Aglio Olio with Mushrooms

A long time ago I had a friend that loved to cook Italian foods.  Spaghetti Aglio Olio, a.k.a garlic pasta,  and a red meatless “gravy” were the only two thing I ever cooked with that friend.

If you have read any of my other posts, you know that I can never leave well enough alone in a recipe and have taken liberties over the years to adjust this recipe to my own preferences.  I think this is the way most folks cook Aglio Olio, as no two recipes ever seem the same.

The way I learned to cook Aglio Olio was to start with olive oil, garlic, and anchovies.  I know that the anchovies are supposed to melt into the sauce and provide a rich flavor.  I find it leaves too fishy of a taste for me and have chosen to not use them.  If you like that flavor, all you have to do is add 4 to 6 anchovy filets to the cold skillet with the garlic and oil when you first start the dish.

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Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan is the perfect marriage of summertime eggplants and Andy’s Favorite Pasta Sauce.  This can also be made with jarred pasta sauce, and Lord knows I have used jarred sauce before when I was too lazy or busy to make homemade.  No really, lazy is the better reason.

One trick I learned long ago, and even use with homemade sauce is to add a 15 ounce can of tomato sauce to extend and pasta sauce you are using.  Unless you are mixing it with less than 16 ounces of pasta sauce, you should not notice a huge difference in taste.  I like how it thins out the sauce for this recipe, as I don’t care for a big stiff glop of sauce on my eggplant or chicken Parm.

Eggplant may seems kind of intimidating, and I confess I was intimidated the first time I ever took a knife to one.  Now, I have never ventured outside my box on eggplant, I only use it for a fried version of eggplant Parm.

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Meatballs

Meatball subs are in the regular rotation during football season at our house.  They can be made with frozen meatballs and jars of marinara sauce, homemade meatballs with marinara sauce, frozen meatballs and homemade sauce, or homemade meatballs with homemade sauce.

I have made them in all of the combinations above and I am not ashamed.  Even if you tell me how great the sandwich was you just ate, I will let you know I used frozen meatballs and which brand of jarred sauce I used, if I did.

The secret to great meatball subs using frozen meatballs is the cooking method.  Slow, slow, slow.  You can cook them on a stovetop, in a crockpot, or in a low temperature oven.  You just need enough sauce to cover the meatballs and a little water.  If I am using a jarred sauce I add about a quarter cup of water to each jar, this normally takes 2 jars when I cook for a party, replace the lid and shake the water in the jar to get out the last of the sauce and pour it in.

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