Monday, March 19, 2012

Tagliolini in Marinara with Smoked Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

Making homemade pasta takes some time, but  is well worth the efforts in both taste and texture once you try it.  It really is incredibly good, and it's not difficult, just takes some time.  I have a partner in crime.  My husband loves fresh pasta, and says he's never going back to boxed, so he realizes if that's the case he needs to help me.  I make the dough, then he helps me roll it out.  

Dough Recipe
3 cups all purpose flour
4 eggs 
2 Tbls olive oil
1 tsp salt

In an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook add the flour and salt and mix on low speed. Add the eggs one at a time and continue to mix on low. Add the oil and mix until dough comes together. Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and place on a floured surface and continue to knead for about 5 minutes, until you have a smooth elastic ball of dough. If too dry a little water, if to sticky add a little flour until you get that smooth elastic ball.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it sit for 30 minutes. Don't skip the rest period, the dough needs it.

While it is resting, get your sauce started so it can simmer,


1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
½-1 cup red wine (I eyeball it, so not sure on exact measurement, I just pour until desired consistency)
¼ sweet onion, small dice
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 Tb. fresh, or 1 tsp. dried oregano
1 Tb. fresh, or 1 tsp. dried basil
Use a little olive oil or olive oil spray, and saute the onions and garlic until tender. Add all tomatoes, wine and herbs, and let come to a simmer. Keep simmering on low while you make the pasta and meatballs.

Now that sauce is simmering,  time to roll out that dough.  Pasta can be made without a pasta maker, but I don't know if I'd have the patience and skill of an Italian grandma to do all that.  I use my pasta maker.  They are not that expensive, and what a fun toy that makes incredible pasta.

Flatten the dough ball with your hand and cut it in 2 or 3 pieces and pass through pasta maker set at 0.  Do that 3-4 times until you have a flat looking piece of dough.  You can sprinkle with flour each time if it seems sticky at all.  Now set pasta maker at 1 and roll it through, then 2 and roll it through, then 3 and roll it through, and finally 4 and roll it through.  Now, using the pasta attachement, you will roll the flattened, thin dough through the tagliolini or spaghetti looking rollers and hang your pasta up to dry. Do that with each of the dough pieces you have.  Let pasta dry for at least one hour.

While your pasta is drying and your sauce is simmering, time to make some meatballs.


small (6-ounce) onion, grated
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian flat leaf parsely
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup Italian-style bread crumbs
1 large egg
2 Tbls ketchup
3 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 lb lean ground beef
2 ounces smoked mozzarella cheese cut into 16 (1/2-inch) cubes  

In a large bowl, combine the onion,  parsley, Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, egg, ketchup, garlic, red pepper flakes,  salt, and pepper. Add the beef.  Using your hands, combine all ingredients.  Shape the meat mixture into 16 meatballs and place on the a broiler pan. Make a hole in the center of each meatball and place a cube of mozzarella inside. Reform the meatball so that the mozzarella is completely covered with the meat mixture. Preheat oven to 400° and bake the meatballs for 15 minutes until cooked through.  Meatballs can be made in advance and put in refrigerator until you are ready to bake them.  

Once your pasta has dried for an hour or more, bring a pot of water to a full rolling boil.  While waiting for water to boil get that oven ready for your meatballs.  Once water is at a full boil, cook the pasta for 4 minutes and drain.  Plate your pasta, some meatballs and slather that with some sauce.  Grate some romano, parmesan, asiagio, whatsomever you want over the top, and enjoy!


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