Penne Pasta with Spicy Italian Meatballs from Chef John Folse - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Penne Pasta with Spicy Italian Meatballs

Prep Time: 1 Hour
Yields:
10–12 Servings

Comment:

There is no need to sacrifice flavor when considering healthier choices in meal preparation. Here is a great example of a traditional Italian meatball pasta made healthier by substituting turkey for pork in the meatballs, whole wheat in the pasta and lower sodium when seasoning the dish. Always consider extra fresh herbs in place of the fat and salt. These simple changes really do make a difference.

Ingredients:

1 (16-ounce) package whole wheat penne pasta

1 pound Italian sausage, casings removed

1 pound ground turkey

1/2 cup fresh chopped basil, divided

salt and black pepper to taste

granulated garlic to taste

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 cup minced onions

1/2 cup minced celery

1/4 cup minced green bell pepper

1/4 cup minced red bell pepper

1/4 cup minced yellow bell pepper

1/4 cup minced orange bell pepper

1/4 cup thinly sliced garlic

1 cup thinly sliced Crimini mushrooms

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 cup half and half

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Method:

In a 1-gallon stockpot, bring 2 quarts of lightly salted water to a rolling boil. Reduce to a simmer then cover with lid and hold. In a large bowl, combine Italian sausage, ground turkey and half of basil then blend well to incorporate. Season lightly using salt, black pepper and granulated garlic. Roll mixture into meatballs slightly smaller than a golf ball then set aside. In a 1-gallon saucepot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions, celery, bell peppers and sliced garlic. Saute 5–10 minutes or until vegetables are wilted. Add mushrooms, diced tomatoes and remaining basil. Bring to a rolling boil, reduce to simmer and season lightly using salt, black pepper and granulated garlic. Add half and half then return to a simmer. Add raw meatballs to the mixture and allow to stand in the sauce until firm, 5–10 minutes, before stirring. Once meatballs are firm, stir gently and cook an additional 10–15 minutes or until meatballs are cooked thoroughly. Add pasta to the simmering salted water and cook according to package directions, 10–12 minutes. When done, drain thoroughly. To serve, place cooked pasta in a bowl and top with meatballs and sauce. Garnish with Parmesan and serve immediately.

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