Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Penne with Meatballs

Meatballs, originally uploaded by Kim De.

I have a confession to make: I tend to be a bit of a food snob. Pasta with meatballs has always seemed to simple for me to make. Never thought it was worth my while. But it's amazing what love will do for you. Husband loves meatballs, must make meatballs.

With Italian food, my instinct is always to check with Giada first. I love her style. Her food is simple but always full of flavor. Minimal ingredients that meld together in a beautiful way. This recipe is no exception.

Parmesan cheese, dried herbs, homemade bread crumbs and egg make lean ground beef sing with flavor. Adding homemade sauce from my freezer and whole wheat pasta, and a simple meal of spaghetti and meatballs is suddenly something even this snobbish foodie can appreciate! I think I will be making these again!

Penne with Meatballs (Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis)

1/4 cup plain dried bread crumbs
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons whole milk
3/4 cup grated Romano
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound lean ground beef
1 T extra-virgin olive oil, plus cooking spray to complete coat
5 cups tomato sauce
1 pound dried penne pasta

In a large bowl, add bread crumbs, eggs, milk, 1/2 cup Romano, parsley, salt and pepper and mix well. Add beef and gently combine, being careful not to overwork the meat. Shape into golf-size balls.

In a large skillet heat the oil over medium heat. When almost smoking, add meatballs and without moving or turning the meat, allow it to brown for about 3 minutes. Turn meatballs and brown other side. Continue to cook until all sides are golden brown, about 8 minutes total. Add tomato sauce and bring to a boil. Lower heat and allow meatballs to simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and keep warm on stove. Be careful not to over handle the meatballs since they are soft and fragile.

In a large pot, bring to a boil 6 quarts of salted water. Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 6 minutes. Drain pasta in a colander, reserving about two cups of the water Do not rinse pasta with water since you want to retain the pasta's natural starches so that the sauce will cling to the penne.

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