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We had a dishwasher when we were growing up and her name was Tammy.
My mom would cook these big, made from scratch meals every single night and dish duty was always mine. And mom had a steadfast rule that if my sister or I cooked anything, then we also had to clean up after ourselves. Needless to say that didn’t inspire me to cook very much, but I did enjoy sitting in the kitchen watching her cook.
The Iron Skillet
Watching Mom cook I learned most Southern “salads” had mayo as one of their main ingredients, and an iron skillet could be used for cooking anything from frying porch chops to making corn bread to oven baking fried squash.
I also learned iron skillets are very heavy and sometimes are hard to clean when things get stuck on them. Ever since then I’ve had this thing for iron skillets.
Whenever I see one in an antique store or at an estate sale, I have to check them out. I catch myself running my hand over the heavy cast iron while thinking about another mom or grandma that had used that skillet and maybe there was another little girl who sat by watching her cook. If I had a place to store those iron skillets, I would probably bring them all home like they were lost puppies.
Kroger, Some Wine, and An Awesome New Find
A couple of months ago I was shopping in Kroger and stopped in the magazine aisle. It’s a real treat to have a magazine aisle in the grocery store and I really wish they would expand their book selection to go along with it. Then I could get a new book, head over to the new wine bar, indulge in a glass of wine before moseying on to do the rest of my shopping.
Don’t judge. We all know how tough grocery shopping is y’all.
Sound nice, right?
But seriously, who has time for that?
But let’s get back to my story. While perusing the magazines I came across this magazine. Now how awesome is that?
It’s quite awesome in my opinion.
And it had this amazing One Dish Cheesy Meatball Skillet recipe in it. Which is to die for. If you’re looking for a restaurant quality meal to wow your family or guests then this would be the meal to do it. It’s good ole’ comfort food with a burst of flavor and a pretty presentation as well. There’s just something homey about serving a meal from an old iron skillet.
One Dish Cheesy Meatball Skillet
I simplified the recipe just a tad. Instead of making homemade meatballs I substituted the kind you can find in the frozen food section. Pop those suckers into the microwave for a couple of minutes and they’re good to go.
I also used 2% milk instead of whole milk, margarine instead of butter, and a little less than the called for amounts of the two cheeses and it still turned out wonderfully. Below, the recipe is written exactly as it was in the Southern Cast Iron magazine.
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 4 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ¼ tsp crushed red pepper
- ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
- 1½ cups grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- 1½ cups shredded fontina cheese, divided
- 1 (16 ounce) box rigatoni pasta, cooked
- 1 pound Itialian meatballs, thawed
- 1 (24 ounce) jar tomato-basil pasta sauce
- Garnish: fresh oregano
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- In a 12 inch cast iron skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add flour and stir constantly for 1 minute.
- Whisk in milk, garlic, salt, oregano, red pepper, and nutmeg. Cook and whisk constantly until mixture thickens which takes about 5 minutes.
- Stir in 1 cup each of Parmesan and fontina cheese and stir until melted. Remove from heat.
- Stir in cooked pasta.
- Top with meatballs, marinara sauce, and remaining cheeses.
- Bake for approximately 20 minutes, until bubbly and cheese has melted. Garnish with oregano if desired.