Meatballs and Rigatoni



  • ground chuck
  • ground pork
  • red pepper flakes
  • smoked paprika
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • breadcrumbs
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 5 cloves minced garlic

Tomato Sauce


  • one yellow onion diced
  • 4 cloves crushed garlic
  • 2 Tbs dried italian herbs– parsley, marjoram, basil and/or thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 28 oz can of crushed fire roasted tomatoes
  • 2 28 oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 2-3 Tbs ground romano cheese

  • Mix all of the meatball ingredients in a large bowl. Knead thoroughly with your hands or use a hand mixer to thoroughly combine. Mold meat into tennis ball sized spheres. Set aside. Repeat with remaining meat mixture. At this point you can either refrigerate or freeze the meatballs in plastic wrap for cooking at a later date.

    Prep (cut, crush, open cans, measure, etc.) all of the ingredients for your pasta sauce at this time and set aside.

    Heat a stock pot or pasta pot full of cold water on high heat on a back burner. Add 2 tsp salt. When boiling, add 1lb of dried pasta and cook according to the directions on the side of the box. Depending on your type of stove, it can take anywhere from 3 minutes to 15 minutes to get a stockpot of cold water up to a rolling boil. Pasta generally takes 10-14 minutes to cook to al dente.

    Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Also, pre-heat a skillet over medium heat. After a minute, add 2 Tbs of olive oil to the skillet on the stove. Slowly add the meatballs into the pan, turning as necessary to thoroughly brown the outside of the entire meatball. After the meatballs have been thoroughly cooked on the exterior, place your tray of meatballs into the 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes.

    Using the same pan in which you browned the meatballs, add your onion and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add minced garlic and dried herbs and let saute for one minute to release the aromas. Add the roasted crushed tomatoes. Stir thoroughly and then add the remaining diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Let simmer for 10-15 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper as necessary. Add 2-3 Tbs ground Romano cheese. At this point, you could puree the tomato sauce in a blender or with a handheld stick blender right in the pan, which is especially useful when feeding kids. All kids like pureed sauce better than chunky sauces. It’s a law of science.

    Check on your meatballs and remove from the oven when they have reached an internal temperature of 140 degrees. Add the meatballs to the pan of tomato sauce and keep on a low simmer on the stove top. When your pasta has finished cooking, drain and serve in a large platter family style with the meatballs and sauce or likewise on individual bowls/plates.

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    About Chef Pete

    Chef Pete received his classical training at the Western Culinary Institute in 1999, and then went on to work in the kitchens of various restaurants in WI, NM, and IL.

    After working as a corporate chef for Sub-Zero Corp. and then the Viking Cooking School, Pete realized that there are 4 things in life that he truly loves:
    1. His Family
    2. Teaching others how to cook great food in their own kitchens.
    3. Cycling
    4. Tacos.
    In That Order.

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