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Monday, April 7, 2014

Linguine with Grilled Veggies & Meatballs

I may have already shared my love for grilled veggies, especially eggplant.. mmm eggplant.
I recently bought zucchini, artichoke, and eggplant to grill on my griddle pan to top my last pizza.. and since I had to grill in batches, I decided to grill a bunch to use later on in a salad.
That salad idea turned into a pasta idea.. spontaneously out of nowhere.  I needed to store some ground beef in the freezer, which meant make hamburger patties, or just freeze it as it is for some future spaghetti sauce..
oooo pasta
ooo if I'm going to handle the ground beef, I may as well make something interesting.. right?
ooo meatballs!
That's how dinner happened.
Serves 6
1 lb (500g) linguine, cooked al dente, then drained.
1 large zucchini, sliced
1 medium eggplant, sliced crosswise
1can artichoke hearts, drained
2 small shallots, sliced
3 Tbsp watercress pesto (or whatever other pesto)
some EVOO
juice from 3/4 lime
fleur de sel (flake salt)
1 tsp piment d'espelette
some fresh cracked pepper
crushed red pepper
drizzle heavy cream
1 cup water
parmesan and swiss
350g ground beef
1 carrot, finely grated
5 cloves garlic, grated
2 Tbsp strong mustard
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp watercress pesto
1 Tbsp piment d'espelette
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
lots and lots of fresh cracked pepper
1/2 tsp fleur de sel (flake salt)
1 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
drizzle EVOO
1.  Make the meatballs.  Mix all the meatball ingredients together using your bare hands, until everything is evenly incorporated, then form them into palm sized balls.
2.  Cook the meatballs.  Heat a wok or heavy based pan and brown the meatballs until nicely colored. Remove and set aside, but keep the juice in the pan.
3.  Meanwhile, griddle the veggies (if they aren't already griddled).  Toss the eggplant, zucchini, and artichoke hearts with some EVOO, lime juice, piment d'espelette, fleur de sel, and cracked pepper.  Grill (I did mine on a cast iron griddle pan) for a few minutes on each side until cooked through and set aside.
4.  Heat the wok with the meatball juice and add the shallots until golden.
5.  Add in the pesto and water and simmer while the pasta cooks, then add a bit of cream and all the grilled veggies and meatballs to heat through.
6.  When the pasta is done, reserve 1 cup of the cooking water and set aside.
7.  Toss the hot al dente pasta with all the lovely goodness, adding a bit of reserved pasta water if needed.

Serve with parmesan and swiss and top with a bit of crushed red pepper.

Dear me this was a meal worthy of guests!  I can't believe how delicious my meatballs were!  They were not dry at all (being all beef).  No need for sausage.
The secret is in the fennel and garlic, the carrots add a bit of moisture giving them perfect texture.
The griddled veggies add a whole other dimension to the pasta.. BBQ pasta..
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