Mini meatballs make the world go ’round.
1 pound penne pasta (or any other small sized pasta)
1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
2 large eggs
1 Tablespoon whole milk
1 Tablespoon ketchup
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1 pound ground turkey (or use pork if you are like my kid)
1/4 olive oil* (if frying, see below)
1 cup chicken broth
3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
8 ounces bocconcini (tiny mozzarella balls, halved)
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until tender, according to timing on package. Drain the pasta saving 1/2 cup of pasta water (very important). Set aside.
I am big on prepping ahead. So now’s when I’d wash and cut the tomatoes in half and set them aside in a bowl. Same with the bocconicini, cut them in half, set them aside as well. Then you can just throw it all together later. Trust me.
In a medium bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, eggs, milk, ketchup, parmesancheese, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Add the ground turkey until well combined. Make tiny 3/4 mini meatballs. You can do this by hand, I prefer to use a mini ice cream scoop.
Now, you can cook these meatballs on the stove OR in the oven. (*IF you want to do it in the oven, put the meatballs on a lined baking sheet and cook in a 350 degree oven for 30mins) If you don’t, and want to slave over a stove top (always fun) then heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the meatballs – you’ll probably have to do three batches, see what I mean about standing around? – don’t be tempted to move the meatballs until they are brown on the bottom, around 2-3 mins. Turn them and brown the tops, 2-3 mins more. Add the chicken broth and tomatoes and bring it to a boil.
Reduce heat to low and simmer until the tomatoes are soft and the meatballs are cooked through, about 5-10 mins.
Transfer the pasta to a large serving bowl, add 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese, toss to coat. Add some of the reserved pasta water you saved to make a sauce. Add the meatballs, cherry tomatoes, bocconcini and stir with the rest of the Parmesan. I also like to sprinkle some cracked pepper on top.
This is a GREAT dish. The combination of flavors and textures works really really well. I was thinking of making it at Christmas just because of the lovely green and red colors.