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
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: