Leftover Pasta with Quick Bolognese Sauce and Herb Garlic Bread

I know I’ve written about pasta and garlic bread in the past, but I really wanted to share this because of two things: the quick bolognese sauce using leftover meatballs and herb garlic bread.

First, Jake’s mom had given us four large meatballs that we kept in our freezer for a few weeks. So, instead of needing to buy and cook ground meat, I crumbled two of the meatballs and cooked as part of the sauce. I left two meatballs so Jake and I could each have one with our dish. I didn’t follow a bolognese recipe exactly this time, but I did remember most of the steps involved with the one I used last time and used that as my basis. (Here’s the link to the recipe I used previously.)

The garlic bread I made was based on an herb garlic bread recipe that I absolutely LOVE. I made a modified version of it because I didn’t have all the ingredients. This time, it was only OK, but I highly recommend that you try the actual recipe. (Here’s a link to the original recipe.)

And, of course, to start off, we had smoked gouda cheese, pecorino  romano cheese, prosciutto, and crackers. Yum!

For the sauce, I sauteed chopped onion, celery, and carrot.

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After that, I crushed the meatballs in before adding the various liquids. I then added in about 1 cup of whole milk and let that cook down. Then, I added in about 1 cup of cooking wine and let that cook down.

Finally, I added 28 oz chopped Italian tomatoes, some basil, rosemary, oregano, and a bay leaf. I let that simmer for about 20 minutes. This is the quick version because the original asks you to cook each of those elements down at barely a simmer, which took forever and then the final simmer with everything was supposed to be 3 hours. I found that increasing the heat a bit to speed up the reduction processes and shortening the final simmer didn’t make a huge difference.

Toward the end, I added the last two meatballs into the sauce to simmer together. I grated a little pecorino romano on top.

I forgot that we also bought shrimp to add, so I ended up stirring everything and the shrimp together. The shrimp were already cooked, so they just needed to warm through.

The herb garlic bread is much better made in the blender, but I didn’t feel like taking out and cleaning another appliance. So, I fine chopped the basil and green onion together. My basil was on its last legs, so I think perhaps wasn’t as potent as fresh basil would be. I sliced up some garlic, and grated a little more pecorino romano. Together with about 1 Tbsp of butter, I used my fingers to mix everything together to make a spread.

I then spread each half of fresh french bread. To cook, I put the two halves back together and wrapped in tin foil. I baked for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees Farenheit. Then, I took the tin foil off and split the halves apart again and sprinkled more grated cheese on top.  I broiled to get some brown color. This didn’t work as well this time because the edges of the bread browned faster than the cheese. Next time, I’ll try a low broil.

I sliced into wedges before serving.

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The last step was to cook the pasta. I took out three 3-oz nests from the freezer and boiled then in salty water. Then, it was time to plate each dish and ENJOY!

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I hope you enjoy, too 🙂

Sincerely,
Fu’d

 

 

 

 

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Homemade Italian – Pasta & Garlic Bread

I’ve already written other blog posts on a homemade pasta with infused tomato puree and one about my first experience making (french) bread. This time, I experimented with a couple of new recipes I found on Pinterest. Since I’m new to the pasta and bread making game, I think I’ll have to keep trying and tweaking recipes before I get those “signature” dishes!

The French Bread

I tried a french bread recipe that only requires one rise instead of two. Since I had decided to make it last minute and I happened to have rapid rising yeast on hand, I thought it was worth a try. (Here’s the link to the recipe.)

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The recipe was for two loaves, but I only wanted one, so I cut all the ingredient amounts in half. This was easy to do because a lot of the amounts look like they had probably originally been doubled. For example, it calls for two packages of fast rising yeast, so instead, I simply used one.

This was way better than the last french bread I made. The outside got crustier and the inside was fluffier and less dense. Plus, it took a fraction of the time to prepare. I actually used bread flour instead of regular all purpose flour and let the mixer knead the dough a little longer than the last time. These things may have contributed to the better bread. However, although the inside of the bread was fluffier, I felt it still had a tiny bit of toughness to it when pulling it apart. I don’t think this has anything to do with the recipe. Just some alterations I need to make to what I’m doing.

So, I prepared the dough, let is rest covered for 10 minutes. I then made it into a loaf shape, only sort of using the jelly roll method. I did it roughly because I didn’t want that spirally inside that I got last time. I let the loaf sit covered on a oiled baking sheet for about 35 minutes. I took this opportunity to prep a couple other things and take a shower! I also timed it so that the pasta noodles were drying at this time.

Also, I decided to bake it half way without a wash or butter brushed over it. Then once it was a little bit browned, I took it out, brushed some butter over the top and let it cook the rest of the way. This helped give it that nice golden brown. Similar to last time, I also only cooked the loaf part-way through before I took it directly off the baking sheet and put it on a baking rack because the bottom browned before the rest of the loaf.

I let the bread cool a little. I used half of it to make garlic bread. The garlic bread was just melted butter, minced garlic, salt, pepper, dried basil, freeze-dried chives, and parmesan sprinkled on top. I let those pieces broil in the oven just so they got brown on top and little toasty. This was just a quick solution for making garlic bread. If I hadn’t already been making a bunch of other stuff and had fresh herbs, I’d make this delicious herb garlic bread recipe I found years ago. (I’ll save that for another time :))

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Bonus, I sliced up a couple of pieces of leftover bread this morning to make toast. I topped them with some smashed avocado, tomato, and sprinkled with pink Hawaiian salt. YUM!

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The Pasta

The pasta recipe was a very basic one and had 5 stars with 46 reviews at the time. I spiced it up a little but sprinkling in a little dried parsley and dried basil. (Here’s the link to the recipe.)

The verdict: The pasta was fine and is probably a good traditional recipe if that’s what you want. My noodles ended up being too thick, so they were a bit dense and chewy. I think it’s because I didn’t spend enough time rolling the pasta out before using the fettucine cutter. I’d like to give this recipe another try because I really think this was my own fault and I’d like an easy go-to pasta recipe.

The Sauce

I had a can of san marzano tomatoes in the pantry, so I dumped the contents into a large pot and used my mashed potato smasher to break up the tomatoes. I added quite a few seasonings, but I was just experimenting with the flavor. If you’re looking for a simple sauce, you don’t even need to add anything. Here’s what I used to add some depth to the sauce flavor:

  • sliced garlic
  • dashes of dried basil, oregano, rosemary, salt, pepper
  • one bay leaf
  • a little bit of chopped onion
  • a little water and chicken bouillon powder
  • a dash of balsamic vinegar
  • dash of parmesan
  • tomato cooking wine
    • We had just gone on a winery tour last week and purchased this tomato cooking wine. It has a subtle flavor and perhaps it drowned in the sauce. I think this would be really nice to use in other dishes, perhaps to deglaze a pan of mushrooms or something!

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I also wanted to add some protein to the dish, so I pressure cooked some chicken we had in the freezer and shredded it. (Since I didn’t season it, the other chicken breast was cut up and saved for the pups!) I put the shredded chicken directly into the sauce. I also air fried some frozen shrimp and peas and put those into the sauce last minute, just before serving.


I won’t lie; this was overall a lot of work. But since I like cooking and it was a leisurely Saturday night, I enjoyed it. This would also be great for a date night if you and your significant other ever like to cook together.

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I hope you give some of those recipes a try and share some of your lessons learned, as well!

Sincerely,
Fu’d