This recipe, taken from a rather endearing episode of Food 911 shows Tyler giving a cooking lesson and useful shopping tips to a sweet aspiring 12-year-old boy. Fuzzy warm tv stuff and a great recipe to try with your children.

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 cup milk
4 thick slices firm white bread, crust removed, cut into cubes, about 2 cups
2 pounds ground beef
2 pounds ground pork
1 egg
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound mozzarella cheese, cut into 10 (1-inch) cubes
2 cups heated Sugo Sauce, recipe follows
1 pound dried spaghetti
8 fresh basil leaves

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in an ovenproof skillet over medium heat; cook the onions, garlic, and parsley until softened, about 10 minutes. Scrape out onto a plate and allow the mixture to cool; set the pan aside. Pour the milk over the bread into a medium bowl and let it soak while the onions are cooling. Combine the meats in a large bowl and add the egg and Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Squeeze the excess milk from the bread and add the bread to the bowl along with the cooled onion mixture. Using your hands, gently combine all the ingredients until they are thoroughly mixed. Don’t overmix or the meatballs will be tough. Divide this mixture into 10 pieces and form them into patties. Place a mozzarella cube onto each patty and bring up the sides around the cheese to form a ball completely enclosing the cube.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat the remaining oil in the skillet over medium heat and brown the meatballs on all sides, about 10 minutes. Put them into the oven and bake until the meatballs are cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, about 6 to 8 minutes. Drain the pasta and put it onto a large serving platter. Pour on half the Sugo Sauce and mix well. Place the meatballs over the spaghetti and garnish with the basil leaves. Serve immediately along with the extra sauce and Parmesan.

Sugo Sauce for Sergio:
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 bunch fresh basil leaves, hand torn
1 cup pitted Alfonso olives
2 tablespoons capers, drained
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained and hand crushed, liquid reserved
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pour the olive oil into a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and half the basil and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the olives, capers, and remaining basil. Carefully add the tomatoes (nothing splashes like tomatoes) and about 1/2 cup of the reserved liquid; cook until the sauce is thick, about 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Yield: 2 cups

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I shouldn’t really bag on a show (Ready Steady Cook), which actually has a lot of attributes to it. It has some pretty decent and creative recipes using affordable, simple ingredients, not to mention the time-saving and entertainment factors.

Also, come to think of it, its rather nice to have a show that in unabashedly entertaining in a game-show way, without the usual jazzy music and media-whore chef types you get on the Food Network these days.

So here, from Ready Steady Cook, is the simplest of recipes by chef Phil Vickery, quintessentially English and delicious for quick late night snacking:

Mushrooms On Toast

Preparation time less than 30 mins

Cooking time 10 to 30 mins

4 slices bread
2 tbsp olive oil
For the mushrooms
300g/10oz mixed mushrooms, sliced
3 tbsp butter
1 garlic clove, chopped
3 tbsp parsley, chopped
Greek-style yoghurt and paprika, to serve

1. Heat a grill pan. Brush the bread with oil and grill for 1-2 minutes per side.
2. For the mushrooms, heat the butter in a pan and add the mushrooms and garlic. Saute for 2-3 minutes.
3. Add the parsley at the end and serve on the toast with a dollop of Greek-style yoghurt and a sprinkling of paprika.

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chocolatefondue_250A Valentines Dinner would not be complete without dessert and for me, this dessert should be something chocolate. Call it traditional. Call it mushy. I don’t care. I have to have chocolate on Valentine’s Day! So here is my pick from Rachel Ray’s ideas for the day of love – Chocolate Fondue:

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
Two 12-ounce bags semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Dried apricots, for dipping
Gala apples, cored and sliced, for dipping
Pretzel rods, for dipping
Marshmallows, for dipping

1. In a medium saucepan, combine the cocoa powder with 1/2 cup water and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Stir in the milk and sugar and bring to a simmer. Add the chocolate chips and vanilla and cook, stirring, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth, about 5 minutes.
2. Serve the fondue warm with the apricots, apples, pretzel rods and marshmallows for dipping.

There’s nothing like good old chocolate fondue to top off a romantic evening. Imagine having a very satisfying meal together. How much more romantic can you get than this – a cozy conversation while dipping fruits and marshmallows into a sumptuous chocolate fondue? You can’t get any better than that, really. The rest of the evening is up to you. Happy Valentines everyone!

Note: If you do not like the fruits mentioned above, you can always find some other fruits that you prefer. Try bananas or strawberries.

Does Rachel Ray have a man in her life? I was just wondering because I have not heard or seen anyone linked to her romantically. In any case, it does not really matter because she has some awesome ideas for a romantic dinner come Valentines. Here is my pick for the main course – Pan-seared Scallops with Pesto and Tomato:

2 cups fresh basil leaves, plus 2 tablespoons finely shredded basil
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 plum tomato, finely diced
4 large scallops

1. In a food processor or blender, pulse the basil leaves until finely chopped. Add the pine nuts, cheese, garlic and lemon juice. Turn the machine back on and add 3/4 cup of the olive oil in a slow, steady stream. Season the pesto with salt and pepper. Place the pesto in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
2. In a small bowl, combine the tomato and shredded basil and set aside. In a large skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium- high heat until almost smoking. Add the scallops and sear until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the scallops to a plate. Drizzle 2 teaspoons of the pesto on each scallop and arrange the tomato and basil around the scallops. Serve immediately.

This serves two and takes less than 30 minutes to prepare. And if you have huge appetites – just double the ingredients!