Saturday, November 15, 2008

Italian Wedding Pasta


For those of you familiar with Italian Wedding Soup (commonly consists of meatballs, pasta and spinach), here is a variation by delish.com called Italian Wedding Pasta. And friends - prepare to fall in love.

Here's the breakdown ... the biggest pain in the arse factor that you're going to find with this particular recipe is making the meatballs, but after trying one of these solo outside of the pasta, I have a feeling that I might steal the meatball portion of this recipe if I ever make spaghetti and meatballs. These meatballs would freeze really well, so if you were inclined to make a ton of them, you could stockpile them in your freezer for use in this casserole, spaghetti and meatballs, etc.
I'm a pain in the arse to assemble, but you will love me!

I also like this recipe because in addition to having two of my favorite ingredients: cheese and pasta - it also has spinach. This could be a sneaky way of incorporating veggies in my someday kids' diets - especially if they take after their father and not me.

Italian Wedding Pasta from delish.com

1 lb. ground meat (recipe suggests turkey, I used ground pork because it was on sale ...)
1 1/4 c. unseasoned breadcrumbs
3 cloves garlic (you're supposed to squeeze one of them through a garlic press - I do not have that implement, so I just minced the hell out of the garlic and am pleased to report that there will be no vampire attacks in my household for the forseeable future)
1 egg
1 c. Romano cheese (I used an entire small tub of the grated stuff from Sargento)
1 box of bowtie pasta
1 T. cornstarch (didn't have ... used flour ... I'm bad)
1 1/2 c. 2% milk
1 can (14 oz) chicken broth
9 oz. fresh baby spinach

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a cake pan with tin foil. Make your meatballs: Combine meat, garlic and 1/4 c. of the Romano cheese. Form into balls (1 inch - should make 36 ... I did not count), bake for 20 minutes.

While you're assembling meatballs, start boiling a large pot of water for your pasta. Once water is boiling, add a little salt and the pasta - cooking for two minutes less than the package dictates. (That's about 8 minutes - keep in mind that you're going to be throwing this in the oven - your pasta will continue to cook as it absorbs the chicken broth, etc.)

Whisk together your milk and the cornstarch (or flour if your pantry's a mess like mine and Argo goes missing). Once the pasta's done, drain and add the milk mixture and chicken broth back in with the cooked pasta. Heat to a boil and boil for one minute to thicken the sauce. Stir in spinach, 3/4 c. of Romano and your baked meatballs (again, they might be not entirely done - they will keep baking in the oven). Top the pasta with the rest of the Romano cheese and bake for 20 minutes.

Verdict: I'm in love with this dish. I have some in the freezer right now to check out its leftover quotient. If it freezes beautifully, I think I might weep with joy. (Update: 11/1/08 - It freezes beautifully. I love you pasta!)

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