Just like Mom Used to Make...

My obsession with pasta this last month has gone a little overboard. I have eaten pasta every day now for almost a month in some form or another. Not sure how it happened, but I guess with the change of season my tummy is just into the comfort of this Italian treat. I made this meatball recipe to see if I could go beyond my normal sauce routine and add a little Italian grandmother (not Italian, but I think I was in a former life!) to my daily plate of one of Italy's many culinary treasures. I wanted to keep it simple, but make sure to add a few extra ingredients to make it special. You can make the meatballs whatever size you would like and adjust the cooking time. Kids love mini ones and I have to say I do too.

Pasta & Meatballs
Forks & Amusement 2010
serves 4

3 tablespoons pine nuts
1 1/2 tablespoon flat leaf parsley, chopped; plus a little extra garnish
2 eggs
1/4 cup grated pecorino romano or parmesan cheese; plus a little extra for garnish and passing
salt and pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes (more if you like more heat)
1/4 cup Italian style bread crumbs
1 1/2 lbs. ground meat - beef, veal, pork - any combination or just one of them; turkey for a lighter take
1 - 26oz jar of your favorite pasta sauce
1 lb. box of your favorite dried pasta shape

Place a dry saute pan over high heat on the stove and add the pine nuts to it. Toast the pine nuts and shake the pan occasionally until they are slightly browned and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool, then coarsely chop

Place water on the stove to boil for the pasta.

Combine in a large bowl the pine nuts, parsley, eggs, cheese, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and bread crumbs. Add the meat to the bowl and GENTLY combine the meat into the mixture, you can use a fork or your hands, but try to not overwork, otherwise you will end up with tough meatballs.

Using your hands, gently roll the mixture into golf ball sized meatballs and place on a platter or plate. You should have 10-12 meatballs. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add some olive oil to just coat. Place the meatballs in the pan and brown, turning them so that the entire meatball gets browned on each side, about 10 minutes.

Pour the sauce into the pan, roll the meatballs in the sauce and bring to a simmer. Allow to cook for 10 more minutes so meat balls are cooked through.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions, drain and add to the sauce and meatballs. Stir to combine everything. Turn off heat and serve with extra cheese and parsley to garnish.


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