Recipe Wednesday: Linguine and Meatballs

linguine meatballs2edited

Meatballs are one of the easiest, tastiest meal ideas out there and very adaptable to your tastes. Adjust the spices to your liking, or try a mix of different meats to change up the flavor. Use up a lonely zucchini or bell pepper in your fridge by chopping finely and mixing in with the onion. Make a double batch and freeze for easy dinners. Endless possibilities!

Here we use ricotta for its mild and creamy flavor, which makes for a tender meatball that melds excellently with the tomato sauce and the flavor profile of our hard red winter linguine.

Baking rather than frying helps with clean-up and saves time. Mixing all ingredients together before adding them to the meat results means everything is evenly distributed the meat isn’t over-mixed. This is key to a light texture in meatballs.

Linguine with Meatballs

Makes 15-20 1-inch meatballs
Pasta serves 2-3
Adapted from Monica Matheny for The Yummy Life and Daniel Holzman and Michael Chernow for Epicurious

Ingredients

10 oz (1 box) Community Grains Hard Red Winter Wheat Linguine
1 pound 80% lean ground beef
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/2 cup bread crumbs or panko
1 small onion or 1/2 large onion, grated or chopped very fine
1/8 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
1 teaspoons salt
1 clove garlic, minced very fine
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 cups of your favorite tomato sauce, or 1 jar tomato sauce

For Meatballs

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Whisk egg until yolk and white are combined. Stir in the ricotta and breadcrumbs. Let this mixture rest for 10 minutes. It will thicken as the bread crumbs absorb the liquid.

Add garlic, onion, parsley, and spices to breadcrumb mixture. Stir until well mixed.

Place beef in large bowl and gently loosen and break apart chunks with your fingers or a fork. Add bread crumb mixture to meat and mix lightly with fingers are fork until ingredients are well combined.

Form meatballs with hands, or use a scoop. Place meatballs on baking sheets in rows and bake until no longer pink in center, 15-30 minutes depending on size. Drain on paper towels and served with tomato sauce and pasta.

For Pasta

Bring 4 quarts lightly salted water to boil. Add linguine and boil until al dente, 5-7 minutes. Drain and toss with warmed tomato sauce and meatballs.

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