My father had a rotation of a few go-to dishes he would make for me and my sister when my mother was working or studying, and one of them is an easy, but still super-tasty favorite of mine: ricotta, pasta, and tomato sauce. Usually he went with rotelli. He’d make the pasta, throw it in a bowl with the ricotta while it was still warm a few times, and then toss it with tomato sauce. It’s creamy and tangy, and it’s replete with all the true simple goodness and flavor of growing up in an Italian-American household. I play with this recipe all the time, throwing in cold goat cheese at the last second, fancying up the pasta, making my own sauce, but at the base of it, this is Pop’s dish. Here, instead of using a jar of sauce, you can make a simple homemade cherry tomato sauce in less than 20 minutes, and used some fancypants stracciatella and ricotta with homemade garganelli from Eataly. It’s a much more expensive version of a dish whose inspiration was kind of totally the complete opposite: a reasonably priced, soul-satisfying, red-sauce dinner. Why? Because it takes all those quintessential flavors to their next level. Regardless, let’s just say by the time you boil your water, it will be ready to go. And hey Pop, thanks for dinner.
Click here to see It's Time for a Cherry Tomato Fiesta — 11 Great Recipes.
My great-grandparents, who came from Italy, would chuckle upon learning that not only is there a restaurant on New York's Lower East Side dedicated just to meatballs (The Meatball Shop), but that it's almost always packed. They'd also get a kick out of how popular events like Meatball Madness are, and how popular meatball recipes are. Why not? Meatballs are delicious.Meatballs and gravy are also one of the first things I remember watching my mother and grandmother make. As a kid, I thought tomato sauce ran in my veins — I told people that. That said, while I dig tradition, I've developed my own recipes for meatballs and gravy. Sorry, Gram, tomato seeds stay in — it's a rustic thing.This recipe includes gravy, meatballs, and heavily-garlicked bread to compose some pretty badass meatball sliders with a little flare — if I do say so myself. In the immortal words of Jack Somack, "Mamma mia, that's-a spicy meat ball-a!"Click here to see Recipe SWAT Team: Meatballs.Click here to see the Meatball Sliders with Homemade Tomato Sauce Slideshow.
It is said that this unusual pasta dish was invented by farmers in the backcountry of western Liguria, who had to cook their own lunch in the fields. Potable water was not always available, and only a limited amount could be carried over long distances, so these workers developed the technique of simmering their spaghetti directly in a sauce of fresh tomatoes —which they might have plucked right from the vine — with just a little water added.
Click here to see Recipe SWAT Team: Pasta Dishes.
Spicy lobster pasta is a fabulous special occasion dish that's surprisingly easy to make at home. This recipe makes good use of the whole lobster, incorporating the cooked shells to create stock that infuses the tomato sauce with the crustacean's unique flavor.This recipe is by Chef Julian Marucci of Pazo restaurant in Baltimore, Maryland, and was originally published in The Baltimore Sun.
For dinner, sausage made from freshly ground lamb, Kalamata olives and plenty of fresh herbs comes together quickly. Serve the lamb sausage with a robust tomato dipping sauce and a side of basmati rice. Or, remove the sausage from skewers and serve it wrapped in warm pitas topped with the tomato sauce and paper-thin slices of cucumber.This recipe is by JeanMarie Brownson and was originally published in the Chicago Tribune.
When the weather is constantly miserable during the winters in New York, I am all about being cozy and versatile in my cooking and eating. Over the weekend, I made a delicious and uber-easy tomato sauce that is the perfect dish for keeping all my kitchen constituents happy: the kids always want a yummy pasta, check; my husband wants something healthy and different, check; and, I usually want to watch my waistline, but don’t always want not make two (or even three!) completely different meals, check and check!
I made this sauce in less than 30 minutes, the kids loved it on top of pasta, and I quickly broiled some filet of sole and topped it with the sauce for the adults. Easy as pie for me and delicious for all! Love that!
Note: This ages very well, so make in advance or get two meals out of it! It’s delish on chicken cutlets as well!
Tomato sauce can often feel like a boring old weekday staple, but with this recipe you can literally spice it up. By adding the rich flavors of sopressata and charred zucchini with the unique tang of Sriracha, this is a sauce will definitely add a flair to the usual version.
Click here to see 7 Easy Sriracha Recipes.
I was lucky enough to find fresh, wild rock shrimp, so I decided to keep it simple and make an easy pasta dish incorporating them. The red chile pepper flakes and jalapeños add a nice background heat without overwhelming the sauce. Feel free to use less.
Click here to see Shrimp Recipes for Any Day of the Week
Seasoned with traditional Moroccan spices like cumin and cinnamon, the meatballs soak up the gingery, smoky sauce. It’s a luscious combination for a weeknight dinner or an easy meal on the weekend. If you like, you can even make the meatballs a day or two in advance. The sauce is delicious by itself served with couscous or orzo, or tucked into pita bread.
Originally, the recipe was conceived to use up some slow-cooker pork shoulder leftovers, but its simplicity and bright colors had me thinking about boring old pasta in a new way. Come to think of it, you could use leftover roast chicken too, but the tomatoes and radicchio go nicely with the tender pork.
Click here to see Recipe SWAT Team: Pasta Dishes.
My grandparents have been growing vegetables on the same land my great-grandfather tilled when he first came to this country from Italy. And as long as I can remember they've grown zucchini and squash on terraces between the concord grapes my great-grandfather planted along them almost a century ago. Anytime I'm visiting them up in Massachusetts and I see a bunch of blossoms growing I try to grab them to bring back with me. Doesn't get much more farm-to-table than stuffing homegrown zucchini blossoms.
Conventional practice is to batter the blossoms, but one, that makes them heavier, and two, they're gorgeous, why ya wanna go and hide 'em! So sometimes I skip the battering and just give them a quick sauté in some butter and oil. It's a simple process and a quick, simple tomato sauce adds a nice touch.