1 1/2 pounds ground pork
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus some to pass at the table
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoons fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Coarse black pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus some for drizzling
1 pound penne rigate
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, cored seeded, and thinly sliced
1 cubanelle pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
20 fresh basil leaves, torn
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Heat a large pot of water to a boil.
In a large bowl, mix the pork with 3 cloves of chopped garlic, the cheese, allspice, fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, salt and black pepper, and a healthy drizzle of EVOO.
Salt the boiling water and drop the pasta into it and cook al dente.
While the meatballs and pasta cook, heat a deep skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the EVOO, then add the remaining garlic, the sliced onions, and the bell and cubanelle peppers.
Toss the drained pasta with half the sauce and peppers and onions. Remove the sausage meatballs from the oven and toss with the remaining sauce. Top the pasta with the meatballs and serve with extra cheese and a green salad.
These meatballs were definitely the best of the 3 different versions. They did taste like sausage. I liked their flavor and texture the best. And their size. They held together well, too. The other ones fell apart - especially the beef balls. The sauce was a little too heavy on the tomato side, but I liked that there were peppers and onions in the sauce. My husband didn't like the sauce because he thought it tasted like bell peppers. The only things I changed were to change the Parmigiano-Reggiano to Parmesan, and I added the salad to the ingredient list. Again, I didn't realize I was supposed to serve it with a salad, so I didn't make one.