Rigatoni and Meatballs

Total Time:
2 hr 15 min
Prep:
30 min
Inactive:
15 min
Cook:
1 hr 30 min

Yield:
6 to 8 servings
Level:
Easy

Ingredients
  • Meatballs:
  • 6 thick slices crusty bread
  • 12 ounces ground beef
  • 12 ounces ground pork
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for serving
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Rigatoni and Sauce:
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup red wine, optional
  • One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • One 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 12 fresh basil leaves, cut in chiffonade, optional
  • 2 pounds rigatoni, cooked al dente
Directions
Watch how to make this recipe.
  • For the meatballs: Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Place the bread on a baking sheet. Bake until totally dry, about 30 minutes.

  • Break the bread into chunks. Pulse in a food processor until the bread turns into crumbs. Throw in the meat into a large mixing bowl. Add the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, milk, parsley, garlic, eggs, salt and some pepper. Use clean hands to mix together until well combined.

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

  • 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. Remove from the pot to a plate while you make the sauce.

  • For the sauce: Add the garlic and onions to the meatball pot. Stir and cook until the onion begins to soften, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook for another minute. (Just omit this step if you're not using wine.) Add the crushed tomatoes, whole tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper to taste.

  • Stir the sauce to combine all the ingredients. Cover and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. If sauce needs more liquid, just add in a little water. Then throw in the parsley, basil and the meat-a-balls! Stir gently, then cover and cook for 20 more minutes, stirring once or twice until the meatballs are cooked through.

  • 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.


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