Sunday, May 17, 2009

Florentine Mac and Cheese and Roast Chicken Sausage Meatballs

WOW. This tasted amazing! The oven-baked meatballs had a slightly crisp exterior and had a moist, flavorful interior. They reminded me of healthier versions of chicken sausage. The fennel shines in this dish- definitely the star in these meatballs, but not an obtrusive taste... though I will try reducing the amount to 1 tsp next time (since my DB thought it had a bright taste.) I expected the mac and cheese to be bland, but it had a nice flavor to it, and complimented the meat well. Rachael's original recipe uses frozen chopped spinach, but I would definitely recommend using fresh spinach! The recipe below uses this slight moderation. This is a quick and tasty dish that can be easily made, and nice enough to serve to guests.

Ingredients:
Pasta
Salt
1 lb cavatappi corkscrew shaped hallow pasta (I used low-carb penne)

Chicken Meatballs
1-1/2 lbs ground chicken (I used 93/7 ground turkey)
Black pepper
2 to 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves stripped and finely chopped
2 tsp fennel seeds
3 cloves garlic, grated (I minced them)
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1 egg
3/4 cup bread crumbs, plus more, if needed*

Florentine Mac and Cheese
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
6-oz fresh baby spinach
3 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup whole milk
1/8 tsp grated nutmeg, eyeball it
1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
2. Place a large pot of water on to boil for pasta. When it comes to a boil, salt it and add the pasta to cook to al dente. Strain pasta reserving 1 cup cooking liquid.
3. While the water is coming to a boil, in a large mixing bowl combine all the meatball ingredients and mix together just until blended. *If the mixture seems too wet, add a handful of bread crumbs (I did not add extra).


4. Form 8 large round balls, about 3 to 4-inches. (You can do this by "scoring" the meat into quarters, and then making 2 meatballs per quarter.)


5. Coat balls in a couple of Tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil and lightly grease a baking sheet with 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil.


6. Arrange balls on the baking sheet and roast 17 to 18 minutes (I baked for 23 minutes) until juices run clear.


7. While the meatballs roast, in a medium sauce pot over medium heat, melt butter, whisk in flour, cook 1 minute then whisk in stock and milk, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg and thicken 5 to 6 minutes.
8. Add fresh spinach to the sauce pot.


9. Stir in the remaining 1 cup grated Parmigiano and reduce heat on lowest setting.


10. Add the reserved 1 cup pasta cooking liquid. Toss pasta with the spinach-white sauce and adjust seasonings.


11. Serve Florentine Mac-n-Cheese with 2 meatballs per person along side.

Source: Rachael Ray

5 comments:

Joelen said...

This looks fantastic! Yum!

Anonymous said...

DB's Dad said...

This looks yummy! If DB doesn't watch out, you'll make him fat!

Anonymous said...

Does DB really stand for Door Bell?

Sara said...

Door Bell it is.... how did you know?!

GarlicBOSS said...

Nice looking dish

 
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