I was looking through my fridge to get some inspiration for dinner and all I saw was a ton of broccoli, large amount of sauce leftover from cacciatore, and no fresh meat. My first thought was to turn the leftover sauce into something else and since it was already tomato based, a red sauce would do just fine. As for our protein, there wasn’t any fresh and I wasn’t in the mood to prep something from scratch so I resorted to frozen pre-made meatballs (please don’t judge). So last nights dinner menu became spaghetti & meatballs with a side of broccoli.
First I had to get the sauce going because it was very liquid-y. To thicken it up, I added a small can of tomato paste and then I added in some flavourings to make it taste like a pasta sauce. I put in some oregano, basil, paprika, chilli flakes, and worchestshire sauce. There was already some white wine in the original sauce so I decided to forgo adding red wine.
Then I just put it on the stove, brought it up to a boil, and let it simmer away until it was reduced by roughly 1/3 to 1/2.
Next was the veg! Recently, I’ve loved roasting anything I can for our vegetable selection. It’s easy and guarantees great flavour payout. Usually I roast carrots, zucchini, onions and potatoes because those are root veg and hold up well in the oven heat. I never thought to roast broccoli, until I Googled “best way to cook broccoli”, because I thought the florets would burn up too quick. Surprisingly they didn’t and they turned out great! Here’s how to make it:
- Preheat oven to 400F-425F and line your baking sheet with parchment
- Cut up as much broccoli as you want and toss it with olive oil, salt and pepper. Just make sure each broccoli floret is coated with oil and you’re good to go. Roughly 1/3 cup.
- Spread it out on the baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes. Flip the broccoli halfway through or else you’re going to have broccoli that’s black on one side and looking good the other half.
- Once out of the oven, squeeze some lemon juice on top and sprinkle some parmesan cheese. I used 2 wedges of lemon and maybe 1/4 cup parmesan. If you like more add more, like less use less.
The meatballs weren’t anything fancy. I just followed the instructions on the box and then mixed it in with the pasta sauce. Cook up your pasta of choice, mine was whole grain spaghetti, according to the package instructions . When the pasta is just shy of being perfectly cooked, take it out of the water and into the pasta sauce. No need to strain, just use tongs/chopsticks/whatever, because you want some of that pasta water to help the sauce and pasta get along. Mix it all up and serve!
Thanks for reading and have a great week!