Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Pioneer Woman’s Meatballs

I cannot tell you how excited I was when Harper Collin’s asked if I would be interested in reviewing Ree Drummond’s (the Pioneer Woman’s) cookbook (disclaimer: I received this cookbook for free)! Not only do I read Ree’s blog, I enjoy watching her on Food Network as well.


I loved flipping through the cookbook! There are so many pictures, stories, suggested variations to recipes, and easy to follow recipes. The first recipe I made from the book was her meatballs from the Rigatoni and Meatballs recipe:


I cut the recipe down a bit and baked my meatballs instead of pan frying them:



I placed them on top of leftover spaghetti squash, but plan to try her rigatoni and sauce recipe soon:


They were out of this world! I cannot wait to make her barbecue chicken and pineapple quesadillas next.

Rigatoni and Meatballs

Makes 6 to 8 servings

I always wanted to be Italian. It never materialized for me, though. Something about the fact that
none of my ancestors were Italian. Details can be so annoying sometimes.

Despite my lack of Italian heritage, however, I have to say that my meatballs ain’t bad at all.
Man loves them, and because long, round noodles (some humans refer to them as “spaghetti”)
are cumbersome and unwieldy, I take the easy road and serve mine with rigatoni.


6 thick slices crusty bread
¾ pound ground beef
¾ pound ground pork
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 eggs, beaten
¼ cup minced flat-leaf parsley, plus more for serving
¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
¼ cup whole milk
¼ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ cup olive oil

Rigatoni and sauce

1 yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup red wine (optional)
one 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
one 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
¼ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ cup minced flat-leaf parsley
12 fresh basil leaves, cut in chiffonade (optional)
2 pounds rigatoni, cooked al dente

1. Place the bread on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes in a 200°F oven, or until totally dry.

2. Break the bread into chunks . . .

3. And pulse [in food processor] until the bread turns into crumbs.

4. Throw the meat into a large mixing bowl.

5. Add the garlic, bread crumbs, eggs, parsley, grated Parmesan, milk, salt, and pepper. Use clean hands
to mix together until well combined.

6. Use a scoop to retrieve a small amount of the meat mixture . . . And roll it in your hands to make
meatballs (about 25). Place the pan in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes, just to firm them up.

7. Heat the olive oil in a heavy pot over medium-high heat. Working with 8 to 10 meatballs at a time, cook
them until brown but not cooked all the way through, 2 to 3 minutes per batch.

8. Remove from the pan to a plate while you make the rigatoni and sauce.

10. Add the onion and garlic to the pan. Stir and cook for a minute or two, until the onion begins to soften.
11. Add the wine and cook for another minute. (Just omit this step if you’re not using wine.)

12. Add the crushed tomatoes…whole tomatoes… salt, pepper, and sugar . . . And parsley and basil.

13. Stir the sauce to combine all the ingredients . . . Cover and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 30
minutes, stirring occasionally.

14. Then throw in the meat-a-balls!

15. Stir gently, then cover and cook for 20 more minutes, stirring once or twice, until the meatballs are
cooked through.

16. Heap the rigatoni on a large platter and pile the meatballs and sauce on the top. Sprinkle on some
extra minced parsley and serve with extra grated Parmesan.

This is a good one, my friends.
I mean . . . i miei amici.


• Use leftover meatballs to make Meatball Sliders (page 103).
• Slice leftover meatballs and use as a pizza topping.

Do you read Ree’s blog? Any favorite recipes?


Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather said...

Ree's blog is awesome! So cool that you got to review her cookbook. Those meatballs look delicious, but that quessadilla sounds even more amazing!

Patty said...

Those look so tasty! And a filling balance to the spaghetti squash! Yum!