Thursday, September 27, 2012

Penne Pasta with Special Meat Balls in Tomato Cream Sauce

Pasta is one of my favorite dishes. I'd love to prepare this for family weekends or when we have guests. It is quick and easy to prepare, but really yummy! I consider pasta as one of my comfort foods (I'm sure my girlfriends will agree to this). Kids will surely like this too. I've decided to raise the pasta dish up to notch by adding cream to the tomato sauce. This makes the sauce creamier and a little sweeter even without the sugar. The combination of meatballs, tomato cream sauce & cheese is a sure-fire hit. What makes this pasta special is the meatballs. 

The meatballs is actually a family recipe. I've slightly modified my mom's meatballs. My mom made the meatballs really moist and flavorful. Our meatballs is usually composed of ground round (beef) and ground pork. For a healthier version, you may use ground chicken or turkey. My mom adds 3 slices of bread, cubed and soaked in milk, to the mixture. My modification is that I use bread crumbs and milk altogether. Also, to add more oomph and surprise to the meatball, I put small cubes of cheddar (quickmelt) cheese. If you want to jazz it up some more, you may insert a cube of mozzarella cheese. So when you put the meatball in your mouth, it will really melt. 

500 grams Penne Pasta
1 can (400 grams) Crushed Tomato
1 250 gram Spaghetti Sauce (Cheese flavor)
1 cup heavy cream or all-purpose cream
1/4 cup olive oil 
3 cloves garlic, crushed & finely chopped 
1  large sized white onion, finely chopped 
1 teaspoon dried basil
salt & pepper to taste
1/8 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup grated quickmelt cheese/mozzarella

350 grams Ground Chicken (can be a combination of ground beef & ground pork)
1 large sized white onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed & finely chopped
1/3 cup cheese, cubed
1/4 cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons fresh milk or evaporated milk
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg

  1. For the meatballs: in a bowl, combine the the ground chicken, white onion, garlic, bread crumbs, pepper and salt. Add the liquid ingredients - worcestershire sauce, milk  and egg. Mix with your hands or spoon. Then, put the cheese and mix slightly (making sure that the cheese will not be crumbled). Form into balls. In a frying pan with olive oil, fry untli the balls are golden brown. Set aside. 
  2. Cook the pasta according to the instructions in the package. 
  3. In a sauce pan with medium fire, saute garlic in olive oil. When the aroma of the garlic fills the room, saute the onions until translucent. Season the garlic and onions with pepper and salt. 
  4. Add in the crushed tomato and spaghetti sauce. Adjust the heat to low fire. Let it simmer for 10 minutes. 
  5. Season the pasta sauce with basil, pepper and salt. Mix in the heavy cream. Simmer for 5 minutes. 
  6. Add the cooked meatballs, mix. Set aside. 
  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes. 
  8. In a baking dish, spread a layer of the pasta sauce. Put the penne pasta, add the sauce and meatballs. Mix well. Top the pasta with few meatballs and sauce. Sprinkle the grated parmesan & cheddar cheese on top. Bake the pasta for 12 minutes until the cheese melts. 

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