Beefaroni, macaroni and beef, chili mac, Johnny Marzetti, or American chop suey, call it what you will, but whatever its origins, there's one thing for sure: the stuff is delicious. Tender pasta with a rich tomato and beef sauce flavored with garlic and oregano, cooked together with onions and peppers, and finished with cheese, this is Italian-American comfort food at its finest. Not only that, but it's a ridiculously easy dish to put together, cooked 100% on the stovetop, and requiring nothing more than a pot, a bowl, and about half an hour of your time.
'Italian-American' on Serious Eats
There are times when you can stand over the stove all day, slowly cooking that red sauce down. Then there are times when you need to put dinner on the table in under an hour. For those moments when convenience trumps patience, this is the red sauce to turn to. Simmered with plenty of garlic, dried oregano, red pepper flakes, and basil, this sauce can be whipped up in no time but still has that deep, rich, long-cooked flavor.
Don't get me wrong—I'm not a health nut or calorie counter. But let's face it: the feeling you get after downing a bowl of creamy, cheesy Fettuccine Alfredo ain't the best. Wouldn't it be great to have a quick and easy version that has all the flavor of the cream-packed original, but with a cleaner flavor that doesn't leave you in a food coma?
This rich and hearty red sauce tastes like it's been cooked for hours, because it has. The secret to rich, naturally sweet, complex flavors is to cook the sauce in the oven, allowing the surface to brown while the sauce slowly concentrates. The resultant sauce is great on pasta, with meatballs, on your chicken parm, or scooped right out of the pan with a spoon on its own.
So many readers asked for my husband Joe Cleffie's meatball recipe that we had to oblige. With a few small tweaks made for foolproofing and streamlining, we're proud to present it here. This isn't the most complicated meatball recipe around—quite the opposite in fact. Our goal here is a recipe that anyone can make, no practice required, and get great results out of. I hope it inspires a thousand dinners in communities worldwide.
A base of roasted red pepper cream sauce swaths pre-cooked, medium-sized pasta shells. I like the sauce smooth and silky, so I purée the roasted pepper mixture before adding a combination of heavy cream and half-and-half, along with three cheeses: ricotta, Fontina, and Asiago. Italian sausage, garlic, and onions, boost the sauce with extra flavor.
Note: You must use a scale for this sausage. There is no way to accurately estimate the amount of salt needed otherwise. This recipe can be made with pre-ground pork as well. Mix ingredients as directed in step one, allow...
This tasted like a more complex, more delicious chicken parm. All the classic flavors were there—tomato sauce, cheese, chicken—but done in a more sophisticated way. The provolone was creamy with a little sharpness, the prosciutto nice and salty, and the chicken tender and juicy. When mixed with some marinara and basil, it had everything that makes a really plate-lickin' Italian-American meal.