Thursday, January 22, 2015

Rigatoni & Meatballs

Winter is the time for hearty foods. Conversely, January is the month of healthy eating.  How does one rectify these two very different ideals?

You make chicken meatballs!

Then pile them high on pasta!

Filling, but not full of calories. Unless you make a tube of crescent rolls to go along with this dinner...  Which you should... Crescent rolls are awesome.

One Year Ago: Wilde Chocolate Chip Cookies
Two Years Ago: Cavatappi Pasta with Sausage and Butternut Squash
Three Years Ago: Country Sausage Pasta
Four Years Ago: Mini Zucchini Breads

Rigatoni & Chicken Meatballs
Adapted from Food from My Frontier

For the meatballs

1 pound ground chicken
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 clove garlic, minced
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons fresh, flat leaf parsley, chopped
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons whole milk
Pinch of kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper (about 1/8 teaspoon)

For the sauce

1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup red wine
1-14 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 - 14 ounce can whole tomatoes (or half of a 28 ounce can)
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons fresh, flat leaf parsley, chopped
6 fresh basil leaves, cut into ribbons

1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound uncooked rigatoni
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

Combine all ingredients for the meatballs in a large bowl. Scoop out about 2 tablespoons of meat mixture and roll into a ball. Place on a baking sheet lined with foil. Continue rolling out meatballs until you have made all the meatballs.  Place in the freezer for about 10 minutes.

Add about 1 tablespoon olive oil to a large, deep saute pan. Heat over medium heat. Add about half of the meatballs to the pan. Let cook for about 4-5 minutes, or until they easily release from the pan. Turn and cook for another 4-5 minutes. Remove from the pan. Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan, brown remaining meatballs just as you did the first batch. Remove meatballs from the pan.

Start the sauce - Add remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan. Add onions and garlic. Saute for about 2-3 minutes, or until the onions begin to soften. Add red wine and stir. Allow wine to reduce for 1 minute. Add remaining ingredients for the sauce. Bring sauce to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes. Be sure to stir occasionally.

Break up the whole tomatoes with a spatula. Add meatballs and stir to coat in sauce. Cover and simmer for another 20 minutes.

While the sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add rigatoni and boil for the recommended amount of time on the box. Drain pasta and pour into a large serving plate. Pour meatballs and sauce over the top. Garnish with more chopped parsley and some grated parmesan cheese.
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