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.
· 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
· 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.