Monday, January 26, 2009

Mac and Cheese and Roast Chicken Sausage Meatballs Redux

We tried this recipe once before and it wasn't pretty.

We tinkered with the recipe and had a re-do. The results were much more palatable. The Child liked it, too - we'll make it again.

about 12 ounces pasta, such as penne
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
Black pepper
2 to 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves stripped and finely chopped
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
3 cloves garlic, grated
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups grated Parmigiano Reggiano, divided
1 egg
3/4 cup bread crumbs, plus more, if needed*
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 10-ounce package chopped frozen spinach
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup milk
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg, eyeball it

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Place a large pot of water on to boil for pasta. When it comes to a boil, salt it and add the pasta to cook to al dente. Strain pasta reserving 1 cup cooking liquid.

While the water is coming to a boil, in a large mixing bowl combine the chicken, salt and pepper, rosemary, fennel seeds, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano - a rounded handful, egg and bread crumbs. *If the mixture seems too wet, add a handful of bread crumbs and mix together.

Form a bunch of smallish balls, or eight largish ones.

(I haven't tried it yet but I suspect at this point, the meatballs could be frozen. You could mix up a big batch, then pull out a few for dinner with pasta.)

Coat balls in a couple of tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil and lightly grease a baking sheet with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil. Arrange balls on the baking sheet and roast 17 to 18 minutes until juices run clear.

Defrost spinach in microwave.

While the meatballs roast, in a medium sauce pot over medium heat, melt butter, whisk in flour, cook 1 minute then whisk in stock and milk, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg and thicken 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1 cup grated Parmigiano and reduce heat on lowest setting.

Wring spinach completely dry in clean kitchen towel then separate as you add it to the sauce. Also add the reserved 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.

Toss pasta with the spinach-white sauce and adjust seasonings.

Serve pasta with meatballs.

1 comment:

Joh said...

I've been underwhelmed by Rachael Ray lately. And I LOVE her. But I don't like actually following her recipes - she does some crazy things to balance out the lack of slow-cooked flavor, and I really feel like even when following stuff to the letter, it doesn't always much.
case in point: The veal & sage meatloaf I made last week.
I'm glad at least to know that tinkering with it has made it better. (and made me hungry. thanks!)