Egg Pasta All’Amatriciana with Spicy Mozzarella Meatballs

29 Mar

I have always wanted to learn how to make meatballs. And when I finally watched Giada At Home on one of my lazy Sunday afternoons, I stay glued on that particular episode – Remembering Rome. I cannot express how delighted I was at how easy it was to make these meatballs. I know this recipe is a keeper and boy, am I glad! I substituted some of the ingredients and they tasted marvellous, all the same.

I altered the All’Amatriciana Sauce as it was a little bit bland and not as flavourful as compared to other tomato based sauces. Without further ado, here’s the recipe just so that you can fall in love with these heavenly meatballs.

Ingredients

All’Amatriciana Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 can chicken luncheon meat (or you can use chicken/turkey ham), diced
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 can Hunt’s Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic and Oregano
  • 8 tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup Prego Fresh Mushroom Italian Sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon MSG
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Meatballs:

  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, plus 1/4 cup
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus 1/4 cup
  • 1/3 cup Italian-style (or plain) bread crumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 450 gm minced beef
  • 60 gm Mozzarella cheese, cut into 16 (1/2-inch) cubes
  • 1 packet egg pasta (or spaghetti, linguine, etc)

Directions

For the sauce: Blend the Hunt’s diced tomatoes with the fresh tomatoes. Set it aside.

In a large heavy skillet, heat the oil and butter over medium heat. Add the chicken luncheon meat and cook, stirring constantly, until golden brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the meat and reserve. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, fresh mushroom sauce, salt, sugar, MSG, black pepper, and the cooked meat. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat until the sauce thickens, about 15 minutes.

For the meatballs: Position an oven rack in the lower 1/3 of the oven. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Brush a baking tray with oil.

In a large bowl, combine the onion, 1/2 cup parsley, 2/3 cup Parmesan, bread crumbs, egg, ketchup, garlic, red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add the beef. Using your hands, combine all ingredients gently but thoroughly. Shape the meat mixture into 16 (1 1/2-inch-diameter) meatballs and place on the prepared baking tray. Make a hole in the center of each meatball and place a cube of mozzarella inside. Reform the meatball so that the mozzarella is completely covered with the meat mixture. Bake the meatballs for 15 minutes until cooked through.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and place in a large serving bowl. Add the meatballs and sauce. Toss gently and sprinkle with the remaining parsley and Parmesan.

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