Ricotta and Spinach “Meatballs”

Ricotta and Spinach “Meatballs”

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Vegetarian, light, fluffy little meatless “meatballs”. These are wonderful for a weeknight dinner if you use store bought pasta and sauce. Serve them with just the sauce or over pasta. I adapted this from http://www.notquitenigella.com

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Serves 8

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes

1 package 15 oz part skim ricotta
4 eggs – if using Jumbo reduce to 3
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 package frozen spinach, thawed (or  kale)
3/4 cup plain all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

For sauce
1 jar of pasta sauce, or homemade red sauce

Preheat oven to 350F and take a large baking dish or a overproof skillet with high sides. Mix the sauce ingredients in the dish together and set aside.

 In a food processor mix the ricotta, eggs, onion, two cheeses and spinach and blend. Empty into a large bowl and then mix in the flour until just combined (do not overmix). Then using a small ice cream scoop, make balls and place them in the sauce. Bake for 35 minutes (longer if you use a regular sized ice cream scoop).

Garnish parmesan cheese and salt and pepper. Serve as is with crusty bread or on top of pasta.

Porchetta-Style Ragu

Porchetta-Style Ragu

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This is a really easy weeknight dinner. I made homemade pasta but will taste just fine with dried store bought! This is adapted from a Rachael Ray recipe. The next time I try this I might use the pork loin and slow cook it and make it with shredded pork. I made the sauce and kept it warm in a crockpot until ready to serve.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups large homemade breadcrumbs
  • 3 tablespoons butter melted
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 ounces cold meaty pancetta, finely chopped
  • 1 pound coarsely ground pork loin or packaged ground pork
  • Pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 teaspoons lemon zest, plus 2 tablespoons juice
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper, about 1/3 palmful
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 chunk Parmigiano-Reggiano rind, optional, if you have one in the freezer, plus freshly grated cheese for tossing and serving
  • 1 pound mezze rigatoni, or rigatoni (I used pappardelle
  • A handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

 

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350°F. On a baking sheet, toss the breadcrumbs and butter; season with salt. Bake, stirring once, until toasted and golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.

In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat the oil, two turns of the pan, over medium-high. Add the pancetta. Cook, stirring often, until the fat begins to render, about 2 minutes. Add the ground pork. Cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up the meat with a spoon, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Add the rosemary, garlic, 2 teaspoons lemon zest, the fennel seeds, and crushed red pepper. Stir until aromatic, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the wine. Cook, stirring often, until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the stock and the Parmigiano rind, if using. Reduce heat to low. Let the sauce simmer while you cook the pasta.

Salt the boiling water and add the pasta. Cook until 1 minute shy of the package directions. Scoop out about 3/4 cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta.

Discard the Parmigiano rind from the sauce. Add a generous handful of grated Parmigiano, the lemon juice, and the pasta to the sauce. Toss, adding the cooking water as needed if the pasta is too dry. Season with salt.

Toss the breadcrumbs with the remaining 2 teaspoon lemon zest, the parsley, and a bit more Parm. Serve the pasta in shallow bowls. Top with the breadcrumbs and shredded cheese.