, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Back in college, my roommates and I loved cooking for each other. I swear, and we all agree, that we ate the best together in college than ever since! Gary, Cathleen & I would take turns planning and preparing meals and it was just a wonderful and deliciously rewarding experience! We even had a Facebook page. For our apartment. It featured our meals. It was amazing. Anyways, we loved to take recipes from a Rachael Ray cook book and these meatballs are an adaptation of one of our favorites from one of those 30 minute books of hers. I don’t remember where we found the red wine pasta recipe, but it is so easy, different and tasty!

The ingredients are as follows:

Turkey Florentine Meatballs

1 lb Ground Turkey (93% lean)
2 * 6 oz Bags of Baby Spinach
1/2 Vidalia Onion
3 Cloves Garlic
1 Large Egg
1/4 Cup Milk
3/4 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
1/2 Cup Romano Cheese, grated
Sea Salt
Freshly Ground Pepper
Olive Oil

CabSav Spaghetti

1 lb Spaghetti
1 750 ml Bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon
1 tsp Sugar

Let the fun begin!

First of all, fill a large pot with water for your pasta and start heating it up to a boil. Pre-heat the oven to 400°.

Now, swirl a bit of olive oil in a large non-stick pan and heat it up!

Once the olive oil is heated, add the spinach. I recommend adding one bag and then letting it cook down a bit until there’s room for the next bag. Otherwise you’ll have spinach leaf overflow. And you do not want that! Saute the spinach for a couple of minutes, manipulating it regularly with silicon tongs. Once the spinach is all cooked up, drain it using paper towels or a colander (really squeeze that water out!!) and reserve for later.

Now comes the messy part. Plop that ground turkey in a large bowl. Chop up the onion (as finely as you desire) and the garlic and put them in with the turkey. Add the romano, panko, egg, spinach, salt, pepper and milk and then mix mix mix….WITH YOUR HANDS. Seriously. It’s the only way to really get it thoroughly mixed up.

Now, form 9 meatballs with your hands and put them on a non-stick baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and pop those suckers in the oven!

Look at that raw meat. Beautiful and dangerous, all at once. Promising a delicious reward once it’s been fully cooked. So seductive. Ok, ok, raw meat never looks good. Never.

Set the timer for 20 minutes and move right along!

That’s right! By now, your water should be boiling and it’s time for the pasta! Cook the spaghetti in the boiling water for five minutes. Drain in a colander. Pour the entire bottle of wine in the same pot, mix in the teaspoon of sugar, and bring to a rapid boil. Let it boil rapidly for 2 minutes. Then, dump that spaghetti back in with the wine. It’s time for the magic to happen! Use tongs to nestle that spaghetti in with the wine and let it rapidly boil until the liquid is absorbed, about 6 minutes. Stir with the tongs every once in a while to make sure all the noodles get a chance to soak up the flavors of the wine! And the color. Of course.

Hey! I think the meatballs are done!

Ooooh, ahhhh. So beautiful. These meatballs really deliver. Put one or two on your plate, toss your pasta with whatever sauce you like and enjoy! I prefer using olive oil, herbs and parmesan on my pasta. I think it allows for the flavor of the wine to come through more so than if I used tomato or cream sauce.

In my life, this dish is a staple. It’s my go-to for satisfying anyone. Anyone. Except for that time I put in an entire onion and tried to serve the meatballs to a child. That was embarrassing. Danielle, you know what I’m talking about. I’m sorry!

What are some of your go-to meals that you depend on to make everyone happy?