Tauntaun Guts and Starkillers aka Spaghetti and Rigali Meatballs Recipe

Spaghetti and Rigali Meatballs aka Tauntaun Guts with Starkillers Recipe
Star Wars Tauntaun Guts and Starkillers AKA Spaghetti and Rigali Meatballs Recipe
Spaghetti and Rigali Meatballs aka Tauntaun Guts and Starkillers Recipe
(I love the edible decor I made, so cool, but not quite an x-wing starfighter lol)
Some of you have repeatedly asked me for my meatball recipe and with Valentine's Day quickly coming upon us, it's time to post the recipe for the most romantic Italian food since Lady and The Tramp (Disney). Once in one's life, we must share a spaghetti pasta with somebody we love until our lips meet. Okay, that's the hopeless romantic in me. It's never yet happened for me, but hey, I have higher hopes for you!

Top it off with the fact, I am a horrible Italian. Yes, it's true. I don't really like spaghetti very much. I love the meatballs I make, but I am not huge on Spaghetti (unless it's covered in plentiful amounts of Parmesan and Romano). However, my kids love Star Wars Food, so it's Tauntaun Guts and Starkillers aka Spaghetti and Meatballs.  I make this dish at least twice a month to be a good mamma. Personally, I usually just take a meatball and put it on top of Sarlaac Toast aka Garlic Toast (with CHEESE and eat it that way. Mmmm!!! Speaking of which, you can find free printable Star Wars party food labels for both the Tauntaun Guts and Starkillers and the Sarlacc Toast on The Star Wars Mom website.

Levi, one of my precious sons, could never understand why other people's meatballs weren't as good as mine. He asked me what type I buy because I need to share the brand with others so they can have good meatballs, too. LOL My sweet boy should have known they were homemade, as almost everything is that our family eats. Meatloaf and meatballs were two of the first things I learned to make for dinner. However, over time I have modified my recipe to make it the way my family likes best and I hope you will do the same.

And at times, I even make my recipe a gluten-free version, so I will try to include that as well on a future post. If you like that traditional meatballs with pine nuts and raisins, I recommend you get "The Frankies Spuntino Kitchen Companion and Cooking Manual," as they are amazing cooks. I will have to make and post their cavatelli dish soon, as the males in my family think it's the best.

Starkillers AKA Rigali Meatballs Recipe


2 slices of bread
Milk, enough to soak the bread, but not too much
1 lb ground beef
1 lb Italian sausage (I prefer sweet, but if I don't have it, I add my own basil)
3 cloves garlic, minced or 1 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/4 onion, minced or 1 Tablespoon dried, minced onion
1/4 cup Italian flat leaf parsley, finely minced or 1 Tablespoon dried
1/4 cup Basil, finely minced or 1 Tablespoon dried
1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning (optional)
1 cup finely grated Parmesan or Romano (or better yet, both mixed)
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
12 turns pepper, fresh ground
1 pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
2 eggs, beaten
Italian bread crumbs or panko, for rolling meatballs in (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 unless you have time to let the meatballs sit in the fridge to intensify the perfect flavor. You can make the meatballs and refrigerate them up to 24 hours ahead of time.  

In a large mixing bowl, soak two pieces of bread in enough milk to cover them (just enough to soak them, but not excess) and let sit for about 5 minutes. Add all other ingredients (except Italian bread crumbs/panko) and thoroughly mix. Cover and place in refrigerator or begin forming into meatballs. I just scoop them up and use my hands to make at least 24 meatballs. You can roll them in Italian bread crumbs/panko if desired before baking to form a delectable crisp outside. Then place them in a non-stick sprayed 13x9 glass pan if not using bread crumbs or if rolled in bread crumbs then place each meatball in an non-stick sprayed individual miniature muffin tin cups.

Bake for 20-30 minutes, until golden brown (and when one is cut, the meat is cooked). This can vary in time depending on what size you make your meatballs. If I am serving them in sauce, I then pour the entire pan of meatballs and fat into my sauce and let them simmer more. In fact, if one is using them in sauce, then you don't have to cook them as long in the oven, as they will finish cooking in the sauce. 

Ham Solo in Carbonara Recipe AKA Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Ham Solo in Carbonara (Han Solo in Carbonite) AKA Spaghetti alla Carbonara
Ham Solo in Carbonara (Han Solo in Carbonite) AKA Spaghetti alla Carbonara
This is one dish that seems most Italians and Americans both enjoy in its closer to authentic version. Some enjoy adding garlic or onions to it, but for my first post regarding it, I will stick to something most purists will accept. Now being in America, I will make a few suggestions for items one is more likely to find in our grocery store. And by all means, if you want garlic or onions, go for it. My kids like it much better with garlic and extra sauce.

I live remote in the mountains. My closest store does not carry guanciale (nor does any grocery store locally). In fact, the pancetta it does carry is so thinly sliced, that it does not work well for cooking at all, it is meant for sandwiches or antipasto. If one tries to cook with it, it burns the within a minute of hitting the pan.

In Carbonara, to render the fat needed for the sauce, I must use local bacon. On the upside, we have many homesteaders and ranchers up here who raise lovely meat that I have no fears of consuming. So I do use a very beautiful, organic bacon, but you can use whatever you can locate or afford and it will still taste delizioso. 

Of course working hand in hand with The Star Wars Mom website, today's version of Carbonara is affectionately titled, "Ham Solo in Carbonara." You can find the free printable party food label on the Star Wars Mom website. I hope you enjoy this meal. Since spaghetti pasta is considered "romantic" food thanks to Disney's Lady and The Tramp, this is one of our Valentine themed posts.

I would like to give a shout out of BIG THANKS to my daughter, Bethany, who has been helping me with decor and setting up/tearing down for photo shoots. She has truly been a blessing at getting this rolling. She loves decorating, so she set up the table for the Valentine's Photo Shoots and I think she did an amazing job! While you can't see a lot of it on here, you can in the Star Wars Mom post on this topic.

Ham Solo in Carbonara Recipe


Sea Salt
3 large eggs, plus 3 large egg yolks, room temp
3 ounces (about 1/3 packed cup) grated pecorino Romano
3 ounces (about 1/3 packed cup) grated Parmesan
Fresh coarsely ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons olive oil
12 ounces of slab guanciale, pancetta, or bacon, sliced into pieces about 1/4 - 1/2 inch square, (depending on the meat you choose)
16 ounces spaghetti (1 box, do not use thin spaghetti for Carbonara)
1-2 cups of reserved pasta water after cooking spaghetti
Parsley, freshly minced for topping


Lightly salt the pot of water for cooking spaghetti pasta. While I normally salt the water like the ocean for cooking pasta, this is an exception, since we are going to use some of the reserved pasta water for our sauce and we want to control how salty this becomes. Bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, egg yolks, cheeses, couple of pinches of sea salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add whichever meat you are using and lightly fry until the fat is rendered and it begins to get crisp, but do not overcook. Leave meat in oil, and remove pan from heat.

Cook spaghetti in pot of water until al dente, be very careful not to cook any further, better less than more, as the spaghetti is going to soak up some of the sauce. Be careful to reserve a couple of cups of the pasta water before draining spaghetti.

Before draining spaghetti, reheat the pork in the skillet. Make sure to remove skillet from heat when it's hot. Add the hot spaghetti pasta to the skillet  and toss well for a minute. Then pour on some of the reserved pasta water, top with the egg/cheese mixture and stir quickly with two spoons if needed. You must work quickly to cook the eggs/cheese/water/fat into a sauce with the heat of the spaghetti and not end up with scrambled eggs. It should form a lovely, creamy sauce.

Serve immediately in pasta bowls. Top with parsley, freshly grated romano or parmesan, and black pepper.


Zep-POE-le Star Wars Poe Dameron's Zeppole Recipe

ZepPOEle aka Star Wars Poe Dameron's Favorite Italian Doughnut
Star Wars Poe Dameron's Favorite Breakfast ZepPOEle AKA Zeppole
Zeppole with Nutella ZepPOEle
ZepPOEle with Nutella
Zeppole with cinnamon-sugar ZepPOEle
ZepPOEle with Cinnamon-Sugar
Another fun and exciting post. My children love zeppole for breakfast or snacks. However, in coordination with The Star Wars Mom posts for Star Wars themed food, we have renamed our favorite recipe for zeppole to Zep"POE"le.

We are quite sure this would give Poe Dameron the energy needed to do some serious piloting. How do you think he...oops, no spoilers today. Be sure to find the free printable food label for ZepPOEle at The Star Wars Mom website.

What are zeppole? Well, they are not Led Zeppelin's creation, though for some reason the name always makes me think of Zeppelin. Zeppole are an Italian fried food made with ricotta, that can be made sweet or savory. We make it sweet, sort of like a cross between fritter dough and a doughnut hole. They are this moist cake/bread like texture inside with a crisp outside. Then one can sprinkle with confectioner's sugar, roll in cinnamon & sugar, or smother in Nutella.

My kids like the cinnamon & sugar and Nutella ones the best. For me, they are nostalgic, as they remind me a bit of my Great-Grandmother and Grandmother's recipe for Rubber Necks, which came from Oklahoma.

ZepPOEle Recipe


  • Canola Oil for frying
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese, preferably whole-milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • (dash of cinnamon, optional)
  • 1 dash salt
  • 1 cup flour, all-purpose
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder 
  • Cinnamon & Sugar, Nutella, or Confectioner's Sugar for topping


Heat a few inches of oil in a frying pan, over med-low heat.

In a saucepan combine all ingredients. Over low heat, stir until combined (it's a batter, so it will be sticky). You are not cooking it, just warming it a bit.

Now depending on the size you want, use a teaspoon or tablespoon to drop the dough into the hot oil. I use two spoons, one to help ease the dough off the scooping spoon into the oil. Scoop as many as will comfortably fit in the pan. Fry until golden on one side and turn over. When fully golden, remove from oil onto a plate with paper-towels to drain. Then roll in cinnamon-sugar or coat with Nutella. Serve when warm or cooled, depending on preference. We like them better after they cool.

Bobanana Bread AKA Banana Bread Boba Fett Style

Bobanana Bread - Star Wars Boba Fett's Favorite Banana Bread
Bobanana Bread - Star Wars Boba Fett's Favorite Banana Bread
The last week I have been working on a set of graphics for free printable party food labels for my The Star Wars Mom website. Along with that is baking/cooking some of my favorite recipes. So why not post the recipes on Italiano Connection so you can find my recipes too. First up this week is Boba Fett's and our family's favorite banana bread, which we fondly call Bobanana Bread. The free printable Star Wars food label is here.

Bobanana Bread - Boba Fett Banana Bread Star Wars
Bobanana Bread - Boba Fett Bread
My kids have been known to conspire with one another not to eat the bananas in our home so they can have this banana bread for breakfast.

In fact, when one of my sons was younger, he tried to talk the produce manager in a store into starting a sale of 2 bunches of bananas for a discounted price. The manager inquired about how many bananas he can eat in a day. My son confessed his goal for one bunch to get overripe for banana bread. The manager laughed and warned me I had a clever boy on my hands.

We love this banana bread as is, but some of my family love to eat it with butter smothered on it.

Click here for the free printable Star Wars Food Label.

Bobanana Bread Recipe


3 overripe bananas (sprinkled with Fruit Fresh, if desired)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup salted butter, room temp
2 eggs
1 Tablespoon heavy cream or sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
(pinch of nutmeg, optional)
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder

 1/4 cup salted butter
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon


Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter and non-stick spray a 9X5 loaf pan or a bundt cake pan. Yes, both. It keeps it from sticking much better than just one or the other.

Mash the bananas. Add 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup butter and combine until well mixed. Add eggs, cream, and 2 teaspoons cinnamon and again mix well.

In a separate bowl, sift together 2 cups of flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Add these dry ingredients to the banana mixture and combine only until dry ingredients disappear.

Pour banana batter into prepared pan.

In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup butter, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, 1/2 cup flour, and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon until crumbly. Put this crumbly goodness on top of the batter and pat in lightly.

Put pan in the center of a preheated oven and bake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the bread springs back a bit when lightly pressed. Take out and invert onto a plate. Quickly invert again onto another plate so the crumbly goodness is on top.
Wait until at least partially cool to slice and serve.

Barga, Epiphany, La Befana, and Befanotti

La Befana by Keane at Barganews.com
La Befana by Keane at Barganews.com
There is something about the town of Barga, from which my family originates. It is a small, but lovely medieval walled city in Tuscany. It seems to be so tight-knit. The residents gather for so many events throughout the year. It is the true sense of community. I try to copy some of their traditions in my family, but I can never compare to the centuries old traditions the town celebrates as a community. At least I can witness it in the town newspaper and try to give my children a small taste of their heritage.

As you may know from my last couple of posts, we were celebrating Epiphany.  La Befana (we go with the tradition that she is a little old, lady, not a witch) came to visit during the night, leaving candy, cookies, and a small gift. I encourage you to go to Barga News and read the article on how they celebrated with La Befana and Befanotti. I can't do it justice. On the page, you will see many more wonderful photos by Keane and even sound clips from the music of the night. My 5 year goal is to go visit Barga and my extended family there. I hope to go during one of the special events I have spent years reading about online and through photos and posts from the Rigali families living there.