Pasta with meatballs

Row upon row of flavour bombs.

What a rollercoaster two months! My sister moved back from three years abroad, work returned to its dizzying pace and I shopped myself into a retail coma three times over.

That said, it’s high time I get back into the swing of things. I have been busy taking photos of everything I have been making and will do my best to update them here with more effort than I was able to put forth last year. Promise!

It has been snowing here in Vancouver, which is fairly unusual and very exciting, so I have been making a lot of cozy meals. This one for meatballs in a simple roasted tomato sauce is a new favourite. If you are looking for a good family friendly crowd-pleaser, I seriously recommend rallying the troops and getting busy in the kitchen. Make a mess! It’s only half the fun (besides eating), right?

Pasta with meatballs
Adapted from Martha Stewart and here

Serves 4-6

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1 package linguine, fettucine or spaghetti

For the sauce:
6-8 roma tomatoes, quartered and seeded
4 tbsp. olive oil, divided
salt & pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
2-3 tbsp. red wine, whatever you have on hand
8 oz. can tomato sauce (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
3 tbsp. fresh basil, finely chopped

For the meatballs:

½ pound or 225 g. lean ground beef
½ pound or 225 g. ground pork
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/4 cup panko flakes
1 tbsp. sriracha sauce
½ cup finely grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
3 tbsp. Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 slices white bread, torn into small pieces (1 cup packed)
1/4 cup whole milk
Extra-virgin olive oil, for frying (about 3 tablespoons)

For the sauce:
  1. Preheat oven to 450ºF.
  2. Drizzle tomatoes on a baking sheet with 2 tbsp. olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20-25 minutes, until the bottoms have browned. Roughly chop into pieces and set aside.
  3. Begin making meatballs: Mix together beef and pork using your hands. Stir in garlic, cheese, parsley, eggs, panko, sriracha, and 1 1/4 tsp. salt; season with pepper. Soak bread in milk for 5 minutes, and then stir into meat mixture.
  4. Lightly dampen hands, and roll mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls, transferring to a rimmed baking sheet as you work. Refrigerate for 1 hour, or until your sauce is cooked (next step).
  5. Heat remaining olive oil in the pasta pot. Add garlic and crushed red pepper, stirring and cooking for 1 minute. Add tomato sauce, tomatoes, and red wine and bring to boil.
  6. Keep sauce at a gentle simmer in a medium pot. Meanwhile, heat oil in a heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, fry meatballs, shaking skillet occasionally, until brown all over, about 6 minutes, and transfer to sauce. Simmer until meatballs are cooked through, about 10 minutes. (Test doneness by cutting 1 meatball open.)
  7. Cook pasta in boiling, salted water according to package directions. Add pasta and toss, season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle cheese and basil over the pasta and serve.

Try some more great pasta ideas! Shrimp scampi is light, easy and delicious.

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