Pasta with Meatballs in a Broth
Also known as Pasta Con Polpette in Brodo
Yield: 6 servings.
- Olive oil, for baking sheet
- 1 large slice stale Italian-style bread
- Milk for soaking bread
- ½ pound sweet Italian sausages, casings removed
- ½ pound ground veal
- 3 tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tbsp. finely chopped onion, sautéed
- 2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
- 1 large egg
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- Pinch red chile flakes, or to taste (optional)
- Coarse salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 small shallots, chopped
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- Pinch of red chile flakes, or to taste (optional)
- 1 large clove garlic, chopped 1 cup dry white wine
- One 19-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 8 cups good quality veal stock
- Coarse salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
- 1 pound dried orecchiette pasta
- Fresh Parmesan, for serving
- Fresh basil, chopped or torn
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Lightly oil one large baking sheet or two smaller baking sheets.
- Break up bread into pieces and add to small bowl. Pour ½ cup milk over stale bread. Add more milk if bread looks dry. Let bread soak until bread becomes soft, about 5 to 10 minutes.
- Add Italian sausage meat, veal, Parmesan, onion, basil, egg and garlic to large bowl.
- Squeeze out excess moisture from bread. Add bread to meat mixture. Season mixture with chile flakes, salt and pepper. Using your hands, combine mixture thoroughly.
- Form mixture into 1/2-inch mini balls. Transfer meatballs to prepared baking sheets. Bake until meatballs are lightly brown and cooked through, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Add olive oil to large skillet or pot over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until soft and lightly golden, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add thyme sprigs, chile flakes and garlic. Let cook 1 to 2 minutes. Add white wine to deglaze the pan. Let mixture cook down until the liquid reduces by about half. Add tomatoes and veal stock. Let simmer, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Bring brodo to a boil. Add pasta and cook until firm with just a bit in the centre of the pasta, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add meatballs in the last five minutes of cooking pasta. Season to taste. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan or shaved Parmesan and basil. When pasta is cooked, serve immediately; otherwise, pasta will continue to cook in broth and will overcook. Alternatively, you can cook pasta separately in water and add to brodo.