in the movie, otherwise it didn’t count. If you had told me back then that I would one day trade out my meatballs and tomato sauce for a beetroot sauce, I would have thought you were joking – but boy would I have been wrong!


The flavor of the beetroot, walnuts, and chopped dill in this recipe is so satiating that you won’t even miss the meat in the traditional version of spaghetti. The secret to this recipe’s flavor depth (I think) is putting in the time in to roast the beetroot, onions and walnuts. While other recipes recommend cutting corners by using a beetroot paste, or boiling the beets, taking the extra time up front to roast them instead will yield the best flavor profile which is why this recipe is my favorite of the bunch.

  • 500g bunch raw beetroot, scrubbed
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 300g essential spaghetti
  • 75g walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
  • handful dill, roughly chopped
  • 50g feta, crumbled

Get the full recipe and directions from Waitrose

2. Beetroot & Feta Fettuccine

Courtesy of BBC Food

If you liked the sound of the first recipe, but don’t want to put the time and energy into roasting the beetroot (we get it – weeknight dinners need to be fast), this is the quick-and-dirty version. This Nadiya Beetroot Pasta recipe is a very similar recipe, except that you would boil the beetroot or buy the beetroot already cooked. It boasts that boiling the pasta is the only ‘cooking part’ needed and that the rest of the magic occurs in the blender. In addition to that, this recipe makes double the portion of sauce needed, so that half of it can be frozen for a later use.  We also love that the flavor is kicked up a notch with the addition of lemon juice and chilis.

  • 500g/1lb 2oz pasta
  • 200g/7oz feta cheese
  • 20g/¾oz fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (out of a bottle or fresh)
  • extra olive oil, for drizzling
  • 600g/1lb 5oz cooked beetroot, drained
  • 100ml/3½fl oz olive oil
  • 1 tsp fine salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 large red chilli (with or without seeds)

Get the full recipe and directions from BBC Food

3. Creamy Red Velvet Pasta

Courtesy of Hetal Kamdar

This recipe is for those who love their pasta extra creamy and cheesy. While it also uses beetroot in the pasta sauce, it has an addition of fresh cream which really makes it the cream of the crop…literally. This is also one of the recipes I mentioned that uses beetroot puree. So if you have fresh beetroot on hand, make sure to make the necessary adjustments to the measurements. And if this recipe or my jokes aren’t cheesy enough, feel free to add some pecorino or parmesan!

  • 2 cups boiled and strained penne and farfalle pasta (I have used a combination, you can use any)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 7-8 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup fresh cream
  • 1 cup beetroot puree
  • 1 cup grated processed cheese
  • 2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tsp dry oregano
  • handful fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Get the full recipe and directions from Hetal Kamdar

4. Whole Grain Red Velvet Pasta with Ricotta

whole-grain-pasta-with-beetroot-and-ricotta
Courtesy of Martha Stewart

I think one of the selling points of a beetroot sauce is that it’s healthier than traditional spaghetti sauce. So this recipe is for those who want to really take the healthiness up a notch by swapping out the regular refined pasta for a whole grain pasta. According to Healthline.com, whole grain pasta (like the farro pasta used in this recipe) has lower calories and is higher in fiber content and macronutrients when compared to refined pasta.We also really love that this recipe uses sun-dried tomatoes and fresh ricotta – yum!

  • 1 pound red beets, trimmed, scrubbed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Coarse salt
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon chopped sundried tomatoes
  • Red-pepper flakes
  • 12 ounces farro spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup fresh ricotta

Get the full recipe and directions from Martha Stewart

5. Vegan Beet Pesto Pasta

Courtesy of The Kitchn

To make any of the above recipes vegan, you can easily swap out any of the cheese ingredients for vegan cheese versions. But we thought it would be fun to throw in something a little bit different (in case vegan cheese isn’t your thing). The secret of this recipe is that it uses beets along with garlic, almonds, and olive oil to make a pesto-like sauce. Ever since we tried this, we’ve decided that pink pesto is the best-o!

  • 1 pound regular or gluten-free spaghetti
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup raw slivered almonds
  • 2 large cooked and peeled red beets, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • Minced fresh chives, for garnish

Get the full recipe and directions from The Kitchn

Adding Beetroot into the Pasta Dough

Fresh-Hand-made-beetroot-pasta

Making fresh pasta dough is not as intimidating as it sounds – you really only need flour, eggs, and a rolling pin. To incorporate the beetroot into the dough, you just need to adjust the amount of flour or eggs to maintain the correct wet-to-dry ingredient ratio.  Lucky for you, we’ve found the best tutorials to do this so you don’t have to do any of the calculations or guess work.

6. Fresh Handmade Beet Pasta Dough

beet-colored-pasta
Courtesy of Serious Eats

As mentioned, adding beets into the pasta dough will add more water to your dough recipe. To compensate for this you will want to remove some of the egg whites you would normally use in a dough recipe. To achieve this you will use mostly egg yolks instead of the entire egg. The tutorial here shows exactly step-by-step how to mix, knead, and roll out the dough. As always, practice makes perfect but it’s nice to have the experts give us a starting point.

For the Beet Purée:

  • 2 small beets (approximately 7 ounces), rinsed and trimmed

For the Dough:

  • 10 ounces all purpose flour
  • 5 yolks from 5 large eggs
  • 1 whole large egg
  • 4 tablespoons beet purée (see note)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for salting water

Get the full recipe and directions from Serious Eats

7. Beetroot Ravioli with Goat Cheese and Pumpkin

beetroot ravioli

The last recipe showed how to make fresh beet pasta noodles which you could technically put any sauce on and it would be delicious. But you can also make raviolis or tortellinis and get really creative with the fillings. Since we wanted to find a really innovative red velvet ravioli that did more than just add cheese, we were so stoked when we stumbled across this goat cheese and pumpkin ravioli.

As much as I love pasta and I love pumpkin, I had never actually had pumpkin outside of a latte or a pumpkin pie. While it sounds a little bit unconventional, it’s one of those combos that you don’t think will work, but that actually works beautifully. With Thanksgiving coming up around the corner, this would be an awesome addition to your Thanksgiving spread.

Beet Pasta Dough

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (plus some for extra dusting)
  • 1 cup semolina flour
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup fresh beet puree
  • salt

Filling

  • 1 cup fresh pumpkin puree
  • 2 tbs goat cheese
  • 1 garlic clove (softened in a pan and minced)
  • ½ tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp spiced honey (honey, cinnamon, nutmeg)
  • s&p; to taste

Sauce for one serving

  • 2 tbs salted butter
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh sage

Get the full recipe and directions from Just Eat Life

What’s your favorite recipe from the list?

And there you have it – our favorite red velvet / beetroot pasta recipes! In fact, we actually had several more on the list and had to try our best to wittle it down to 7. What makes you excited to try these recipes? The healthy component? The pink component? Or a little bit of both?


If you really liked this recipe list, we think you’ll also really like our favorite polpette recipes.

7 Best Giggle Juice Recipes & Ideas

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What is Giggle Juice and why is everyone calling it their new favorite cocktail?

Giggle juice is so delicious and it is my new go-to summertime cocktail (though to be honest, you can drink it any time of the year). It is the perfect blend of fun, fruity, bubbly, and is so delicious that just one glass won’t do. Did we also mention how beautiful a pink cocktail with fresh fruit and a sugar-coated rim looks? Because these are so pretty to look at, you will definitely want to have these on hand for the next dinner party you plan on hosting.


If you haven’t guessed yet, we are obsessed with Giggle Juice and wanted to share the best recipes along with some of our favorite variations and recipe ideas. So grab your bottle of Moscato and let’s get to mixing!

1. Original Giggle Juice Recipe

We don’t quite know where the origin of Giggle Juice began, but the earliest recipe we could find was from Delish and was posted in 2017. The ingredients are simple and are pretty similar across the board no matter which recipe you’re looking at. We guarantee that if you make this cocktail you will instantly think ‘let’s throw a party!’ – that’s just how fun it is.

Ingredients

– 1/4 cup sugar
– Lemon wedge, for rimming glasses
– 3 cups ice
– 1 750-ml bottle moscato
– 3 cups Pink lemonade
– 1 can of lemon-lime soda (such as Sprite)
– 1 cup vodka
– 2 cups sliced strawberries
– 1 lemon, sliced into half moons

Get the full recipe and directions from Delish.com

2. Frozen Giggle Juice

frozen-giggle-juice

Since Giggle Juice is such a perfect summer time cocktail, my brain instantly said ‘I need a frozen version of this cocktail!’ You can go to your local grocery store and find these tubes of concentrate frozen lemonade in the freezer section. Since they can vary in concentration levels, make sure to mix the appropriate amount of water as listed on the packaging. From there you can add in the rest of the ingredients. I actually like mine to be a thicker slushy type of consistency. To achieve this, place the cocktail ingredients in the blender and add your desired amount of ice. Add the strawberries and lemons afterward.

3. Giggle Juice Popsicles

giggle-juice-popsicle

Don’t you just hate when you have to make the decision between a cocktail or a dessert? What if you could have a cocktail popsicle and get the best of both worlds!? So continuing with the theme of ‘frozen’ versions of this recipe, we thought a cocktail popsicle would be a great addition to our summertime versions of this cocktail. All you need is a popsicle mold, then make the original cocktail recipe, and freeze the night before. I love how fruit looks in popsicles so definitely get creative and add whatever fruit you have on hand!

4. Giggle Juice Jello Shots

giggle-juice-jello-shots

If you really want to have fun with this cocktail then definitely try the Jello shot version! You’ll be swapping out the lemonade in the original recipe, and replacing it with a 3 oz pack of lemon Jello. Follow the directions on the Jello package and add 1 cup of water with the Jello powder over heat. While the pot is still over the heat, add in the vodka and moscato. Stir in the 1 cup of cold water per package directions and add optional pink food coloring if needed.

After that you can pour the mixture into little cups to set in the fridge. Or you can take them to the next level by pouring them to set in lemon rinds. You can do this by placing lemon half rinds in muffin tins (to stabilize them), pouring the mixture into the lemon halves, letting them set in the fridge, and then slicing them into smaller wedges right before serving. Aren’t these so cute?

giggle-juice-jello-shots
Courtesy of Chicago Mag

5. Raspberry Giggle Juice

raspberry-giggle-juice
Courtesy of Gonna Want Seconds

What’s great about this recipe is that it’s completely customizable to your tastes. You can really change any of the elements to change the flavor profile of this cocktail. Maybe you’re not a fan of strawberries, or maybe you just want to switch it up. You can change it to raspberries, blueberries, or pretty much any fruit you happen to have on hand.

6. Prosecco Giggle Juice (Watermelon Lemonade)

prosecco-giggle-juice
Courtesy of Taste and See

Just because the original recipe uses moscato, that doesn’t mean you can’t shake things up. Prosecco is a nice alternative to moscato, especially for those who feel like Moscato might be too sweet. We love this version of the recipe which uses watermelon lemonade and prosecco.

7. Non-Alcoholic Giggle Juice

alcohol-free-moscato

Want to partake in the festivities, but can’t drink alcohol? Well worry no further. With this alcohol-free moscato, you get all of the same flavor profiles without the downside. There are several different brands of alcohol-free moscato, but we really like this version which is slightly sweet but not too sweet.

That concludes our round-up of our favorite giggle juice recipe ideas. Which one are you excited to try first, and what other cocktail recipes would you like us to feature?


best-giggle-juice-recipes

5 Best Polpette Recipes (Meatball Recipes)

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Ah the polpette (meatball) – nothing embodies Italian cuisine quite like it! Delicious, simple, and versatile, the polpette / meatball is a small ball made primarily of ground meat and other elements like bread, eggs, cheese, and seasoning. The polpette is so good it can be eaten completely by itself or with a sauce, but can also literally be added to almost any meal. How many other foods do you know of that can be added to pasta, pizza, and even a sub / sandwich? It can take on any flavor profile, and can even be made a multitude of ways – fried, in the oven, in a crock pot, etc.


While the origin of the meatball is still heavily disputed (some believe Persia or China), I think we can all agree that Italy heavily popularized it. Since we love all variations that meatballs come in, we decided to make a complete list of our favorite recipes including both Italian and Italian-inspired versions. Not only did we want to share our favorite meatball recipes, but we also wanted to share some of our favorite recipes that use meatballs in them.

1. Traditional Italian Polpette al Forno

traditional-italian-polpette
Courtesy of Allrecipes

For a straight-forward traditional version, we love this very easy and simple recipe. While you can use different meat ratios, this one recommends a 50/50 beef and pork mixture with a 80% lean vs 20% fat ratio. This meat mixture, coupled with a panade (starch soaked in liquid) of bread crumbs soaked in milk, provides this meatball with a perfect and moist texture. Plus, we love that this recipe is al forno (in the oven) to avoid the pan-frying mess altogether. They can be eaten alone or with a salad, or even tossed into a sauce of your choosing!

  • ⅓ cup plain bread crumbs
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 2 large eggs eggs
  • ¼ bunch fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian herb seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Get the full recipe and directions from Allrecipes

2. Polpette Neopaletana

polpette-neopaletana
Courtesy of Food Network

For a perfect Neopalitan-style meatball in sauce, this is our favorite go-to recipe. It’s also a 50/50 beef and pork mix like the last recipe, but the bigger bread pieces for the panade make the meatballs bind together better. We also love that a little piece of mozzarella is placed in the middle of the meatball to give it added moisture and flavor. While this version does require pan frying, adding the simple tomato sauce more than makes up for it.

Meatballs

  • 2 slices stale white bread, crusts removed
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 9 ounces minced beef and pork, equal amounts
  • 2 fresh eggs
  • 2 ounces pecorino, grated
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 buffalo mozzarella, drained and chopped into little pieces
  • Unseasoned bread crumbs
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for frying

Sauce

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 (12-ounce) tins peeled cherry tomatoes

Get the full recipe and directions from Food Network

3. Grandma’s Italian Meatballs

nonnas-polpette
Courtesy of Jessica Gavin

If you’re looking for a meatball recipe where tradition meets food science, you’re going to want to check out this version. What started as a wife’s vow to her husband, has evolved into a lot of love and energy put into keeping this family recipe as close to the original as possible. Honestly the best recipes come from a place of love, and this recipe definitely shows that.


As mentioned, this recipe has a lot of food science research behind it which is why we love the texture and flavors so much. It recommends the following:

  • Forgoing the panade step (soaking the bread crumbs in a liquid) since enough juices will come out of the meat and will get soaked up in the bread crumbs.
  • Broiling the meatballs in the oven before simmering them in the tomato sauce. This initiates the Maillard reaction which basically yields an amazing flavor profile by browning the meat beforehand.
  • Creating the right texture by perfecting the meat to bread ratio.
  • Enhancing the meatball’s flavor by putting ingredients rich in glutamates (like tomatoes, onions, and garlic).

Tomato Sauce

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup yellow onions, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 7 cups crushed canned tomatoes, Cento Brand or San Marzano tomatoes
  • 6 ounces tomato paste, use less if a thinner consistency is desired
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, add more to taste

Grandma’s Meatballs

  • 2 pounds ground beef, 80% lean meat to 20% fat
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • ½ cup yellow onion, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs, Italian style or plain
  • fresh basil, for garnish

Get the full recipe and directions from Jessica Gavin

Courtesy of Jessica Gavin

4. Polpette in Spicy al Sugo (Spicy Tomato Sauce)

spicy-polpette
Courtesy of FoodandWine.com

Want your polpette al sugo (in sauce) with a little bit of a kick? We love this fiery rendition of the classic meatball, which uses veal and sweet Italian sausage for a really tasty flavor depth. Making these for someone who doesn’t like spicy? No worries! Since the heat comes from the crushed red pepper in the sauce, you can make 2 versions of the sauce if needed.

  • 1 pound ground veal
  • 1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for sprinkling
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups prepared tomato sauce
  • Large pinch of crushed red pepper

Get the full recipe and directions from FoodandWine.com

5. Rigatoni con Polpette and Arrabbiata Sauce

rigaton-con-polpette-and-arrabiata-sauce
Courtesy of JoCooks

If you want a meatball dish that’s really spicy then you’re going to love this one made with arrabbiata sauce. If you don’t know what arrabbiata sauce is, we’re here to tell you that ‘arrabbiata’ means ‘angry’ in Italian (aka it’s really spicy). This sauce (made with crushed tomatoes, onions, garlic, hot sauce, and an entire cup of red wine) is so good, that you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.


We also love that this recipe explains why we’re using the ingredients we’re using. More fat in the meat and the use of panko-style breadcrumbs means a juicier meatball. Dried oregano in the sauce since it doesn’t burn as well as other herbs. It also recommends Merlot as the best wine for this, and you can even swap out the wine for low-sodium broth if you prefer to go alcohol free.

MEATBALLS

  • Ground beef and pork – Use lean or regular beef, any kind you’d like, though the more fat in the meat the juicier your meatballs will be. You can substitute the pork for uncooked sausage out of the casing.
  • Egg – You’ll need 2 large eggs as the binding agent in the meatballs.
  • Spices – Garlic and onion powder.
  • Herbs – Dried dill, basil, and oregano. Dried herbs are concentrated flavor so if using fresh keep in mind that 1 tablespoon fresh equals 1 teaspoon dried.
  • Seasoning – Salt and pepper.
  • Breadcrumbs – Any kind you like, I prefer to use panko as it results in a way juicier meatball.

ARRABBIATA SAUCE

  • Olive oil – We want something nice and neutral tasting to saute our onion in.
  • Onion – We want something like white or yellow onion, it has a mild flavor and cooks down well.
  • Garlic – Use as much or little as you like.
  • Seasoning – Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Tomatoes – 1 full can of  crushed tomatoes.
  • Herbs – Dried oregano because it won’t burn as it cooks down in our sauce and fresh basil to be roughly chopped up. If fresh is all you have on hand just keep in mind that 1 teaspoon dried equals 1 tablespoon fresh.
  • Broth – Low sodium to control the salt content of our dish. This will pack some more flavor into our pasta.
  • Wine – A rich red wine like merlot is perfect for this red sauce.
  • Spice – Use some of whatever hot sauce happens to be your favorite as well as some red pepper flakes.
  • Seasoning – Salt and pepper.

Get the full recipe and directions from JoCooks


Whether you love meatballs in your pasta, or meatballs by themselves, we hope you found a recipe that your entire family would love. Please share with us what you like in your meatballs, and which of these recipes was your favorite.


If you liked this polpette and meatball recipe round up, you’ll also probably like our best brodo recipes post.

best-polpette-meatballs-recipes