Saturday, February 12, 2011

Italian Sausage Meatballs stuffed with fresh Mozzarella and Tomato-Pesto Pan Sauce

Made this one for dinner tonight and the guys LOVED it!  I reworked Rachel Ray recipe to the ingredients I had on hand.  I am sure I will make this recipe again and again.

Italian Sausage Meatballs stuffed with fresh Mozzarella and Tomato-Pesto Pan Sauce

·         2    lbs Italian Sausage, bulk if available
·         1    (8 oz) container fresh mozzarella balls in water
·         1    pound of whole wheat pasta
·         2    (28 oz) cans Marzano tomatoes
·         ¼   cup good quality fresh Pesto
·         Parmesan cheese, shredded
·         Olive oil
·         Salt and Pepper
·         Sugar

·         Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
·         Remove 12 fresh mozzarella ball from water and place on a small plate.  Get out a rimmed baking sheet and bowl.  Place Italian sausage in bowl, removing casings if you do not have bulk sausage.  Form sausage into a disk, divide disk into fourths.  Use each fourth of the disk to make 3 meatballs.
·         To make meatballs take a mozzarella ball use 1/3 of one fourth of disk and enclose the mozzarella with the sausage making a nice large meatball.  Place on baking sheet.  Continue with remainder of sausage and mozzarella making 12 meatballs.  Drizzle meatballs with olive oil, about 2 tablespoons. Place in oven and bake 20-25 minutes until done and evenly browned.
·         Meanwhile bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add pasta and cook according to package directions.
·         While waiting for water to boil add tomatoes to a large sauce pot and use a potato masher or the back of a spoon to break up tomatoes.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer 5-10 minutes or until tomatoes are reduced by about 1/3 and have started to thicken.  Remove from heat add Pesto, stir well, season with salt, pepper, and sugar if desired.
·         Serve the pasta covered with sauce and topped with meatballs and grated Parmesan cheese.

·         The original recipe called for Italian chicken sausage, which local market did not have, so I just used regular pork Italian sausage.
·         Have all ingredients laid out and ready to go before you start.  The recipe moves along quickly and you really can have dinner on the table in about 30 minutes.

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