Monday, May 21, 2012

Meatballs with Pesto Pasta

I had lots of leftover beef from making Burgers with Balsamic Red Onions, so I decided to repurpose the mixture into another recipe.  There was pesto in the fridge, pasta in the pantry and thus, these meatballs were born.

Meatballs with Pesto Pasta

Meatball Ingredients (note: this made 3 servings but it makes 4 if you use a whole pound of beef):
- Beef mixture from my Burgers with Balsamic Red Onions recipe (I used about 2/3 of the original recipe that was leftover in raw form but if you increase the beef, just add a little bit more of everything below)
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
- Freshly ground salt, pepper and Italian seasoning to taste (yes, we have an Italian seasoning grinder, too!)
- Pinch red pepper flakes

We used store bought pesto and whole wheat angel hair pasta for this recipe.  Explanation of how store bought pesto appeared in my fridge below...

- Mix all ingredients by hand and roll into balls (surprisingly, this made 15)
* Can you still see all of that green onion from the previous recipe?  YUM.

- Saute on medium heat for about 10 minutes, turning every few minutes; drain on a paper towel to remove excess grease from beef and set aside

This is the pesto that we used.  Somebody who shall remain nameless happens to work right next to Whole Foods, so there are always ridiculously overpriced sauces and other items appearing in my fridge. Even though we have a plant full of delicious basil leaves right on the window sill...*sigh*.

It was pretty good but nowhere near as good as homemade.  Since it happened to be in my fridge, I didn't want to waste it.  We ended up enhancing the basil flavor with freshly snipped basil leaves from our plant, so it still tasted pretty fresh!

For the record, I always make my own pesto with basil, walnuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper.  It's so easy to make and always incredibly delicious.  Check out my basic basil pesto recipe here.

I digress...on with the recipe:

- Add pesto to pan and heat through

- Add 3 servings of your favorite cooked pasta, the meatballs and some freshly snipped basil to the pan
- I also added 1/2 cup of reserved pasta water to the pan to create a thicker sauce (ALWAYS reserve about a cup of pasta water any time you're making pasta with sauce.  You never know when you're going to need it)
- Stir to coat and serve!

Pesto is one of my absolute favorite summer treats so be sure to try it out this summer in some new and innovative ways!

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