It’s fun looking through my Marcella Hazan cookbook and finding new simple recipes to make that taste good. This one has vegetables built in, and because they are chopped rather than diced, they remain fresh tasting in the sauce. The pancetta adds a bit of flavor and meat to the dish, if you or your family members (ahem, K) require that in a meal. If not, you can make the same dish without the pancetta. This dish is also toddler-friendly with the fun pasta shapes and easy to chew vegetables.
Sometimes I wing recipes. This one involved a heavy amount of winging. I did look at a few lasagna recipes first, but too often they are overly complicated. I wanted something to use up some lasagna noodles I had from a different meal. I decided to make a modest lasagna in an 8×8 dish, which is another lasagna issue. Lasagna doesn’t need to be some huge casserole with tons of fancy toppings. This is a simple cheese lasagna, and you can pair it with other dishes if you like. I served this with some meatballs I made.
I had actually been in the mood for Indian food. And then there was the need to restock our freezer with ground chicken. Whenever we do that, we like to leave at least one package out because freshly ground chicken is awesome to cook with. I also happened to have come across this recipe at the same time. I told K I wanted to make it, and he was on board. So, I gathered the ingredients I didn’t have on hand (tomato sauce, Greek yogurt, and cilantro) then got ready to make it! It was really easy. The meatballs require very little work, and the sauce just needs a couple steps to get started. Then, you can basically walk away and do things like play with your baby while it finishes cooking.
After reading about this recipe on Serious Eats, I wanted to make it almost immediately. It only required 25 minutes of prep time, and then occasional stirring with a little bit of throwing in ingredients at the end. Not a big deal. I made the sauce ahead of time, then reheated it with some sausage to serve with pasta. It was as promised: hearty, thick, and flavorful. It made the house smell delicious all day long, and it made a nice large amount of sauce at one time, which I can freeze and pull out as needed. I love that!
I have lots of pizza recipes on here already. Most of them are pancrust style, because that is K’s favorite. Especially from Pizza Hut. So, we are always after a crust that mimics that style. This one is my new favorite. It is less involved than some recipes, but it produced a crust that had a crunch to it, while still being almost bread-like. K commented that it was less greasy than other recipes. I wasn’t sure if this was a bad thing, but apparently he liked it. You could always add more fat to the pan if you prefer a greasier crust, but we liked this.
These have a tiny bit of sweet and sour flavor, but mostly sweet. It is almost like barbecue sauce for meatballs. K really liked it and said I needed to make the sauce again, so I guess I have a hit! I actually made these the same day I made my brownies and a dish coming on Friday, which meant I was quite tired. I had a day off, so I was trying to make meals for the week. K told me he could have made the meatballs, except I kind of made up the recipe on the spot. That would have been a bit tricky to direct him. At least now he can follow the recipe! It’s pretty easy, and you could change some parts around. For instance, you might have a favorite meatball recipe you already like. Or, you could make the sauce for something else, like chicken! Hmm. Now I am thinking about chicken meatballs in this sauce….potential!
Part of the reason we had the meatballs was to use up some bread. If you didn’t want them as subs, you could just enjoy them with some pasta, or other side dish.