Baked Penne Pasta with Meatballs and Buffalo Mozzarella

9:00 pm on 19 April 2004

Ingredients Meatballs

  • 400 g turkey or veal meat, minced
  • 2 tbls fresh finely chopped chives
  • 2 tbls fresh finely chopped parsley
  • 8 tbls dry breadcrumbs
  • 2 tsps soy sauce
  • 1 egg
  • Salt

Ingredients Pasta and sauce

  • 12 tbls extra virgin olive oil
  • 500g Penne pasta
  • 600 mls canned whole peeled or chopped tomatoes
  • 150 mls or 3/4 cup red wine
  • 2 tbls fresh finely chopped chives
  • 2 tsps fresh finely chopped marjoram
  • 2 tsps dried tarragon
  • 2 tsps dried bay leaves
  • 8 tbls dry breadcrumbs
  • Extra breadcrumbs for outside of meatballs
  • 100g ham, sliced
  • 250g buffalo mozzarella cheese, cubed
  • Grated Parmigiano-reggiano, if you like salt

Method

To prepare meatballs place all the ingredients in a bowl - minced meat, aromatic herbs, soy sauce, egg and 8 tablespoons dry breadcrumbs. Season to taste with salt and knead with your hands. The dough must be soft. Shape small meatballs with mixture. Every meatball should be the size of an olive. Dip them into extra dry breadcrumbs and arrange in a large pan with 10 tablespoons olive oil. Fry lightly over a gentle heat for few minutes, stirring very carefully with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat, add tomatoes, aromatic herbs and red wine. Season to taste with salt and keep cooking over a gentle heat until wine has almost evaporated.

Meanwhile cook pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Be careful! Don't overcook pasta as you have to bake it too!

Drain pasta and dress with the sauce and parmesan cheese. Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F). Oil a shallow ovenproof dish and sprinkle with a little more of the breadcrumbs. Arrange a first layer of dressed pasta, cover with ham and buffalo mozzarella cheese (Parmigiano-reggiano cheese too, if you wish). Then make another layer of pasta and continue until all the ingredients are used up but bearing in mind that the top layer must be of mozzarella cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until mozzarella cheese is well melted.Serve at once.

Accompany with a seasonal green salad.

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