I attended sponsored tours of veal farms in Pennsylvania and Indiana this summer to learn more about how today’s veal is raised. My travel expenses were paid and I was sent some free samples of ground veal and cutlets to experiment with, but I was not compensated for this post. This dish was a big delicious hit with my family so I wanted to share it.
It’s back to school time. Quick dinners are where it’s at, right? This dish will be a family hit and it’s pretty simple. You can always make the meatballs ahead in a big batch and then freeze them so they are ready for a weeknight meal. You can even cook the whole batch, and freeze them cooked, so they are really ready to help you save time on busy school nights! I bake them on a large cookie sheet.
Veal is the secret ingredient to these tasty, tender mini meatballs. Of course you can serve them with any basic pasta or spaghetti recipe, and you can also make the regular sized (2-3 inches) instead of mini. But I love the mini meatballs paired up with my light gorgonzola sauce. Don’t forget to add a veggies – I used spinach, but broccoli, roasted carrots or green beans work too!
Rosanne's Gorgonzola Pasta with Mini Meatballs
- 1 pound ground veal
- 1 egg
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped or pressed
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan or Romano cheese
- Ground black pepper to taste
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound penne pasta or other short cut pasta
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Pinch of grated or ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup low sodium chicken stock
- 1/2 cup 1% milk
- 3/4 to 1 cup Gorgonzola crumbled
- 3 to 4 cups baby spinach cleaned and trimmed, chopped
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Add water to a large stockpot with a pinch of salt, and bring to roaring boil.
- While water boils, prepare the meatballs. Place ground veal into a medium sized glass bowl. Add bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, egg, garlic, and pepper. Mix well until all ingredients are well-combined (use a spoon, your hands, or you can put ingredients into a mixer to mix). Form into small 1-inch meatballs. Place on a nonstick cookie sheet (or use silicone mats), and bake for 10 minutes.
- When pasta pot is at a roaring boil, add pasta and cook al dente (about 8 minutes). Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water, then drain pasta (don’t rinse).
- While pasta cooks, melt butter in a small saucepan. Add flour and stir quickly and cook for 1-2 minutes. Gradually add wine and cook until reduced by half. Add chicken stock, and bring back to boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and gradually stir in milk, nutmeg, and Gorgonzola cheese.
- While cooking sauce, heat 2 TB of water in a small non stick skillet. Add chopped spinach and stir until wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Drizzle with olive oil, lightly add salt and pepper.
- Add the drained pasta to the sauce and mix. Serve the meatballs with the pasta, and a side of the spinach. You can also serve the pasta and meatballs on top of the spinach.
I LOVE my silicone mats for baking or roasting meatballs, chicken, fish, or vegetables. They make clean-up much easier (and they are dishwasher safe – but so easy to just wipe after use, with soapy water). Of course they are great for baking cookies too.