Rowdy, with a chance of meatballs [2]

Sophia Loren Cookbook cover[Recipe 1] BEEF, VEAL and RICOTTA MEATBALLS transforms into
Have been spending way too much time faffing around on Pinterest lately. It’s a glorious time-waster, but where else would I have discovered this photo of Sophia Loren (thanks Susan Soshinsky)? It’s from her 1971 Cookbook, In Cucina Con Amore (In the Kitchen with Love). I need a copy so badly.
This photo segues quite nicely into an Italian-inspired dish don’t you think? This is the third recipe to use reserved portions of beef, veal and ricotta meatballs and sweet tomato pasta sauce. It’s a fab cheesey lasagna-like macaroni dish, which I’ve named Lasagnaroni. The boys had two serves each, and the whole family had minutes of fun playing Find the meatball.
If you’re feeling creative go ahead and bestow your own fancy name upon it, for everyone’s amusement. We like Soccer balls in the mud or Monster eyeballs in the swamp. Buon Appetito.

Macaroni cheese with meatballs

[Recipe 3] Lasagnaroni with meatballs

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for brushing baking dish
♦ 1 quantity (approx. 650g/1.4 lb) beef, veal and ricotta meatballs
♦ 1⅓ cups (600g)sweet tomato pasta sauce(or store-bought)
400g (14 oz) dried macaroni
½ cup peas, fresh or frozen
Salt and freshly-cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon (15g/½ oz) butter
2 tablespoons plain (all-purpose) flour
1¼ cups (310ml) milk
1 cup (100g) grated Gruyère cheese
½ cup (50g) grated parmesan cheese, for scattering

Preheat oven to 180°C (350ºF).
Lightly oil a large casserole dish and set aside.
Place olive oil into a large non-stick frypan.
Add beef, veal and ricotta meatballs and brown well on all sides.
Pour in sweet tomato pasta sauce and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, cook macaroni in boiling water until al dente. Don’t overcook it as it will continue to cook and soften in the oven.
Add peas for the last 2 minutes boiling time (if you’re using fresh peas, they’ll need about 4–5 minutes). Drain macaroni and peas and set aside.
Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add flour, and cook, stirring for 1 minute until smooth. Remove from heat. Gradually add the milk, stirring continuously. Return to the heat and stir for about 3–4 minutes until thickened. Add Gruyère and mix well.
Place half the cooked macaroni and peas into the prepared casserole dish. Press down on it with the back of a large spoon. Pour over meatballs and tomato pasta sauce. Season.
Layer the remaining macaroni and peas on top. Pour the cheese sauce over the top, and scatter with grated parmesan.
Bake for 20–25 minutes, until golden and bubbling.
Serves 4–6

  • I used Gruyère in the cheese sauce as that’s what I had in the fridge (I’m a bit of a Gruyère fan); but you could easily replace it with grated extra tasty cheese.
  • Leftovers can be taken to work for lunch, or to school in a little thermos.
  • If you don’t have a deep-sided non-stick pan; cook the meatballs in a shallow-sided non-stick pan first; and transfer them to a deeper pan for cooking in the sauce.

6 thoughts on “Rowdy, with a chance of meatballs [2]

  1. haaaaa!! i love this picture of sophia loren <3 yum! looks great and i also like that you hid peas in your dish:) my 9 yr old son has become quite a picky eater lately…. hide the meatball is a faboo idea!

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