March Dinner and a Movie: Moonstruck and Festa Italiana


Hey, fellow movie fans! Are you ready for another installment of Dinner and a Movie? Hope so, because this month I get to choose! And, I've picked one of my all time favorite films: Moonstruck!

Moonstruck is a delightful and endearing romantic comedy about love and life set in New York City's Italian-American community. Although the film dates back to 1987, it's charm is timeless. In it, Loretta Castorini, an unlucky in love Italian widow (her first husband was hit by a bus) finds romance through the intervention of a big, beautiful and very full moon. With her second wedding just weeks away, she meets and reluctantly falls hopelessly in love with her fiance's estranged younger brother! Her dilemma and her hilariously eccentric family make for an unforgettably enchanting and irresistible movie experience.

I selected Moonstruck as this month's movie for several reasons. First of all, I love, love, love it! Secondly, I felt that the decidedly ethnic flavor and various subplots of the film would give you all lots to work with when deciding what your dishes would be. Thirdly, did I mention that I love this movie?


Anyway, if you want to play along this month with my co-host, Marc (No Recipes) and me, check out Marc's Dinner and a Movie page. You'll find all of the event guidelines there, including how and where to send your entries.

The post deadline for this month's installment of Dinner and a Movie, featuring Moonstruck, will be on Saturday, March 28. I will be posting the roundup here at SGCC shortly thereafter. Our live Twitter movie event will be the week before, on Saturday March 21, at 9PM EST. Just log on to Twitter, pop the movie in your DVR, grab some popcorn and watch the movie along with us, tweeting along the way!

I'm really looking forward to this one. I can't wait to see what you all come up with this month!


Now, because I'm so incredibly efficient (NOT!), and because I just wouldn't feel right about sending you off empty-handed, I'm leaving you with some delicious Spaghetti and Meatballs to tide you over.


This Spaghetti and Meatballs is going over to Maryann from Finding La Dolce Vita and Marie from Proud Italian Cook for their second annual Festa Italiana event. Come and join them at their festive tables under the shade of twisting grapevines, as they eat, drink, laugh, dance and sing the time away. They have already started posting the roundups here and here, so what are you waiting for!?!?


SCGG's Spaghetti and Meatballs
(Printable Recipe)

1 lb cooked spaghetti

For the meatballs:

1 lb. ground chuck
1/2 lb ground veal
1/2 lb ground pork
2 cloves finely minced garlic
1 medium sweet onion, coarsely grated
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 cup panko crumbs soaked in 1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp salt

For the sauce:

3-4 tbs olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup shredded carrot
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, loosely packed
1 tbs fresh thyme leaves
4 28 oz cans peeled, whole tomatoes (preferably San Marzano) or the same amount of crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup white wine
3 tbs tomato paste
1 batch baked meatballs
1/2-1 tsp red pepper flakes to taste
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil for garnish
Parmesan or Romano cheese, grated for topping


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all of the meatball ingredients in a large bowl until combined. Do not overhandle or the meatballs will be tough. The mixture should be moist, but hold together. If the mixture appears too wet, add more panko crumbs, a little at a time. If it is too dry, add a little more milk.

Form into balls, about 1-1 1/2 inches in diameter. You should get about 20 meatballs out of this recipe.

Place meatballs on a shallow baking sheet and bake until they start to brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

In the meantime, begin making your sauce. Put whole tomatoes into a large bowl. With your (clean) hands, squish and mush them until they are all broken up. If you're using crushed tomatoes, skip this step. Set aside.

In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil on medium high heat. When the oil is hot, reduce heat to medium and add the onion, carrots and thyme. Saute about 8-10 minutes or until onion is soft and translucent. Add the garlic and saute a few minutes more, until it becomes fragrant. Be careful not to burn it.

Add the wine and whisk in the tomato paste. Let it bubble up and cook down for a minute or two.

Add the tomatoes to the pot and stir, mixing everything together.

Add the red pepper flakes and 1/4 cup of the basil. I usually like to add a little salt and pepper at this point as well.

Stir again, cover the pot and wait for the sauce to begin to bubble. Reduce heat to medium low and keep sauce at a simmer.

Carefully, lower the meatballs into the sauce. Don't stir at this point because you don't want to break up the meatballs. Cover and gently simmer for about 30 minutes. Then, uncover, gently stir and let the sauce simmer for about 30 minutes more. If, for some reason, your sauce starts to burn or stick a little on the bottom of the pot, do not scrape it with your spoon or else the whole sauce will taste burned!

Add additional salt and pepper to taste.

Remove meatballs to a large bowl or platter and keep warm. Place the pasta on a large serving platter and ladle the sauce on top. Toss well. Serve the meatballs separately or on top of the spaghetti. Top it off with the rest of the fresh basil and grated cheese.

Serve and enjoy!

Here are some other great pasta dishes from the SGCC archives:

Easy Peasy Meatball Ziti

Pasta e Fagioli

Pasta Pissaladierre

Spaghetti fra Diavolo con Vongole

Spaghetti all' Amatriciana


Maria said…
I haven't seen that movie in years! I need to watch it again, great pick! And what a plate of pasta!!
Thistlemoon said…
Look at those lovely meatballs! They look great and your sauce sounds good too!
Emily said…
How delicious does that look?!

I've never seen Moonstruck before. Now I want to...
Delicious meatballs and a great dinner and movie pairing!
Anonymous said…
Where's my fork? I want to dig into that bowl of spaghetti and meatballs!
Thanks for joining the festa :)
Maryann xox
Lucy said…
I have never seen that movie but it sounds really good! I shall see if it is available over here.
I love meatballs - they look great!
I've never seen that movie. My kids would fight over your meatballs. Looks so yummy.
Elyse said…
I have never seen Moonstruck, but from your description, it sounds like a goodie!

Man, those meatballs look divine. One of my all-time favorite comfort foods!!
Peter M said…
Susan, Moonstruck is rivaled only by the spag & meatballs! It's a fun, fun, fun ethnic movie. My favourite character was Danny Aiello's.
Peter M said…
Susan, Moonstruck is rivaled only by the spag & meatballs! It's a fun, fun, fun ethnic movie. My favourite character was Danny Aiello's.
Manggy said…
I love it when you cook Italian pasta :) I can just imagine the big family gatherings you've probably brought this to! I'm sure it's a family favorite!
As I'm not much of a movie person, I haven't seen Moonstruck. Sacrilege, I know. I hope I'll remedy that soon (and Chocolat too! Gasp!).
Moonstruck is one of those classic moveis. What a great choice Susan!! I had better "snap out of it!!!!!" and get working on a recipe. Your dish for the fiesta looks great as well!!
Debbie said…
There is not much in my book that can top spaghetti and meatballs.. This was a Sunday dish EVERY Sunday at my grandmas when I was growing up....
The Duo Dishes said…
Nice homestyle recipe.
Susan, I could watch Moonstruck over and over, I just love that movie, no popcorn for me, I'll have a big bowl of your scrumptious looking spaghetti and meatballs!Thanks so much for joining the festa with us!
xox, Marie
Anonymous said…
Moonstruck! One of my all-time favorite movies, too. I can't even count how many times I've seen it.
Meg said…
I love that the meatballs use panko crumbs soaked in milk.
Anonymous said…
A wonderful recipe for spaghetti and meatballs! I'll have to see if I can watch Moonstruck. I might have seen it once but I can't recall the details.
MaryBeth said…
Great looking dinner to go with a great movie...Bravo
I do love that movie. It's my mother's all-time favorite. I can remember her seeing it and loving it so much she insisted on taking me to see it in the movies. I was happy to see it with her, but after all these years, she still hasn't seen The Princess Bride. She owes me one.

I loves me a great plate of spaghetti and meatballs. Yum.
Mmmm.... I'm so craving meatballs right now.
Dori said…
OMG, my most favorite movie ever. i havent participated in a blog event in quite a while, but i'll do anything for moonstruck.
Baked, By Anna said…
Love that movie!! I just made turkey meatball subs a few nights ago--yours look divine.
Cynthia said…
i feel like I have not visited you in ages!
test it comm said…
Great looking spaghetti and meatballs!
Brilynn said…
Love that shot of the meatball!

I've never seen this movie... but that should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me... I'm woefully behind on movie watching. I'll have to check it out.
Lisa said…
This should be a fun movie! I haven't watched it in a long time but I'm eager to see it again and am already feeling inspired.
Anonymous said…
Snap out of it!! Love that movie. What a fun idea.
smc said…
I just came upon your blog for the first time and it's GORGEOUS!! I look forward to reading your previous entries and following it in the future.
Tangled Noodle said…
Two great classics paired together for a wonderful evening!
I just saw your spaghetti and meatballs at the Italian fiesta. A classic comfort food if there ever was one. How clever to include Moonstruck. My father-in-law is 96, lived in the city for years and misses it. So he watches Moonstruck......says it takes him right back. He's almost worn out his copy. I know he would love this dish to eat while watching Cher.
Hope you don't mind if I help myself to some meatballs while I'm at the fiesta.
pigpigscorner said…
Sounds like a perfect match! Looks soo delicious!
Dewi said…
I love this classic spaghetti meatball sauce. Delicious.
NKP said…
I love that movie too!
I can talk right along with it, so quotable. Sometimes when I am out with the pups, I play the old man. Why? Why do you make me wait? It's la bella luna! Auooooooo!
Great choice, and who does not love spaghetti and meatballs? Yum.
Faery said…
I love that movie and the dish too, both are a classic at my home
Moonstruck = Brooklyn, NY = Me!!

I love that movie! I know all the Brooklyn locations they used.

I'll join in!

:-) pat
Can I participate? I love Moonstruck and Maryann's (Finding La Dolce Vita) invitation to snoop around at the Dinner and a Movie event made me want to run to the kitchen and whisk something up pronto. Ciao and... a presto!
Anonymous said…
I've never heard of this event, but it's such a great idea! I'll definitely start thinking about what to contribute...
Cakelaw said…
Your spag and meatballs look delicious - so rich and tomato-ey.
My Dinner and a Movie post is up. Moonstruck is such a great film. Ciao and Buon Appetito!

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