Foodie Friday - Pesto, Meatballs & Pasta

This week's Foodie Friday will be featuring a new contributor, Jean Ann Van Krevelen: "... a serious foodie, an avid gardener and a crazed entrepreneur. "  You can check out her other wonderful recipes and posts about food here at Portlandfoodie.com, as well as find links to her other two sites.

And for my vegetarian friends, please note that the pork in the following recipe can be substituted with a meat substitute product such as "Gimme Lean"... if you have other suggestions, please share them!

portlandfoodie.com post July 20th, 2008: http://www.portlandfoodie.com/pasta/

Tonight I made one of my new favorites...Pesto, Meatballs and Pasta. So easy to do...my meatballs were pork, a slight twist on tradition...here's what I did:

Meatballs

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups panko
  • 1/3 cup shredded parmesan
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tbsp dried italian herbs
  • salt
  • pepper

Add all ingredients to a medium size bowl, squish together with your little hands until just combined. Divide and roll into balls according to your preference. I usually make them around the size of a half dollar. I like to use dried herbs since I will be browning and I think it takes the heat better.

I brown the meatballs all over in a heavy enamel coated cast iron pan. Cover the bottom of the pan with olive oil, make sure the pan is hot before adding meat. Remove when done. Drain excess grease from pan and deglaze with small amount of stock or white wine. Reduce to minimal liquid.

Pesto:

  • 2 cups basil
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan
  • 1/2 cups toasted almond slivers
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

In a food processor, combine basil, shredded parmesan, almonds, and garlic, pulse to create a paste. Continue processing while streaming in extra virgin olive oil until desired consistency is reached. I prefer mine to be a bit on the pasty side, not too much oil.

Add meatballs back into pan with deglazing liquid, add cooked pasta and pesto, stir to combine. Serve immediately, do not allow pesto to cook.

Hope you enjoy it!