Defending Your Life – Italian Wedding Pasta

Defending Your Life is an interesting Romantic comedy about a life after death. Even after you die, you can still live to eat. Julia (Meryl Streep) devours mountains of spaghetti when she realizes a benefit of being dead is no more weight gain. If only! Isn’t this just Wow! Strangers Daniel (Albert Brooks) and Julia (Meryl Streep) wind up dying prematurely only to find themselves in Judgment City, where the recently dead are put on a sort of trial to decide their fate. If in your time on Earth you were able to face your fears and learn from your mistakes, you get to move on to a life in a better world. However, if you didn’t, you have to go back to Earth and try again.

Daniel frequents Judgment City’s many restaurants (where the food is delicious and you can eat all you want without gaining an ounce), pays a visit to the Past Life Pavilion, and meets Julia (Meryl Streep), who seems so kind, sweet, and noble that her advancement is practically assured. Daniel and Julia fall in love, but what’s going to happen if they don’t end up in the same place? Albert Brooks and Meryl Streep make a witty and engaging romantic team in Defending Your Life, and Shirley MacLaine appears in a highly appropriate cameo. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Let’s celebrate life with this rich Italian Wedding Pasta.


  • 1 pound(s) ground turkey
  • 1/4cup(s) cup plain dried bread crumbs
  • 1/4cup(s) (loosely packed) fresh parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1 clove(s) garlic, crushed with press
  • 2 clove(s) garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup(s) freshly grated Romano cheese
  • 1 package(s) (16 ounces) bow-tie pasta
  • 1 tablespoon(s) cornstarch
  • 1 1/2cup(s) reduced-fat (2%) milk
  • 1 can(s) (14 to 14 1/2 ounces) reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 bag(s) (9 ounces) baby spinach
  • Ground black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line 15 1/2″ by 10 1/2″ jelly-roll pan with parchment paper or foil.
  2. In medium bowl, with fingertips, mix turkey, bread crumbs, parsley, garlic, egg, and 1/4 cup Romano cheese just until blended; do not over mix. Shape turkey mixture into 36 1-inch meatballs; place in prepared pan. Bake meatballs 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat large covered saucepot of water to boiling over high heat. Add pasta and cook 2 minutes less than label directs. Drain pasta; return to saucepot.
  4. In 2-cup liquid measuring cup, whisk cornstarch into milk. Add milk mixture and broth to pasta in saucepot; heat to boiling over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Boil 1 minute to thicken sauce slightly. Remove saucepot from heat; stir in spinach, 1/2 cup grated Romano, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add meatballs and gently toss to combine. Transfer pasta mixture to 3-quart glass or ceramic baking dish; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup grated Romano. Bake 20 minutes or until hot in the center and golden brown on top.

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