Posts Tagged pecorino romano

4 Years of … Blogging?

Zucchini Noodles with Turkey & Beef Ricotta Meatballs | Gorging George

It’s anniversary day folks. And when I look back on the past year I have tons of fond memories; we’ve been busy, we’ve done tons, we have clearly cooked and eaten in that time and … I’ve posted once. Trust me, I wasn’t ignoring the blog on purpose. I thought about it nearly every time I entered the kitchen or became inspired by something food-related that I read. But I’m not going to make excuses. The past year has been amazing for me and my family in spite of the lack of blogging. Hopefully I can sometimes still make room for a post every once in a while.

Zucchini Noodles with Turkey & Beef Ricotta Meatballs | Gorging George

Zucchini Noodles with Turkey & Beef Ricotta Meatballs | Gorging George

Zucchini Noodles with Turkey & Beef Ricotta Meatballs | Gorging George

If I did have to give one reason for the slow down in recipe sharing, I would say it’s that food has become simplified in the house. There’s not much time for leisurely cooking, we can’t wait to eat until 8 or 9 like we used to when I was testing new recipes. There’s a tiny person that demands food. And she demands food that tastes good … so there’s also not a lot of room for error. So honestly, I’ve stuck to cooking staple recipes the past year. Ones we can get on the table fast and that will be slurped down without any complaints. We still try new recipes, but they are typically ones other people have written and shared.

Zucchini Noodles with Turkey & Beef Ricotta Meatballs | Gorging George

Zucchini Noodles with Turkey & Beef Ricotta Meatballs | Gorging George

However, I got one of those fancy looking spiralizers from my mother-in-law for my birthday last year. And now we can’t get enough of zucchini noodles. I just thought it was a weird fad that was sweeping Pinterest, so I ignored these long green zoodles for a while. But when I got my gift I tried it out right away. And holy crap guys: zucchini noodles are amazing. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade good pasta for anything. But we aren’t eating zucchini noodles as a substitute, we’re eating them because they taste great. Once I paired them with these moist, flavourful meatballs; now we rarely eat zucchini noodles with anything else.

Zucchini Noodles with Turkey & Beef Ricotta Meatballs | Gorging George

Zucchini Noodles with Turkey & Beef Ricotta Meatballs

Don’t have a spiralizer? Just serve the meatballs with your favourite long pasta. Shred some zucchini into the sauce if it makes you feel better. 

Meatballs

8 oz lean ground beef

8 oz ground turkey

2/3 cup ricotta cheese

1 cup panko bread crumbs

1/2 cup pecorino romano cheese, grated

1 egg

1 Tbsp sundried tomatoes in oil, drained & chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1/8 tsp pepper

4 cups of your favourite marinara sauce

 

Zucchini Noodles

3-4 zucchini (I would use 1/person; not kidding)

olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

kosher salt

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Prepare a sheet pan by spraying with olive oil (or you can cover with tin foil). Place all of the meatball ingredients into a large bowl. Mix gently to combine. Don’t overmix, or you’ll end up with tough meatballs. Form into approximately 32 meatballs, placing them on the sheet pan as you go. Bake the meatballs for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, spiralize that zucchini.

Heat the 4 cups of marina in a large sauce pan. Once the meatballs are cooked, gently dump them into the marina sauce. Simmer the meatballs and sauce together for an additional 10-15 minutes or until your ready to eat.

While your meatballs enjoy their tomato bath, heat a large, non-stick saute pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add a scant Tbsp of olive oil to the pan, followed by the garlic. Let the garlic simmer for about 30 seconds, then add he zucchini noodles. Season generously with the salt (start with at least a tsp. You can add more if needed). Cook the noodles to your desired degree of doneness. I’m not going to tell you how to eat your noodles. Maybe you just want them warm with nearly all their crunch. Maybe you want those things so cooked you could slurp them down without chewing. I’m not here to judge. Important step learned after eating wet noodles: drain those zucchini noodles when they are cooked to your liking. Add them back to the pan or plate them.

Top bowl-fulls of zucchini noodles with meatballs and marinara. Sprinkle with more pecorino if you like. Or just devour.

Serves 4.

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Truffled Pecorino & Pepper Penne

I’ve exhausted this statement, but I was really worried about not being able to eat pasta when I heard I’d have to go gluten free. However, with all the delicious gluten free pastas available nowadays I’m happy to report I can make my pasta and eat it too! For a while, I was starting to think that the Gluten Free Pasta Challenge we had a number of weeks ago wasn’t entirely a fair event. See, we smothered the pasta in a scrumptious bolognese sauce. Yes, I truly believe we could have been chowing down on some cardboard and bark and still have been as happy as clams.

So the real test was to cook up some pasta and consume it in a “sauceless” fashion. Haven’t eaten sauceless pasta (or are unsure)? It tends to be some of the tastiest pasta available if done right and with fresh ingredients. Some of my favourite examples include sauteed mushrooms, Italian sausage, & peas mixed with cooked Farfalle; roasted tomatoes & goat cheese tossed with spaghetti; and lets not forget Linguine with Garlic Oil & Pancetta. What these all have in common is their lack of a traditional “sauce” – they are typically held together by a bit of pasta water and cheese. And let me tell you, if you pick the best ingredients, and ones that meld together into a perfect symphony, this is a hit every time.

Tonight we found out that gluten free pasta really is that good – it passed the “sauceless” test. Tonight we smothered some Rice & Amaranth Penne in sharp Pecorino Romano cheese, spicy fresh-cracked pepper, and pungent truffle oil. The tastes danced on my tongue as I quickly devoured my first bites. And as I saw my plate dwindling, I slowly enjoyed each bite, reveling in the fact that I knew for sure I would never go without pasta in my life.

Truffled Pecorino & Pepper Penne

Yes, truffle oil is a bit of a luxury item. If you’re unsure about whether or not you like truffles, I would suggest trying it somewhere first. It has a strong umami flavour akin to earthy, wild mushrooms – but still entirely like nothing else on this Earth. I, myself, do not purchase truffle oil – but I am a lucky girl who receives a bottle of it for Christmas every year. You could definitely leave it out of the recipe and have a delicious plate of cheesy, peppery pasta. In this event, I would suggest the use of butter in place of the truffle oil – not extra virgin olive oil, and definitely not margarine. Also…it would no longer be called “Truffled” and really wouldn’t be like this recipe…but I’m sure you already figured that out. 

2 cups uncooked penne, your favourite gluten free kind
1 Tbsp black truffle oil
1/2 kosher salt
1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper
1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated (divided)
2 Tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped

Cook penne according to pasta directions – ensuring that you salt the water. When penne is cooked, drain quickly and put in a serving bowl (by this, I mean don’t try to drain off all the water; it’s good to get some semi-wet pasta in the bowl; alternately you could just save some pasta water if needed to loosen the completed dish. Your call).

Toss the cooked penne with the truffle oil, pepper, salt, 1/4 cup of the Pecorino Romano, and the parsley. Have a taste and see if you need a bit more truffle oil, pepper or salt – add to desired taste. Top each portion with the remaining 1/4 cup of Pecorino Romano. Serve hot or at room temperature

Serves 4 as a side dish or 2 as a dinner.

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