Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Linguine All'Amatriciana with Spicy Mozzarella Meatballs

I'm guessing you looked at this title and went, huh?! You want me to make what? I can't even pronounce that! Well, at least that's what I said when I read the title. However, I was oh, so wrong. I mean, seriously wrong.

This. Was. Delicious. Oh my goodness. John loved this. I know I say that a lot, but he took a bite and went, "BEST meatballs EVER!" He then thoughtfully reminded me how much he loved BBQ meatballs, especially my Honey BBQ Meatballs. However, he clearly has a new favorite - thank you Katie and Giada! - because he exclaimed several times during the meal that these meatballs were amazing, and, "the BEST EVER!" Score one for me. :)

The original recipe came from Giada at Home, written by the popular Food Network chef. My dear friend Katie posted this recipe on her blog - awesome, check it out! - and I knew I had to try it. After some taste tests along the way I made some modifications, so I've included my version of the recipe below. For the original, go to Katie's blog. Either way, let me know what you think.

And, please, make this ASAP! This. Is. Amazing. We are definitely making it again. And soon. YUM!

On a side note, I must admit that while this is an easy recipe, it is a bit time-consuming, as I've found most homemade meatballs are. Just wanted to let you know in full disclosure. However, I promise you that it is worth it. Oh, it is so, so worth it.

Linguine All'Amatriciana with Spicy Mozzarella Meatballs
Recipe by Giada at Home
Serves 4-6, depending on portions; Yields about 16 meatballs 
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*2 tbsp olive oil
*4 oz pancetta, diced
*1 yellow onion, finely chopped
*4 garlic cloves, minced
*2 pinches of crushed red pepper flakes
*1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
*1 tsp salt
*1 tsp black pepper
*2 tbsp brown sugar
*a few good shakes of Italian seasoning, depending on your taste preference
*1 cup grated fresh mozzarella (or regular shredded int he bag would be fine) and freshly grated parmesan cheese (I had some leftover from Easy Beer Mac and Cheese so I combined the two cheeses)

*1 small onion, grated
*roughly 2 tablespoons dried parsley
*2/3 cup Parmesan cheese (I used freshly grated because I had it on hand, but normally I use shredded in a bag)
*1/3 cup Italian-style seasoned dried bread crumbs
*1 large egg
*2 tbsp ketchup
*3 garlic cloves, minced
*1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
*1 tsp salt
*1/2 tsp black pepper
*8 oz ground beef
*8 oz ground chuck roast
*2-4 oz  mozzarella cheese, cut into 16 cubes about 1/2-inch big
*half to 3/4 box linguine or other long pasta 


*In a large, heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring constantly, until golden brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or spatula, remove the pancetta and set aside.

*Add the onion to the skillet (which should still have much of the oil in it) and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, only about 30 seconds.

*Add the tomatoes, salt, black pepper, brown sugar, Italian seasoning and the cooked pancetta. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat until the sauce thickens, about 15 minutes. Stir in the cheese and season with salt and pepper, if desired.

*Position an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 400° F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

*In a large bowl, combine the onion, parsley, cheese, bread crumbs, egg, ketchup, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Add the meat. Using your hands, combine the ingredients gently but thoroughly. 

*Shape the meat mixture into 16 1 1/2-inch-diameter meatballs and place on the prepared baking sheet. Make a little hole in the center of each meatball and place a cube of mozzarella inside. Re-form each meatball so that the mozzarella is completely covered.

*Bake the meatballs for 15 minutes, or until cooked through.

Final Meal Preparation:

*Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta.

*Serve the pasta with meatballs and sauce on top, and don't go easy on the sauce!
Look at that cheesy sauce...
Forgot to take one before they went into the oven! Oh, I also forgot parchment paper. Whoops!

Tell me those don't look good.

Voila! Made a great next-day lunch, too!


  1. ok, so lauren.. i want to make these because who doesn't want a good meatball recipe.. but are they spicy? i want to make sure my littles can eat them too:) let me know:)

  2. They are a little spicy. To cut the spiciness I would omit the crushed red pepper flakes and lower the amount of garlic (probably 1 clove) and black pepper (1/4 tsp or less). That should do it!

  3. Cool Thanks so much! can't wait to try:)

  4. I can't wait to hear how they turn out! :)


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