Heavenly angel hair pasta with pesto and meatballs. Sheer, explosive simplicity.
How to make amazingly delicious pasta dishes
Italian food makes for some of the best eating in the world.
Fresh ingredients and "getting out of the way" of those ingredients are part of the story, and that's what we're doing here. As a nod to traditional Italian food (you know, the cuisine they actually cook in Italy), we're making our meatballs smaller than in Italian-American cuisine, and we're using pesto as the sauce.
In Italy, food is dominated by vegetables and herbs (and occasionally, as with an arabiatta sauce, a bit of heat). Only when the Italians emigrated to the United States -- a land of large portions and lots of beef -- did we start to see meatballs grow in size, and they are almost always served here in red-sauce joints with a big plate of pasta.
I love this dish because the flavors are so clear and full that you don't really need a lot of it on the plate to be sated. But ... you could give yourself a bigger portion if you want to honor the abondanza glee of Italian-American food.
Ground meat in Italy (polpe) gets rolled into little (-ette) balls. They're called polpette. (Now you'll never forget the Italian word.)
But, tiny as they are compared to the two- to three-inchers you'll find in the US, they pack flavor and have a lovely firm texture on the outside when you make them this way. In Italy, they use ground pork, beef, or veal, or combinations of those three, in their meatballs. It's a great idea.
1 lb sweet Italian pork sausage
1 lb ground best-quality sirloin
2 cups panko breadcrubs
1 cup finely grated Parmesan
1/2 cup finely minced parsley including the stems
1 T kosher salt
1/2 T black pepper
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
After washing your hands carefully (clean hands, people!), combine all the ingredients to make the meatball mixture
Place a piece of parchment paper in the bottom of your EuroCAST double roaster just big enough to cover the bottom
Form the meatball mixture into 1-1/2 inch-diameter balls and place them side-by-side on the parchment paper in the lid
Give each one a little nudge so they sit neatly in their row
Bake in a 375 F oven for 20-25 minutes until lightly browned and cooked through.
The meatballs, even though they're smallish, are formidable in flavor. Just a couple on the plate will do. Which means with this this recipe -- if you have as I do one plus an even number of teenagers (we are a table of three!) -- you'll have a few left over.
What to do with the extras? Gotcha covered. Stay tuned on our Instagram page (Instagram.com/eurocastcookware) with a few ways to deploy your secret stash of extra polpette -- and the extra pesto you're making below.
Don't worry. They won't languish in the fridge.
Pesto with angel hair pasta is heaven. Just as great pasta is made of the simplest of ingredients (a great double-zero or semolina flour, egg, a hint of salt, and water), great pesto is made of an herb, garlic, Parmesan, S&P, and pine (or other) nuts. Oh, and lots of best-quality olive oil.
And I love my red pepper flakes for added oh, hello.
Just about everything in pesto would be just meters away from the cook's feet. Grab some fresh basil, grate some Parmesan off the wheel, and you're on the pesto path! We're using fresh ingredients and just getting out of the way.
4 cups lightly packed basil leaves
5 cloves garlic
1 cup toasted pine nuts
1 cup finely grated Parmesan
2-1/2 cups olive oil
1-1/2 teaspoons black pepper
1 T kosher salt
1 tsp crushed red pepper
Place everything but the oil in your food processor and pulse until finely minced.
Then, continue processing steadily while adding the 2-1/2 cups of olive oil in a steady stream bit by bit until it comes together. It's important to use a slow stream because you're effectively emulsifying the oil so it combines better with the other ingredients.
Taste for seasoning and keep at room temperature until ready to use.
Refrigerate in a covered glass container.
This makes a fair amount of pesto. How to store? Put it in the fridge. It's best not to freeze the end result of this recipe (cheese and ground nuts don't freeze nicely). There are ways you can construct a pesto so you can freeze it ... but I'd rather you just think about how to use that pesto in different foods the rest of the week.
Omelets with pesto are classic, but why fuss with an omelet? Just put it on scrambled eggs (the world's easiest thing to cook in EuroCAST skillets).
Put a little bowl of pesto out with a cheese tray (include a warn brie) and crackers. Warm brie on crackers with a smear of pesto, yes, please.
Make a pizza on the EuroCAST griddle and skip the tomato sauce, using pesto instead.
Spread it on a sandwich or flatbread.
Grill up some vegetables with a bit of S&P and then drizzle the pesto on it.
Make a fish stew and put a dollop in the middle.
Or, make something up! Pesto on kielbasa for a cross-cultural party!