Throwdown Spaghetti and Meatballs

May 8, 2011 11:13 by Suzy

Of all of the Food Network stars, Bobby Flay has always been my favorite.  Aside from his cute Irish-tough-guy looks, he is fun on camera and I love his food.  This recipe is from Throwdown!, his latest show.  Bobby lost this challenge to Mike Maroni, a restauranteur in Long Island who is famous for his meatballs, made from his grandmother's 100-year old recipe.

Growing up, we never had meatballs with spaghetti.  We usually just added browned ground beef to the sauce...and the sauce was never homemade.  Not that there is anything wrong with jarred sauce, especially Newman's Own Sockarooni Sauce.  Yum.

I was curious to taste a meatball that beat Bobby in a throwdown, so I thought I would give this recipe a try.  Dee-lish.  The meatballs were so flavorful and tender, not dry or tough like I imagined them to be.  The sauce was delicious, too.  JD commented that there was a bit too much garlic, but he still said the meatballs were awesome.  Me, I can never have too much garlic, but I'll probably tone it down a little the next time I make it for him.

Mike Maroni's Spaghetti and Meatballs
adapted from Bobby Flay's Throwdown!

1 pound ground chuck
1 1/2 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 1/4 cups fresh bread crumbs
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup minced parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 small onion, grated
3 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/3 olive oil
1 head garlic, cloves minced
1 large onion, finely diced
2 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes (or 2 quart jars home grown canned tomatoes, crushed, if you have them)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
handful basil leaves, torn into pieces

1 pound spaghetti, cooked al dente

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Brush baking sheet with olive oil.

Combine all meatball ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.  Roll mixture into meatballs, each about the size of a golf ball, and place on prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until cooked through and browned.

Meanwhile, make the sauce.  Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic and saute about 5 minutes.  Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, salt and pepper, and red pepper flakes.  Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring, for 20 minutes.  Taste and add salt if necessary.  Remove from heat and stir in the basil leaves.  Add the meatballs to the sauce.

To serve, put some spaghetti on serving plate, and top with meatballs and sauce.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Croissant French Toast with Soft Caramel Apples

May 1, 2011 11:33 by Suzy

Yes, Suzy's Goodies lives!  I have been so distracted and unmotivated lately, there has not been a lot going on in the kitchen.  Now that the weather is (finally!) starting to warm up, I have emerged from my hibernation and found my cooking mojo.  Lucky JD.

Nothing like a decadent, indulgent breakfast dish like this to usher in the spring!  If you're hosting a Kentucky Derby party, this would be perfect.  Also good for Mother's Day, or any special morning.

Croissant French Toast with Soft Caramel Apples
adapted from Tyler Florence's Real Kitchen

3 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon sugar
pinch cinnamon

Caramel Apples:
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons butter
6 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced into 1/2" wedges
1/2 cup maple syrup

3 tablespoons butter
4 large croissants, sliced in half lengthwise
powdered sugar

In a shallow bowl, beat together the batter ingredients until well blended.  Cover and put in the fridge while you make the apples.

You need to pay attention when you are making caramel sauce; this is not the time to be frying bacon or squeezing orange juice or cleaning out the fridge.  The sugar will be perfect one second and burned the next, so do all that stuff later.

Put the sugar in a large dry skillet over medium heat.  Cook, without stirring, until the sugar begins to melt.  Continue to cook and stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar starts to caramelize.  Add the butter and stir.  The butter will foam up a bit, but keep stirring until the butter and caramel have blended together to make a sauce.  Carefully add the apple slices to the pan and keep stirring.  The caramel will probably seize up a bit and start to harden, but keep stirring and it will warm up and even out again.  When the caramel is smooth and coats the apples, add the maple syrup.  Stir and reduce heat to simmer.  Simmer apples until fork tender, about 10-15 minutes.  Remove from heat, cover, and keep warm.

Heat butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Carefully and quickly dredge a croissant half in the batter (don't let it soak in the batter or it will fall apart) and place in skillet, cut side down.  Repeat with other croissant half.  Cook 4 to 5 minutes, carefully flip, and repeat on the other side.

To serve, place bottom half of croissant on plate.  Top with a spoonful of apples and caramel sauce, then cover with top half of the croissant.  Drizzle with a little of the sauce and dust with powdered sugar and cinnamon.


Croissant French Toast with Caramel Apples