“Always believe that something wonderful is about to happen”
Meatballs simmering with sun dried tomatoes, mushrooms and a touch of cream served over pasta is a dish I can eat any day of the week. Saucy pasta is a weakness of mine but it must be creamy and rich but not heavy. While this dish is indulging it is lighter on the calories and only contains a little cream, fat free half & half to be exact. Creating a healthier dish is not about eliminating good ingredients, instead it’s about finding healthier alternatives and adding lots of flavor.
Every cook has their favorite meatball recipe and all swear their meatballs are the juiciest. Some use veal, others beef, I however, prefer the meatloaf mixture for a truly juicy meatball. Fresh herbs and basil pesto transform these meatballs from ordinary to delicious.
A small container of sun dried tomatoes keeps fresh in the fridge for a long time. I like adding them to my recipes for the extra flavor boost and my latest addiction is sun dried tomato hummus with spicy red pepper flakes.
Next time you’re in the mood for meatballs skip the traditional spaghetti and meatballs in marinara and I promise you won’t be disappointed.
- For meatballs:
- 1½ lbs meatloaf mix
- 1 scallion, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- few dashes of Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 tsp dry onion powder
- 1 tsp dry italian seasoning
- ½ tsp dry basil
- 1 egg
- 1½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp basil pesto paste (store bought, Amore) optional but strongly encouraged
- 1 lb penne pasta
- 1 package sliced mushrooms
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 6 sun dried tomatoes, sliced
- ½ cup chicken stock
- ¼ cup fat free half & half
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp parmesan cheese
- olive oil
- Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Form into meatballs, place in a fridge until ready to use.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil, cook pasta according to package instructions.
- Heat oil in a skillet, carefully add meatballs and brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side.
- Using a slotted spoon remove meatballs to a plate. Set aside.
- To the same skillet add mushrooms, onion and garlic and cook another 5 minutes. Stir in sun dried tomatoes and chicken stock. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.
- Return meatballs to the skillet. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Stir in half & half and parmesan cheese. Cover and simmer another 5 minutes.
- Serve over penne.