A Roman Take on Spaghetti and Meatballs

Sundays pre-marriage consisted of me sleeping in bed till 12, eventually dragging myself out of bed to make a bowl of ramen and plop myself in front of the television until around 6pm.
Sundays post-marriage are now fondly spent in the kitchen whipping up something yummy for my husband and I. Although neither one of us are Italian, we have a particular attraction to all foods Italian - hence my recent obsession with Giada De Laurentiis. Her style is classic Italian - and her dishes from Rome never disappoint. This particular recipe is a huge hit in my house. Now please don't be intimidated - I know it's a long laundry list of ingredients but once you put this into your roster, you'll be sure to always have these ingredients on hand. I've made notes where I make my substitutes, but the only ingredient I highly suggest you avoid substituting is the bucatini pasta – it MAKES the dish! Other than that, no matter how you make this dish you will not be disappointed.

Bucatini All'Amatriciana with Spicy Smoked Mozzarella Meatballs


All'Amatriciana Sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 ounces pancetta, diced *I omit*
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes *If you don't like spice, omit*
1 (14-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano

1 small (6-ounce) onion, grated
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus 1/4 cup *I omit*
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus 1/4 cup
1/3 cup Italian-style bread crumbs
1 large egg
2 tablespoons ketchup
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes *If you don't like spice, omit*
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
8 ounces ground beef
8 ounces ground veal *I use 16 oz of beef*
2 ounces smoked mozzarella cheese, cut into 16 (1/2-inch) cubes *I use regular mozzarella*
1 pound bucatini or other long pasta


For the sauce: In a large heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring constantly, until golden brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pancetta and reserve. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and the cooked pancetta. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat until the sauce thickens, about 15 minutes. Stir in the cheese and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

For the meatballs: Position an oven rack in the lower 1/3 of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the onion, 1/2 cup parsley, 2/3 cup Parmesan, bread crumbs, egg, ketchup, garlic, red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add the beef and veal. Using your hands, combine all ingredients gently but thoroughly. Shape the meat mixture into 16 (1 1/2-inch-diameter) meatballs and place on the prepared baking sheet. Make a hole in the center of each meatball and place a cube of mozzarella inside. Reform the meatball so that the mozzarella is completely covered with the meat mixture. Bake the meatballs for 15 minutes until cooked through.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and place in a large serving bowl. Add the meatballs and sauce. Toss gently and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle with the remaining parsley and Parmesan.


Addictions of a Gratuitous Nature

Hanky Panky Thongs
This underwear is the CURE to that annoying little bulge even skinny girls get from skimpy underwear. These thongs lay perfectly and once were only available in one size fits all, yet now they are now expanding their offerings and making them in various sizes. They come in vibrant colors and have both high and low rise fits. I’m also somewhat obsessed with their boy shorts. LOVE! I hear they’ve come out with a new t-shirt line!! Super excited to try those next!

Mrs. Meyers Cleaning Products

In my continued effort to make my house more “green,” I’ve recently begun using these products and absolutely love them.

To date, I’ve purchased:

Lavender Countertop Spray- this spray has magical powers. Ever since purchasing my husband magically wants to clean the kitchen. Let me say that again – my husband WANTS to clean. This product smells so delicious (not too strong) and leaves the countertops spotless clean with no residue.

Lavender Hand Soap- I am totally into this hand soap. Bath and Body Works hand soap used to have a large presence in my house, but after discovering this soap I’ll never switch back. It has the slightest lavender smell that isn’t overwhelming but manages to relax me every time I use it!

Lemon Verbena Window Spray - I use this product for the mirrors in my bathroom and our French doors. It works better than Windex and has a wonderful smell to boot.

I would recommend these products to anyone – whether your ultimate goal is to make your home more green or not, you too will fall in love with these products. I‘m dying to try their candles and home fragrances!! Sign up for their e-newsletter and get a coupon for $5 off your first purchase.

Mario Badescu Flower and Tonic Mask

A 20 minute facial in a jar! I’ve been using this product on a bi-weekly basis for about two years after I discovered Mario Badescu Skin Care when I moved to NY (they’re located on East 52nd Street in Manhattan). Don’t live in the city? Fear not! They ship anywhere in the country – if you sign up for their newsletter you’ll often receive coupons for free shipping or free samples of other products. Select Nordstrom stores also carry the line.

The mask feels great going on – similar to the texture of a mud mask – and sits on your skin for about 20 minutes. While it’s drying, you feel your skin tightening and your pores clearing. After you’ve washed it off, your skin will feel clearer and more refreshed as if you’ve just had an expensive facial.

Mario Badescu recommends using the product 2-3 times a week, but I think weekly or bi-weekly does the trick so you can buy it less often.


Bakerella Cake Balls -

In my quest to find the perfect dessert to make for my dinner party last Saturday night, I stumbled upon the ingenious website of Angie Dudley (aka Bakerella). I remembered seeing her awhile back on Martha Stewart and thought to myself how adorable her mini cupcake bites were.

Were the mini cupcake bites so flipping cute? Yes.
Was it a realistic feat for me to attempt to make these myself? Probably not, but it’s always worth a shot.

So here I go – off to to buy all the necessary gear. My favorite part about Bakerella’s site is she not only gives you pictures each and every step of the way, but she writes out a list you can print out and take to the store with you. Watch out Michaels, I’m armed and ready to shop.

As someone who traditionally doesn’t shop at DIY places like Michaels, I was a bit intimidated at first but quickly got into a groove. I could not find the peanut butter cup molds Angie mentions, so I opted to forgo the cupcake bites in lieu of cake balls (remembering them from her website). I purchased the chocolate melts in white and blue (for the upcoming Hanukah Wine Tasting Party hubby and I are hosting) and then headed over to Whole Foods. I bought the organic chocolate cake mix by Arrowhead Mills then and went to Publix (my last destination for the day) for cream cheese frosting (too unhealthy for Whole Foods to carry).

All the ingredients are on the counter and I feel like I need a nap. No time – company will be here in four hours. The actual “baking of the cake” was the easy part. After the cake cooled, I enlisted the help of my wonderful husband to help me crumble it. We then mixed it with the frosting and shaped them into balls (hubby has now retreated to ESPN on the couch). I continue on.

After the balls have hardened in the fridge for about 20 minutes, I melt the chocolate (hubby is back to eat the chocolate melts) and begin rolling the balls. I decorated them with heart shaped sprinkles I found at Michaels and also took the liberty of packaging up some for our guests – in fun little Chinese takeout boxes from Michaels ($1 each).

All in all, they were DELICIOUS. They tasted like munchkins dipped in chocolate yummyness. Will I be making these again? So sorry Hanukkah party, but these puppies are far too much work – I need at least six months to recuperate!

The Final Product