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by Sarah Steimer

Pasta with roasted tomatoes, corn and garlic confit

This dish was a straight-up treat. The garlic confit and corn take on a subtle sweetness, while the roasted tomatoes take everything to a deeper level. I would have even skipped the pasta and poured everything over a good piece of bread. So save this recipe as a bruschetta idea as well!

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by Caitlin Saniga

Heirloom tomato spaghetti with fresh basil

Please forgive me for sharing what may be the simplest, most generic summer meal. I can’t get enough of heirloom tomatoes!

  • 4 medium heirloom tomatoes, the more colorful, the better
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 shallots
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves
  • 1 8-ounce package spaghetti

Chop the tomatoes and place them in a large bowl, along with their juices. Drizzle the olive oil over top, and season well with salt and pepper. Let the tomatoes rest.

Mince the shallots and garlic. In a small saucepan, heat a couple splashes of olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots, season with salt and pepper, and cook until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Next, add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat, and add to the bowl with the tomatoes. Tear the basil leaves, and add them to the bowl. Stir to combine, and let rest while preparing the pasta.

Cook the pasta according to package directions, and drain. Add the pasta to the bowl with the tomatoes, and toss well to coat with the sauce. Divide among 4 bowls, and serve warm.

Makes 4 servings.

Recipe adapted from: Mission Delectable

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by Sarah Steimer

One of my best friends came to visit recently and she loves Italian food. I had this meatball recipe bookmarked for a while and this was the perfect chance to try it. AND I made homemade pasta to go with it, which Anna - a pasta pro herself - helped me with.

  • 1 1/2 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 roasted red bell pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • pasta sauce

Place beans and roasted red peppers in a food processor and pulse until chopped, not pureed. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl.

Using a wooden spoon, mix the onion, garlic, parsley, oregano, egg, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper into the beans mixture until well combined.

I actually used mozzarella to top the meatballs, totally forgot to pick up Parmesan.

Coat the bottom of a glass cooking dish with olive or vegetable oil. Work the bean mixture into balls that are slightly larger than golf balls. Because of the consistency of the “meatballs,” it requires more of a pressing motion than a rolling motion to form the balls. Place “meatballs” on the prepared dish, allowing for about an inch in between each.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are firm to the touch and lightly golden brown. Remove from the pan and serve with pasta sauce and spaghetti, topping with shredded Parmesan if you so choose.

Makes about four servings.

Recipe adapted from: Cookin’ Canuck

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by Sarah Steimer

I had never tried shredding sweet potatoes before, it really cuts down on the usual cooking time.

  • 8 ounces pasta (the recipe suggests angel hair, but I just used regular spaghetti)
  • oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups shredded, peeled sweet potato (about one medium potato)
  • 1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup diced plum tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons parsley (a little less if it’s not fresh)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • salt
  • 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Cook the pasta until just tender (yinz know, al dente-like).

Saute the garlic in a pan the oil. Add sweet potato, bell pepper, tomatoes and water to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the bell pepper is tender-crisp.

Drain the pasta and add it to the pan of vegetables. Add the parsley, tarragon, vinegar, salt and cheese. Toss to combine. Add more water if needed.

Makes about four servings.

Recipe: Eating Well on a Budget

Photo: Sarah Steimer

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by Caitlin Saniga

You can't tell from this photo, but an important factor in Cincinnati chili is its soupiness. When you finish slurping up the spaghetti, there should be a pool of chili liquid at the bottom of the bowl. Some people use oyster crackers to soak it up. I used Cheez-its, which trump oyster crackers in my book. I also added some chopped raw onion as a topping.

  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 (1 ounce) square unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 (10.5 ounce) can beef broth
  • 1/2 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 6 minutes.

Add beef, in batches if necessary, and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until browned.

Add chili powder, cinnamon, cumin, allspice, cloves, bay leaf, chocolate, beef broth, tomato sauce, cider vinegar and red pepper. Stir to mix well. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 1 hours, stirring occasionally.

The chili is best if you refrigerate it overnight.

Remove the bay leaf. Reheat gently over medium heat. Serve over hot, drained spaghetti. Top with shredded cheddar cheese.

Makes 4 large servings.

Recipe adapted from: AllRecipes.com

*Throughout March, “Crock of…” will appear every Friday with our favorite chili recipes — all of which can be found here.

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