Bolognese Cavatelli with Meatballs
- 1 lb. dry cavatelli pasta
- For The Sauce, Pulse:
- 1 cup (each) chopped onion, carrot, and celery
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 2 tesp. dried Italian seasoning
- 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp. (each) kosher salt and black pepper
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup dry red wine
- 1 can diced tomatoes (28 oz.)
- 1 can crushed tomatoes (28 oz.)
- 1/2 cup grated Romano (2 oz.)
- Pinch of sugar
- For the Meatballs, combine:
- 8 oz. (each) ground pork and ground sirloin
- 1/2 cup grated onion
- 1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
- 1 egg
- 2 Tbsp. minced garlic
- 1 Tbsp. fennel seed
- 1 tsp. (each) dried Italian seasoning and kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 8 oz. shredded part-skim mozzarella
Preheat oven to 400 with a baking sheet inside. Coat a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.
Cook cavatelli in a large pot of boiling salted water until slightly underdone, 6-7 minutes; drain.
For the sauce, pulse chopped onion, carrot, celery, and garlic cloves in a food processor until minced. Transfer mixture to a saute pan and sweat in oil over medium heat until liquid evaporates, 8-10 minutes.
Add tomato paste; cook 1 minute. Stir in 2 tsp. Italian seasoning, pepper flakes, 1 tsp salt and black pepper, and bay leaves.
Stir in broth, wine, tomatoes, Romano, and surgar; stirring often, until thick and bubbly, about 30 minutes. Remove bay leaves and stir in pasta.
For the meatballs, combine pork, sirloin, grated onion, bread crumbs, parsley, egg, minced garlic, fennel seed, 1 tsp Italian seasoning, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp. black pepper in a medium bowl. Form mixture into meatballs (using about a 2 Tbsp. scoop). Spray preheated baking sheet with nonstick spray. Carefully place meatballs on tray and bake 15 minutes.
Arrange meatballs in bottom of prepared baking dish. Top with pasta, sauce, and mozzarella.
Cover casserole with foil and bake 15 minutes; uncover and bake 15 minutes more. Let casserole rest 10 minutes before serving.