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Only days ago I learnt from Juls’ Kitchen that „pasta w/ meatballs“ originally isn’t Italian, but an American invention (same as for „Alfredo“, „chicken parmigiano“…), however, there’s also some pasta recipe from Jul’s granny creating very tiny meatballs. Inspired by this post I started my own version of pasta w/ meatballs.
I managed to create some creamy pasta w/ lots of pesto & on top „meatballs“ – not tiny meatballs, not big meatballs like hamburgers: more some size in between w/ a rather soft texture & crispy bottom & top.
What do we need?
First I grabbed for cellentani – big curly pasta able to get coated w/ lots of pesto…
…so we have for the pasta:
- green pesto w/ basil & pecorino
…& for the meatballs:
- minced meat (organic beef only!)
- fine breadcrumbs
- dried parsley
- spring onions
- freshly grated pecorino.
We start preparing the meatballs.
Breadcrumps & parsley are mixed; then some water is added. Add enough water that the breadcrumbs get soaked & squishy, but don’t let it become mushy, i. e. be tight w/ water.
(If you don’t happen to have some freshly grated pecorino in your fridge from yesterday or so, then start grating pecorino now.)
Chop the spring onions – as fine as possible.
In a big bowl we assemble the meat, the squishy breadcrumb mix, the chopped spring onions, the eggs & the pecorino. Roll up your sleeves & start kneading. Don’t forget salt & pepper to taste.
Form meatballs & arrange them in an oiled frying pan.
Start frying at high temperature. The meatballs shall get crispy outside. Be careful when turning them over because they are rather soft inside & like to crumble.
It won’t take longer than 15 min to get the meatballs well done.
Parallel to the frying we cook the cellentani in salted water, drain them & add the green pesto at once. If you think it’s too dry just add some olive oil or cream to taste.
For the record:
I used green pesto from my trusted food store. Of course I know that we can make our very own pesto from scratch… Just buy fresh basil leaves, pine nuts, grate pecorino, add olive oil…
Years ago I had a nice small fancy mortar w/ pestle (main characteristic: „small“). I wasn’t really happy w/ it: it was tiny & I could only pestle very small amounts of whatever. When thinking about the amount of pesto I need for my pasta dish I’m sure such a mortar wouldn’t be wise.
Therefore: if you think you’ll have to prepare pesto from scratch make sure to lay hands on a mortar of appropriate size or use a food processor. For the rest ransack the pasta corner of your trusted food store for ready-to-use pesto made w/ premium ingredients w/o any artificial whatever.
Now we just combine the cellentano w/ pesto & our crispy, soft meatballs.
- 300 g pasta cellentani
- 100-200 g green pesto
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil OR cream - OPTIONAL
- 400 g minced meat beef only
- 1-2 clove of garlic pressed
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 2 eggs
- 100 g grated pecorino
- 2 tbsp fine bread crumbs
- some water
- 2-3 spring onions
- some olive oil
- salt & pepper
- Take a frying pan & oil the bottom.
- Add pressed cloves of garlic & eggs to the minced meat.
- Mix breadcrumbs & dried parsley w/ some water; the breadcrumbs will soak up the water: it shall become a creamy (not liquid!) mess - then add to the minced meat.
- Chop the spring onions & add to the minced meat.
- Grate the pecorino & add to the minced meat.
- Add salt & pepper to taste.
- Knead the minced meat until all is incorporated & form small meatballs.
- Place the meatballs in the frying pan & fry at high temperature for some minutes; the bottoms of the meatballs should be crispy.
- Try to turn the meatballs - attention: it tends to become a mess because the meatballs are rather soft.
- In parallel: cook the cellentani in salted water as long as demanded (see package).
- Drain & add green pesto immediately.
- OPTIONAL: add some olive oil or cream if it seems too dry!
- Put pasta & meat balls on plates & serve immediately.
When mixing cellentani & meatballs the meatballs crumble & you get a nice pasta mess.
It’s best when served immediately!
…& the plates & bowls will quickly empty out…
The businesswoman w/ too many office hours thinks
I’m not so fond of kneading minced meat… hands get really greasy, but for the sake of nice soft & crispy meatballs!
…& no way that I make my own pesto from scratch for dinner after hours in the office: my trusted food store will provide a pesto which is like homemade!