Aug 26, 2010

Meatballs and Penne

With the weather breaking a little this week during what seems to have been the hottest and most humid summer in a long time, warm comfort foods are an immediate desire. There are so many different versions of meatballs out there, my suggestion is find one you think sounds the best, and trust your own kitchen instincts to make it your own. Who knows, you might just develop a family recipe you can pass on. 

6 Tbs. olive oil
1/3-lb. ground pork
1/3-lb. ground veal
1/3-lb. ground beef
3 fresh garlic cloves, minced
3 whole eggs
1/3-C whole milk
4 slices day-old Italian bread or lightly toasted, pulsed in food processor until crumbs formed
1-C Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 tsp. fresh lemon zest
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
fresh ground pepper

1 medium onion, chopped in food processor until fine
3 garlic cloves, minced
2-28 oz. cans organic crushed tomatoes in puree
2 Tbs. olive oil
1-C fresh basil leaves, chiffonade

Preheat oven to 325ºF.

In large fry pan or shallow pot (that has matching lid) on medium heat add 1 Tbs. olive oil and sauté garlic lightly, 1 minute, being careful not to brown and burn. Remove from pan. In medium-large work bowl whisk eggs. Add milk, bread crumbs, cheese, lemon zest, oregano, parsley and pepper; let soak for 5 minutes. Add ground meats and stir gently with fork until well combined. Using ice cream scoop roll into 2-inch ball. Place on parchment paper lined baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes. 

Using same large fry pan or shallow pot on medium-high heat add 3 Tbs. olive oil. Being careful not to overcrowd pan brown meatball for 2 minutes per side. Remove carefully from pan and place on plate while browning the remaining. Once all are browned set aside and start sauce. 

In same pan, remove excess oil but do not clean out brown bits. Add 2 Tbs. olive oil and sauté onion for 2 minutes or until translucent. Add garlic and sauté additional minute. Add tomatoes and olive oil and bring to slow boil. Remove from heat and add meatballs back to pan. Sprinkle top with fresh basil. Cover with lid and bake for 1 hour. 

Serve atop cooked penne and fresh torn basil overtop. Serves about 6.

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