Penne with Vodka Sauce and Mini Meatballs
Recipe courtesy of Food Network Magazine
- Kosher salt
- 12 ounces penne pasta
- 8 ounces ground beef chuck
- 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (about 1 1/2 ounces)
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 3/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- 3 cloves garlic (1 minced, 2 sliced)
- 2 1/2 pounds beefsteak tomatoes, halved
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup vodka
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- Freshly ground pepper
Preparation time 10mins
Cooking time 35mins
Adapted from foodnetwork.com
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook as the label directs. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain.
Meanwhile, mix the beef, 1/4 cup parmesan, the breadcrumbs, egg, 1/2 cup basil, the minced garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl with your hands until just combined. Form into 3/4-inch meatballs (about 20). Grate the tomatoes into a medium bowl; discard the skins.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil, then the meatballs. Cook, turning, until browned on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the sliced garlic and cook until just golden, about 1 minute. Gradually add the vodka, then the grated tomatoes and cream. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sauce thickens and the meatballs are cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper.
Add the pasta and the remaining 1/4 cup basil to the skillet; toss, adding the reserved cooking water as needed to loosen. Remove from the heat and add the remaining 1/2 cup parmesan; toss.