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Bucatini All'Amatriciana with Spicy Mozzarella Meatballs

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

Ingredients
  

For All'Amatriciana Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons Olive oil
  • 170 gms Pancetta , diced - (I used smoked ham)
  • 1 Onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic minced
  • pinch red pepper Crushed flakes - a
  • 2 cups tomatoes Crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper Freshly ground
  • 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano Grated - (I omitted this)

For Meatballs

  • 1 Onion grated
  • 1/2 cup parsley Chopped fresh
  • 2/3 cup Parmesan Cheese Grated
  • 1/3 cup Breadcrumbs
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 tablespoons Ketchup
  • 3 cloves Garlic minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon Red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black pepper powder
  • 1 cup Ground beef
  • 1 cup Ground veal
  • 16 Mozzarella cheese Smoked (cut into cubes - 1/2-inch)
  • 450 gms Bucatini pasta or any other

For Garnish

  • 1/4 cup parsley Chopped fresh
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese Grated

Instructions
 

  • 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.
  • For serving
  • 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.. :-).

Notes

Notes:
I omitted Grated Pecorino Romano.
Instead of ground veal used 2 cups of minced lamb.
I didn't have smoked mozzarella cheese, instead I used plain mozzarella cheese.