If you're in the mood for a big bowl of spaghetti and meatballs, but want something other than a traditional tomato sauce, I highly recommend this creamy pesto dish! A tasty blend of bread and seasoning, the meatballs that dot the pasta are scrumptious with the perfect texture.
Both the pesto and meatballs are simple to make, but do require time. The best thing about this recipe is it makes a lot, so save some for a later date. The cream-less pesto keeps for up to 3 weeks in the fridge. The finished meatballs keep in the freezer for up to 2 months and are easily reheated in a pan with a small amount of olive oil to make crispy.
Not only did I enjoy this as a main course, but also a few days later as a delicious appetizer: The meatballs are great with the creamy pesto sauce as dip. To make your own green spaghetti and meatballs,
Creamy Pesto Sauce
2 cups packed chopped fresh basil leaves
3 cloves garlic
3/4 cup roasted pine nuts
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 cup freshly grated Romano
1 1/2 cups of cream (depending on desired thickness)
1/4 cup sour cream or cream cheese
1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup milk
1 cup roasted ground pine nuts
3 small onions or 1 large onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 lb beef
1 lb pork
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp Italian seasoning
1/4 cup Olive oil for browning
Pasta of your choice
- Make the creamy pesto sauce: Preheat oven to 350. Place nuts on a foil lined cookie sheet. Place in oven for 8 to 10 minutes until fragrant. Be sure to keep a watch and occasionally flip the pine nuts, so they do not burn.
- Measure out 3/4 cup pine nuts and add to a food processor (Reserve the rest of the pine nuts for the meatballs). Place basil, garlic, olive oil, and both cheeses in a food processor, puree until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. If storing, place in a container, pour a thin layer of oil over the top to prevent discoloration.
- When ready to serve, put the pesto in a sauce pan, slowly add cream and sour cream. Cook over a low heat.
- Make the meatballs: for the bread crumbs, you can use day-old bread or fresh bread that has been toasted. Place the bread in food processor and chop. Place bread crumbs in a bowl and soak in the milk.
- Saute onions, garlic, and shallots in 1 tbsp of olive oil. Once browned, mix with the bread crumbs.
- Mix meat, seasoning, salt, pepper, cheese, ground pine nuts, and eggs with the breadcrumb mixture. Place in fridge for an hour.
- Remove meat mixture from fridge. Roll into small 3/4 inch meatballs.
- Preheat oven to 375° F.
- Heat 1 tbsp of oil, placing 6-9 meatballs in a large frying pan. Brown all sides of the meatballs. Repeat with the rest of the meatballs.
- Place browned meatballs on a foil-lined cookie sheet and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes. To freeze: place the cooled meatballs on a cookie sheet in the freezer for a couple of hours. Once frozen place in containers, the prefreezing prevents the meatballs from sticking to one another.
- Prepare pasta.
- Toss the pasta with the pesto sauce, about 1/8 cup of sauce per pasta serving. Plate the pasta with 4-5 meatballs on top. If desired, drizzle some of the sauce over the meatballs.
Makes approximately 2 1/2 cups creamy pesto and 45 meatballs.
- Pasta, Main Dishes