First of all, let me just give the disclaimer that there will be a LOT more beef posts coming in the near future. I went in on a cow share this year, and this is now what my freezer currently looks like. I am a fairly conscious meat eater, choosing leaner meats and locally raised when I can, but my perspective may be permanently altered after having some of these Eckler Mountain Meats. The beef was raised on grass pasture, supplemented in the winter with the farmers’ own barley hay, oats, and alfalfa, and are corn-, antibiotic- and hormone-free. What’s that they say? The best things in life are free?
Now that that’s covered, let’s get on to the important stuff: meatballs. I am in no way Italian, but luckily it doesn’t have to be your heritage to do a batch of pasta comfort food justice. This is an easy recipe that can be served up in no time, and is awesome as leftovers. The sauce inadvertently became a kitchen sink sauce, but it may have been the best I’ve ever thrown together. For my gluten-free friends, substitute the fresh fettuccine for quinoa pasta and you’ll be good to go.
Homemade Beef Meatballs
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 1 package of ground beef
- shredded mozzarella
- 1/2 cup feta pesto
- fresh basil
- 1 whipped egg
- 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
- 1 package fresh fettuccine (I’m serious, fresh pasta makes a WORLD of difference, plus it’s faster than the dried stuff) OR gluten-free pasta
- 5-6 cups of salted water
- Preferred pasta sauce (mine was compiled of basil pesto, extra feta pesto, sundried tomato alfredo and tomato basil sauce)
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
I used the same feta pesto that I created for the Pesto and Sausage-Stuffed Chicken, which consists of sundried tomatoes, basil, olive oil, garlic, pine nuts and feta. Throw it all in a food processor (seriously, how did I manage with only a blender for so many years?!), and then you’re ready to add to the ground beef. In a bowl, combine the beef, mozzarella, pesto, basil and egg until well mixed.
Over medium heat, add olive oil to a frying pan, and shape the meat into your preferred sized ball (ok, fine, get the snickering out of your system already). Place the meatballs evenly on the pan, and let cook until the inside is still slightly on the rare side. Remove from heat.
In a separate saucepan, blend together the tomato, alfredo, pesto, etc. sauces and bring to medium heat. Add in the cherry tomatoes and meatballs and let simmer. Taste the sauce and add salt, pepper, garlic or other seasonings to taste.
In yet another saucepan, bring salted water to a boil and add in the fresh pasta. The difference between fresh pasta and dried is that fresh needs only a matter of minutes to be ready. Don’t overcook the pasta, or else it won’t have that perfect al dente consistency. Once the pasta has boiled, finish it off in the sauce, then mangia!