Move over Pasta–Here comes the Rice

Since this is going to be a short work week because of Thanksgiving, this was an opportunity for me to try out a new recipe for my Dinner of the Week series. I spotted this recipe in the December issue of Food & Wine. Cookbook author Eugenia Bone (Well-Preserved) shares her recipe of meatballs with peas.

The thing I really love about this recipe is that the meatballs are served with rice instead of pasta. It just seemed like the perfect pairing. Instead of sliding off the slippery pasta, the marinara sauce gets soaked up by the rice. The idea of rice and peas gives me a wonderful homey, comforting feeling. I think that adults and kids alike will enjoy this dish. I’m going to add this to my repertoire so that one day I can make this for my very own mini Tarte Titous.

I tweaked the original recipe slightly. So instead of broiling the meatballs in the oven, I seared them in a skillet over stove top. I swapped the golden raisins for a 1/2 cup of pine nuts and tripled the amount of Parmigiano-Regiano cheese and added more garlic–who needs a reason to add more cheese?

Meatballs with Peas and Rice

Makes 3-4 servings

Ingredients

For the meatballs:

1/2 lb. ground beef chuck

1/2 lb. ground pork

1/2 cup pine nuts

1 large egg, beaten

1 medium onion, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 Tbsp. dry bread crumbs

6 Tbsp. freshly grated Parmigiano-Regiano cheese

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 Tbsp. water

1 1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

For the marinara sauce:

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium minced onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

One 16-0z. can whole peeled, San Marzano tomatoes

1/2 cup white wine

2 sprigs fresh oregano

1 1/2 cups frozen petite peas, thawed

Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Special Equipment: medium baking dish

1. Make the meatballs: preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, mix the beef, pork, pine nuts, egg, onions, bread crumbs, cheese, thyme, parsley, water, salt and pepper with your hands. Mix well. Form about 15-20 meatballs.

2. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the meatballs, rolling a few times to lightly brown all sides. Transfer the meatballs to a baking dish.

3. Make the sauce: in a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and cook for 5 minutes. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and oregano and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Sprinkle the peas into the baking dish with the meatballs. Pour the sauce into the baking dish and bake for 20-30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling. let rest for 10 minutes, then serve with rice. Bon Appetit!

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