Spicy Pasta With Bucatini

img_1730 Mention pasta and you have my attention. This is a spicy and rich sauce and the pasta is perfect, thick and perfectly married to the cream sauce that accompanies it.



2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
3/4 Cup Finely Chopped Onion
3 Garlic Cloves, Minced
1 Pound Italian Sausage Links (Mild or Spicy), Casings Removed
1 Cup Dry White Wine
1 (14 Ounce) Can Chopped Tomatoes
1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
Salt & Pepper
1 Finely Chopped Hot Chili Pepper (Optional – See Notes Above)
3/4 to 1 Cup Heavy Cream
6 Tablespoons Chopped Parsley Leaves
Pasta of Choice


Heat oil in heavy skillet over medium-high heat.
Add onion and garlic and sauté until golden brown and tender, about 5 minutes.
Add the sausage and sauté until golden brown and cooked through, breaking up with two forks as it cooks, about 7 minutes.
Drain any excess drippings from skillet, the add wine and boil over high heat until almost all liquid evaporates, about 2 minutes.
Add tomatoes and tomato paste and mix well.
Season with oregano, salt, pepper and hot pepper if using.
Simmer 5 minutes, then add the cream and parsley, and simmer until sauce thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.
Use to top hot cooked pasta.


NOTES: Use Italian sausage, hot or mild, or use any pork sausage that you like. Could easily be used with andouille sausage.

SOURCE: Italian Food Forever


Cheesy Meatball Sliders

Back-to-School-Meatball-Sub These are great on a football Sunday or any other day. Adapt the sauce as you desire, or make as given. It is a delicious finger food.


  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 28-oz. cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Vegetable oil spray
  • 2 slices country bread, crusts removed, torn into small pieces
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 2 ounces finely grated Parmesan, plus more
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 slider rolls, preferably potato


  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until onion is softened and translucent, 8–10 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, sugar, vinegar, and bay leaf and bring to a low simmer. Season with salt and pepper and simmer, partially covered, while you prepare meatballs.
  • Preheat broiler. Lightly coat a rimmed baking sheet with vegetable oil spray and set aside. Combine bread and milk in a small bowl and set aside, tossing occasionally, until milk is completely absorbed, 8–10 minutes. Combine chicken, 2 oz. Parmesan, parsley, garlic, eggs, salt, pepper, and soaked bread in a large bowl; gently mix with your hands until ingredients are fully incorporated. Dampen your hands, then form mixture into 12 balls; place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Broil, rotating pan once, until meatballs are browned, 8–10 minutes. Add meatballs and any juices to sauce and continue to simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until meatballs are cooked through, sauce is thick and chunky, and flavors have melded, 20–25 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Top each split roll with a meatball, a dab of sauce, and more Parmesan.


NOTES: You can vary this as you desire. Use turkey or pork instead of the chicken. Use your own sauce recipe or one that you like.

SOURCE: Bon Appetit

Spittin’getti Casserole

IMG_8555Comfort food time is rolling around and you shouldn’t be caught short. This recipe is sure to please everyone. Mild enough for kids and sophisticated enough to please the adult palate as well.

It makes enough for an army, and warms up pretty well too.


  • 1/2 lb. ground round, browned
  • 2/3 lb. pasta of your choice, cooked al dente
  • 1/2 lb Italian sausage or other sausage, browned.
  • 1 c diced onions
  • 1 c diced mushrooms
  • 2 c spaghetti sauce homemade or store-bought
  • 1 c parmesan cheese
  • enough slices of pepperoni to cover the top
  • 8 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded


  1. Brown the beef and sausage together, remove to another dish.
  2. Cook the onions in the fat from the meet until translucent, then add the mushrooms and saute until limp cooked.
  3. Heat salted water in a separate pot and cook up the pasta, drain well.
  4. Add the meat back in with the onion mixture and mix.
  5. Add the sauce and the pasta to the meat mixture and stir until mixed.
  6. Spread half of the mixture into an casserole pan.
  7. Top with half the cheeses.
  8. Add the rest of the meat mixture to the top, cover with the balance of the cheeses and then the pepperoni..
  9. Bake at 375° for 35-40 minutes, or until bubbly.
  10. Serve with bread and a crisp salad.


NOTES: You can use other cheeses if you wish. Use any type of mushroom you desire.

Chicken Cacciatore Sicilian Style

chicken-cacciator-su-1860010-x I consider this comfort food. It has some of my favorite things. Tomatoes, lots of garlic, olives.

Who needs anything else. Place on a bed of pasta of your choice, and you can tuck in with relish.


  • 4 -5 garlic cloves
  • 1⁄4 cup olive oil
  • thighs 4-6
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 tbsp jar capers
  • 1/2 c  olives, halved
  • 1⁄4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 c dry white wine
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced small
  • 1/2 green pepper, diced large
  • 1/2 red pepper, diced large
  • 8 fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • angel hair pasta


  1. Salt and pepper the thighs and place in a large saute pan and brown in some EVOO.
  2. Remove to a dish. Add the onions and celery and sweet peppers and saute until softened and translucent.
  3. Add the garlic, capers, and wine, and saute until the wine has been reduced by half.
  4. Add the mushrooms and saute until softened.
  5. Add the tomatoes and vinegar and stir until warmed.
  6. Add the chicken thighs back in, cover and simmer gently for about 30 minutes.
  7. Cook the pasta.
  8. Add the olives and stir in.
  9. Serve.


NOTES: Vary the chicken as you wish. Use the best olives you can find.

SOURCE: Adapted from Food.com

Creamy Tomato Sauced Linguine with Prosciutto and Peas

Pasta-with-Tomato-Cream-Sauce-9 This is purely comfort food. Great for a winter meal, or any time you just want to get into your jammies and chow down on food that makes you warm and happy.

There are a lot of these recipes and I borrowed freely from about three coming up with my own twists.


  • 1 box of pasta of your choice. I like linguine for this but you could use shells or rotini, or bowties for instance.
  • 3 cloves of garlic, microplaned
  • 1/4 c EVOO
  • 1/2 c finely minced onion
  • 1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 c good red wine
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 c Parmesan cheese (best quality if you can)
  • 1 c cream
  • 6 oz prosciutto  diced, or bacon
  • 1 c peas (frozen is fine)


  1. Cook the pasta al dente. (You can do this early and place in a bowl and refrigerate until dinner time. Add a tablespoon of EVOO which will keep it from sticking. Take it from the fridge an hour before dinner or bring it to room temperature before you complete the dish before serving.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a saute pan and add the garlic, keeping it cornered with the pan tipped so the garlic stays in the oil and doesn’t burn. Remove from burner entirely when the garlic smells fragrant.
  3. Add the onions and turn much lower and saute until softened and translucent.
  4. Pour in the wine and raise the temp a bit until it bubbles. Continue for a couple of minutes.
  5. Pour in the tomatoes, oregano  and pepper flakes, stirring it all together, and reducing to a simmer. Let this go for about 30 minutes to an hour.
  6. When you are about ready to serve, add the prosciutto and cheese along with the peas and stir in. Then add the cream.
  7. When the mixture is well stirred, add the pasta and turn with tongs until the pasta is well coated.
  8. Place all in a serving bowl with tongs to serve.
  9. Serve with additional cheese.


NOTES: You can use regular tomatoes in which case you should blanch them and remove the seeds and the skins. I’d say about 8 Romas would do. You need not use the prosciutto at all if you want to be meatless. Other vegetables than peas can also be used. Asparagus would work as would broccoli or green beans.

SOURCE: Sherry Peyton

Bacon Eye-Talian Meatloaf

Bacon-BBQ-Meatloaf Meatloaf is comfort food for us, and serves a dual purpose of being the center of a great dinner and an even better sandwich cold. We never are sure which we like the best.

This one fits both purposes most excellently.

It won’t last long in your house I promise you.




  • 1 lb ground beef (leaner)
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 2 cloves garlic, microplaned
  • 1/2 c finely chopped onions
  • 3 good slices of a sourdough or other hearty bread, cubed and soaked with 1/3 c of milk
  • 2 tbsp fresh oregano
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 c fresh parsley,chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 eggs lightly mixed
  • 1 c mozzarella shredded
  • 1/2 parmesan cheese shredded
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • slices of bacon or pancetta
  • can of diced tomatoes well-drained
  • 3 tbsp of honey
  • slices of provolone cheese


  1. Add all the ingredients up to the bacon in a large bowl and mix gently until everything is evenly distributed.
  2. Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap and put the meatloaf in it, covering with plastic.
  3. Refrigerate for a couple of hours so that the meatloaf can “set up.”
  4. Turn it out onto a rack (so that the grease can drip off and away. Layer on the bacon in a single layer.
  5. Place in a 400° oven and bake for 45 min. or until internal temperature is 160°.
  6. Meanwhile mix the well-drained tomatoes with the honey and some salt and pepper.
  7. When the meatloaf is baked, remove from the oven, place the diced tomato mixture down the center and lay thin slices of provolone cheese over the top.
  8. Reduce the oven to 300° and return the meatloaf for 15 minutes or until the tomatoes have warmed through and the cheese has melted.
  9. Let sit for 20 minutes to rest.


NOTES: You could add chopped spinach if you like. Or make it ahead up to the topping and then just reheat and add the topping.

SOURCE: Sherry Peyton

Eggplant Sorta Rollatini with Beef

Rollatini3-500x375 Okay, this is a total fraud. This is Eggplant Rollatini minus the roll. It’s the lazy woman’s Rollatini and plus meat.  Tastes like, but doesn’t look like. Company meal for really close friends who won’t care that you didn’t go to enough trouble for them.

Are we clear now?

Besides that minor glitch…it’s damned good.

I mean really really good.


  • 1/4 c EVOO
  • 3-4 large cloves of garlic microplaned
  • 1/2 c minced onions
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (best quality)
  • 1 tsp hot pepper flakes
  • 1/2 c or so of a good quality red wine
  • 1 lb of ground sirloin (keep the fat down) or at least 93% fat-free
  • 2 medium eggplants
  • 1 container of ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c Parmigiano Reggiano grated
  • 2 cups mozzarella shredded
  • 1/4 c minced fresh basil
  • 1/4 c minced fresh parsley


  1. Heat up the olive oil and add the garlic being careful not to burn it.
  2. Add the onions and saute until translucent.
  3. Add the beef, breaking up and browning it well.
  4. Add the hot pepper flakes, and the wine, bring to a light simmer, and reduce until most of the liquid is gone.
  5. Add the tomatoes and continue the simmer until quite thick. An hour or so. You want to get most of the juice out.
  6. While sauce is cooking, cut the eggplant into slices lengthwise. I found that 12 strips fit perfectly in my lasagna pan.
  7. Place on parchment paper and liberally brush with EVOO and salt and pepper.
  8. Place in a preheated oven at 400° until browned. Turn over and do the same, and return to oven until the eggplants are done. Set aside.
  9. In a bowl add the ricotta, Parmigiano, eggs, and herbs, mixing well.
  10. Assemble oiling your lasagna pan liberally. Then layer a small amount of the sauce in the bottom. Cover the bottom with eggplant slices, then cover with sauce, then add all the ricotta mixture. Sprinkle with about one cup of the mozzarella. Place the remaining eggplant to cover all this. Place the last of the sauce over the eggplant and then sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella.
  11. Place in a 350 oven for 45 minutes, uncover the last 15.
  12. Let it rest for 15 minutes and serve.


NOTES: The traditional way is the place the ricotta mixture on each slice of eggplant and roll them up and place them on a bed of sauce and then add more sauce over. Do this if you are into pretty or a masochist.

SOURCE:  Sherry Peyton