Summer Harvest Pasta with Mascarpone Meatballs

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We’re settling into September, but that doesn’t mean garden fresh produce should be hard to find. Late summer is all about zucchini, peppers, tomatoes and eggplant – all of which are in this flavorful Summer Harvest Pasta with Mascarpone Meatballs. The array of fresh vegetables in this recipe is the first thing that caught my attention. I loved the idea of incorporating all of them into a delicious sauce to serve over Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Bow Tie Pasta. The second thing that piqued my interest – and got my mouth watering – was the thought of making mascarpone meatballs. If you’re not familiar with mascarpone, it’s an Italian style cream cheese- not quite as tangy as American cream cheese – more velvety smooth and heavier on the cream side. It’s a bit of a gourmet ingredient and this was the first time I had seen it incorporated into something like a meatball.

Ingredients

  • 1 box Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Bow Ties
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups zucchini, sliced
  • 2 cups onion, sliced
  • 1 small eggplant, sliced
  • 1 cup tomato, grape or cherry tomoatoes
  • 3 sweet bell pepper, any color
  • 1 1/2 tsp oregano
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 Tbsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • pinch crushed red chili flakes, optional
  • 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese, or regular cream cheese
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs™
  • 1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp whole milk

Directions

Mascarpone Meatballs – makes about 50

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper – or more if you like spicy foods
  • ¼ cup mascarpone cheese or regular cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup + 1 Tablespoon whole milk

Mix the panko and milk together in a small bowl. Set aside.

Put the beef, pork, oregano, thyme, crushed red pepper, mascarpone and salt in a large bowl and mix until the ingredients are almost combined – use your hands.  Add the panko/milk mixture and mix everything together until well combined. Scoop out tablespoon-sized meatballs and place on aluminum foil lined baking sheets. Bake in a 350o F oven for 20-25 minutes or until they have reached an internal temperature of 155 degrees. Set aside the number of meatballs you want to serve with dinner and refrigerate the rest for a meal up to 3 days later or let the meatballs cool and put them in a large plastic bag to freeze for another time.

Summer Harvest Sauce

  • 1 box Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Bow Tie Pasta
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups zucchini, sliced
  • 2 cups onions, sliced
  • 1 small eggplant, sliced
  • 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 3 sweet bell peppers, any color
  • 1 ½ teaspoons oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Slice the eggplant and salt heavily on both sides with coarse-grained kosher salt. Set salted slices in a colander to drain and draw out the bitterness. Set aside. Cut the bell peppers in half, core and place flat side down on foil lined baking sheets. Broil peppers in the oven until char marks appear and the skin is becoming wrinkly. Remove from the oven and wrap the peppers in the foil from the baking sheets. Allow the peppers to steam in the wrapped foil for 5-10 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Remove the skins from the peppers and puree into a smooth sauce with an emersion blender or in a food processor. Add a small amount of water if the sauce is too thick. Set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the sliced onions and zucchini and sauté until the onion starts to brown and the zucchini is crisp tender – about 5 minutes. Rinse off the eggplant slices and cut them into cubes. Add them to the skillet and sauté for 3 more minutes. Add the oregano, tomatoes and pepper puree. Salt and pepper to taste. Add the number of meatballs you want to serve for dinner and let the sauce simmer on low while you cook the pasta.

Heat a large pot of salted water and boil the bow tie pasta for 7-8 minutes or until al dente. Portion out the cooked noodles onto plates, top with a large spoonful of vegetable sauce and a few meatballs. Sprinkle fresh chopped parsley on top of each dish. Serve hot.



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