Now that I have got into the grind, I was highly motivated to try out something new today. A quick look at the pantry and my eyes didn’t go past the Bucatini. Bucatini is a thick spaghetti-like pasta with a hole running through the centre. The name comes from Italian: buco, meaning “hole”, while bucato means “pierced” (Courtesy: Wikipedia). As I had saved the recipe of Bucatini All’Amatriciana with Spicy Mozzarella Meatballs in my favourites folder, I didn’t have to search for the recipe.
I got the recipe from Food Network. I followed the meatball recipe to the T. However, I cut down on the quantity of bucatini as I felt it would be in excess. It was a winner all the way.You can use any pasta of your choice. I am giving the recipe as it is. You can adjust according to your requirements..
Bucatini All’Amatriciana with Spicy Mozzarella Meatballs
Source: Food Network
For All’Amatriciana Sauce
Olive oil- 2 tablespoons
Pancetta, diced- 170 gms (I used smoked ham)
Onion finely chopped- 1
Garlic minced- 2 cloves
Crushed red pepper flakes- a pinch
Crushed tomatoes- 2 cups
Salt- 1/2 teaspoon
Freshly ground black pepper- 1/2 teaspoon
Grated Pecorino Romano- 1/2 cup (I omitted this)
Onion grated- 1
Chopped fresh parsley- 1/2 cup+ 1/4 cup for garnish (I used coriander leaves)
Grated Parmesan Cheese- 2/3 cup + 1/4 for garnish (I used processed cheese)
Breadcrumbs- 1/3 cup
Ketchup- 2 tablespoons
Garlic minced- 3 cloves
Red pepper flakes- 1/4 teaspoon
Salt- 1 teaspoon
Black pepper powder- 1/2 teaspoon
Ground beef- 1 cup
Ground veal- 1 cup (I used 2 cups of minced lamb)
Smoked Mozzarella cheese, cut into 16 (1/2-inch) cubes (I used plain mozzarella cheese)
Bucatini or any other pasta- 450 gms
For the sauce
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, remove the pancetta and reserve. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, salt, black pepper, and the cooked pancetta. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat, for about 15 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Stir in the cheese and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
For the meatballs
Position an oven rack in the lower 1/3 of the oven. Preheat the oven to 200C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine the onion, parsley, Parmesan, bread crumbs, egg, ketchup, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Add the beef and veal. Using your hands, combine all 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 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. Bake the meatballs for 15 minutes until cooked through.
For the pasta
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 and keep aside.
Place the pasta in a serving bowl. Add the meatballs and sauce. Toss gently and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle with the remaining parsley and Parmesan. Your Bucatini All’Amatriciana with Spicy Mozzarella Meatballs is ready..
Note: I recommend adding the drained pasta into the sauce and simmering for a couple of minutes. Serve with meatballs and garnish with grated parmesan and parsley. This version tastes even better..