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Meatball Rigatoni Alfredo

Yesterday, I had the full “taste of OKC” tour…Rob took me out to lunch at one of my favorite local pizza shops, Empire Slice House. It was so nice outside, overcast & rainy, that we decided to eat under their covered patio. He had his boring old pepperoni pizza, while I got the “Fungus Among Us”—portobello, shiitake & white mushrooms with spinach and truffle oil. Add some garlic knots and a spinach & Gorgonzola salad with pickled onion & bacon, and you have yourself one delicious lunch! Plus, one (huge!) slice of pizza, a drink and a salad is only $9! Score.

That’s Rob’s hand stealing the rest of the garlic knots 😛

After we devoured our pizza, we decided to try Roxy’s…a local ice cream parlor that was conveniently located right next door to Empire. Rob, being boring again, got chocolate ice cream, while I got the Peaches & Cream. It too was fantastic! The ice cream was “hard”, just like I like it. What’s “hard”? Well, it’s not fluffy. It holds its shape and melts slower. I HATE fluffy ice cream (like blue bunny). Fluffy, whipped-like ice cream also doesn’t taste as flavorful. This ice cream was the opposite…and Roxy’s will hold me over until Blue Bell comes back. 😢
 Rob & I then went to work, and most of the rest of the day was uneventful—until my reporter Keaton and I stumbled across a food truck/farmers market/art festival in downtown Norman later that evening! We were starving and had been working diligently trying to gather a story, so we tried Mack’s food truck. Chicken & Waffles or a “Chicken Platter” were pretty much the only things on the menu, so Keaton got the waffles and I got the latter.

$8 for this feast!

The green beans on this platter were my favorite. So simple, yet sooooo savory. Everything was delightful, including the chicken, but that was my favorite part. I hope to find that food truck again sometime soon!


 

Now to today. I’ve been cleaning for most of the day and have almost finished cleaning the entire house, top to bottom. In the midst of my cleaning frenzy, I made a “snack” of pasta, broccolini, beans & mozzarella pearls. It was fantastic and hit the spot on this sticky hot weekend, but what I really wanted was this meatball casserole I made a few days ago…Meatballs, rigatoni, tomato sauce AND homemade alfredo sauce. What?!? Marinara AND Alfredo?!? Yep, you read that right. Marinara and Alfredo in one dish.

I don’t know why I’ve never tried the two together before. I love both equally and always keep them seperate, but I always find myself yearning for Alfredo when I make spaghetti or vice-versa.

The combo plus tube pasta equals a magnificent dinner time feast. Plus, these are some of the absolute best meatballs I’ve ever tasted in my life! Secret trick: under-cook the meatballs (on medium high heat!) a smidge. I love when they’re nice and soft on the inside but crisp on the outside. Perfection.

Meatball Rigatoni Alfredo

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4.5 tsp minced fresh thyme
  • 4.5 tsp minced fresh oregano
  • 4.5 tsp minced basil
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1.5 lbs. ground beef
  • 1 TBS. Oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup dry red wine
  • 1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 TBS. Parsley
  • 12 ounces uncooked rigatoni (or other small tube pasta)
  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 2 TBS flour
  • 2 cups half-n-half
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp oregano 
  1. In large bowl, combine first 9 ingredients. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Shape into 1.5″ balls. In a large skillet, brown meatballs over medium-high heat in oil in batches; remove and keep warm. Drain, reserving 1 TBS. drippings.  
  2. Sauté onion in drippings until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Add wine, cook and stir for 3 minutes. Return meatballs to pan of wine & onion & garlic; stir in tomatoes and Parsley. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover & simmer for 25-30 minutes or until no pink remains in meatballs. 
  3. Cook rigatoni according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt butter. Stir in flour until smooth, gradually add half-n-half. Bring to a boil, cook & stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan. 
  4. Drain rigatoni, place in large bowl. Add the meatball & sauce mixture, stir to coat. Transfer to a greased 13×9 inch baking dish. Top with Alfredo sauce, sprinkle with thyme and oregano. Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. 

The meatballs end up crisp and tender while the red wine tomato sauce is a sweet companion for the rigatoni…and the Alfredo sauce is the savory taste at the end of the bite! Bon appetit!

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