Spaghetti and Meatballs with Mutti

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As most of you already know, I am super picky when it comes to ingredients. That’s why I work with Mutti, the best tomatoes in the world. Besides perfection in a can, I know exactly where these tomatoes come from. I drive past the tomato fields regularly outside Modena, not far from Parma.

Last Sunday while still in quarantine, I made my husband’s favorite meal: spaghetti and meatballs. It’s the perfect Sunday supper. Mutti is available at World Market,  and are the perfect pantry addition. They are truly the most delicious tomatoes in a can you’ll find anywhere. So delicious you can eat them right out of the can; they taste so fresh. Trust me, try them from the can and let me know if you do! Here’s my recipe for spaghetti and meatballs. Let me know what you think! If you have not yet tried Mutti, I highly suggest you do.

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Spaghetti and Meatballs
Serves 4-6

For the sauce, you will need:
– 1 small onion chopped
– 3 tablespoons olive oil
– 1 14 oz can Mutti chopped tomatoes
– 1 28 oz, can Mutti chopped tomatoes
– 3 cloves minced garlic
– 3 tablespoons dried oregano1/2 teaspoon salt

To prepare:

In a saucepan, add oil and onions cook until onions are translucent. Add tomatoes and garlic oregano, salt and stir. Simmer on low for at least 3 hours.* Note you will be adding the meatballs into the sauce.

For the meatballs, you will need:
– ½ pound ground beef
– 3 garlic cloves, minced
– ¼ red onion, diced fine
– 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
– 3 tablespoons bread crumbs
– 1 egg
– ½ teaspoon salt
– 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
– 1 cup olive oil for frying

* One box of spaghetti

To prepare meatballs:

In a large bowl combine, beef, 3 cloves of garlic, onion, Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, egg, and 1 teaspoon salt and rosemary. Mix ingredients by hand until completely combined. Form 2-3″ balls place on a cookie sheet and into the freezer for 1 hour. While meatballs are in the freezer put together the tomato sauce. Pull the meatballs out of the freezer Fry the meatballs. Place oil into a large frying pan, heat over medium heat, place meatballs into the hot oil, make sure to fry in batches, and they will need room to roll and fry evenly. Fry until golden, remove with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towel. Add the meatballs to the sauce, simmer for at least 3 hours. Serve with spaghetti, follow cooking instructions on the pasta box. Serve in bowls with grated Parmesan cheese.

To redeem a coupon from Mutti please click here!

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xx Annette

Thanks to Mutti for sponsoring this post!

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Winter Staple: Chicken Noodle Soup

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While spring is just around the corner, we are still receiving our fair share of cold, blustery and rainy days in Atlanta. I mean, I have seriously never seen so much rain! This chicken noodle soup recipe is the perfect exclamation point for a chilly winter day. It’s bound to warm you up from the inside out.

This recipe is an oldie but a goodie. In fact, it’s from my first book, Picture Perfect Parties. Can you believe that I’m actually in Italy as we speak working on my third cookbook and my fourth book overall? Life is a dream.

Chicken Noodle Soup
Serves  8
 You will need:

– 3 tablespoons olive oil
– 1 clove garlic minced
– 1 small yellow onion chopped
– 1 cup celery chopped
– 2 cups peeled carrots cut into coins
– 1 cup chopped parsley
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 1 teaspoon pepper
– 6 cups chicken stock
– 2 cups of water
– 1 3-4 lb roasted chicken (speed up this recipe and use a rotisserie chicken!)
– 2 cups egg noodles

To prepare:

In a large stockpot, place olive oil, garlic, onion, celery, carrots, parsley and salt and pepper. Sauté on medium heat until translucent. Add stock, water, and entire chicken.

Simmer over low heat for 3 hours. Once the broth is golden, remove the pot from heat, and with a slotted spoon pull the chicken out of the soup. Pull all the meat off with a fork and tongs (careful not to burn yourself on the hot meat) place all the meat into the soup, add more stock if needed. Simmer for another 10 minutes with noodles.

Serve warm

*This can be made a couple of days ahead and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Photograph from Picture Perfect Parties Rizzoli NY

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William Abranowicz 2019 Photography Workshop recap

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There are some people that just impress you. Bill Abranowicz is one of those people. He and I worked on a Rolex photoshoot together, at Augusta National Golf Course. It was a bit stressful as the masters location is much like visiting the Whitehouse. Think credentials, and lots of checks and cross checks. It’s like performing a military operation. But Bill was cool as a cucumber and sailed through the assignment. I liked his vibe from the start: super chill, sort of funny and very professional without being intimidating.

I knew I had to have him join us at La Fortezza.

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Bill arrived at Pisa airport with his striking wife Andrea in tow. Andrea, a location scout by trade, is chic, funny and endearing. To say she and I hit it off would be an understatement. The group of attendees was small but completely delightful. It was all men, and they were happy with everything; easy and amusing. I worked styling for all the attendees as they worked on their still life assignments.

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Bill’s powerpoint presentation was amazing. I must say one of the best I have seen. Bill told us about his influences and his early days as a printer (he printed for Horst). When he revealed that, I almost fell off my chair. He’s a humble guy who is completely focused on the work. He has so much knowledge that 5 days with him did not seem like enough time. Luckily for us, he returns in 2020 to do it again.

I can hardly wait for his return. He is truly a prince of a guy, and his wife ain’t so bad herself. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from the master, at the ultimate masterclass at La Fortezza.

xx Annette

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Her Dark Materials Workshop, 2019 recap

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Sometimes, one just has a girl crush, and with Instagram out there, it’s more likely that these crushes occur. That sentiment pretty much sums up my feelings towards Ros Atkinson, the woman behind the gorgeous Carravaggio still life styled images “Her Dark Materials” on Instagram.

The Dutch masters had nothing on Ros; in my opinion, she is the master. Although her work is very much in these styles, she very much has her own take with her images. They are simply spectacular. Having said all of this I said to myself, “Why not ask Ros (whom I’d never met in person) to come to La Fortezza for a weekend? Maybe she would agree to conduct a workshop.”

We hit it off immediately as she has a smart sense of humor, she’s cute, and we both wear Jo Malone perfume. A match made in heaven! I talked her into showing me how she constructs one of her very complicated layered still life sets. I was mesmerized.

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This October, she arrived a day early, and we immediately headed out to buy all the fruits, vegetables and things she would need to style with her students. We had a lovely meal with lots of wine and headed to bed. Wednesday, we prepped the studio and all the guest rooms for our group. Everyone arrived excited and elated to work with Ros for the next 4 days.

We had folks from all over the world including our first ever guest from India. Our days were spent with Ros in the lead. The weather even cooperated; we had several very dramatic days of fog and mist covering the fields around La Fortezza, and the vineyard was bright yellow against a gray sky. We tromped around the property all afternoon, and although it was damp and cool, we did not mind. We photographed food with Ros in the kitchen with Philip.

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We visited Parma and got lost in a maze near the city center. We toured Parma and dined the most amazing stuffed pasta, and fried dough with prosciutto and Parmesan cheese.

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It was a magical workshop, and Ros is the most divine inspiration and teacher. She shared all of her secrets, and everyone went away feeling creatively revived. The good news is that she will be back next year in September. Check the site and grab your spot we have limited spaces, and they usually go fast. Thank you Ros for a perfect workshop experience. My Instagram crush has turned into a beautiful real-life friendship with the most amazing and talented woman, love you Ros.

xx Annette

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Announcing 2020 Workshops and Retreats: run don’t walk to sign up!

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Run don’t walk to sign up for 2020 La Fortezza Workshops and Retreats. I feel like this year we have hit the sweet spot with our selections. Photography and styling are, as always, center stage, but we also have a great selection of workshops that highlight the unique part of Italy we call home. You’re going to love it.

Check the selection. I am sure there is something for you with us in Italy.

Click here to see the full descriptions. Keep in mind we have limited spaces, and private rooms are first-come, first-serve. I am so excited to head back to La Fortezza in May to prepare for these amazing experiences.

Please feel free to email me if you have any questions, in the meantime, have a look below and grab a spot! See you in Italy x

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