Wednesday, November 30, 2011

November 6: Mexican Pasta with Tomatillo Sauce and Meatballs

   Coarse salt
1 pound fettuccine

   Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
1 pound ground pork or chicken
1 egg
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme
3 scallions, finely chopped
1 teaspoon allspice
   A few dashes of hot sauce
   Coarse black pepepr

2 tablespoons EVOO
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
2 jalapenos, fully seeded and very thinly sliced
1 cup Mexican beer or chicken stock
20 tomatillos, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
   Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup grated Manchego cheese
   Crusty bread

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Salt the water and cook the pasta al dente.

While the pasta works, add a generous drizzle of EVOO to a mixing bowl. Place the meat in the bowl. Add the egg, bread crumbs, cilantro, the thyme, scallions, allspice, hot sauce, salt, and pepper, and mix to combine. Form 2-inch meatballs and arrange on a rimmed nonstick cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes.

While the meatballs bake, make the sauce. Heat a deep-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Add the 2 tablespoons of EVOO, the garlic, onions, and jalapenos.

Cook for 5 minutes, add the beer or stock, and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatillos and the cilantro, season with salt and pepper, and cook until tender and saucy, about 10 minutes.

To serve, toss the drained pasta with the sauce and meatballs and the Manchego cheese. Ole! Pass crusty bread for mopping.


Rachael Ray says: "Tomatillos look like green tomatoes, but they're not. They are related to gooseberries and they are sour to taste. This dish is a funky, fun twist on spaghetti and meatballs. It's crazy - crazy good!" My husband and I have never had tomatillos before, and we know now that we don't like them very much. This pasta sauce was pretty sour. The meatballs and the pasta were pretty good otherwise. I couldn't find any Manchego cheese, so I used Parmesan.

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