Pappardelle with Mozzarella-Stuffed Meatballs and Oven-Roasted Tomato Sauce

Click here for a PDF of this recipe without photos.

There are a couple of ways you can make this (or any) pasta: by hand on your counter or in a food processor.  My mom has told me stories about her grandmother (Grandpa Julio’s mother) making it on the dining room table, starting with a mountain of flour and a little salt and gradually incorporating the eggs by hand.  I used a food processor which saves a significant amount of time, but means this post lacks the requisite iconic photo of a mountain of flour on my dining room table.  This is a great meal to make in advance, as all elements can be done well before mealtime.  The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week, and the meatballs can be assembled and then frozen for much longer than that without sacrificing any quality.

Adapted from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home

For Pasta

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 Tb Olive oil

For Oven-Roasted Tomato Sauce

  • 2 – 4 Tb Olive Oil
  • 1 finely chopped yellow onion
  • 3 leeks, minced (white and light green parts only)
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 Tb brown sugar
  • 2 Tb red wine vinegar
  • 2 large (~30 oz) cans San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 5 thyme sprigs
  • 15 peppercorns

For Mozzarella-Stuffed Meatballs

  • Canola or Olive Oil
  • 1 finely chopped yellow onion
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 12 oz ground beef sirloin
  • 12 oz ground beef chuck
  • 8 oz ground pork shoulder
  • 8 oz ground veal
  • ¼ dried bread crumbs
  • 3 Tb minced parsley
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 oz fresh mozzarella

Make the sauce – Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large dutch oven, combine oil, onion, leeks, garlic, and salt.  Put in oven (without the lid) for one hour.  Add brown sugar and vinegar and return to the oven until the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.  Drain the tomatoes and remove seeds.  Puree in a food processor and season with salt.  Wrap the bay leaf, thyme, and peppercorns in cheesecloth.   Add the tomato puree and the cheesecloth sachet to the dutch oven.  Cook for another 90 minutes, stirring every 30.  After 90 minutes, taste and check the consistency.  If it’s not as thick as it should be, continue cooking.  When it’s ready, remove the cheesecloth sachet and discard.  Serve immediately or cool and refrigerate for up to a week.

Make the Pasta – You can do this by hand by mixing the dry ingredients together, pouring them on a large flat surface (the counter, a large cutting board, your kitchen table, etc), making a well in the center, adding the eggs and oil to the well, and incorporating the dry ingredients gradually until you have a uniform consistency.  Alternatively, put the flour and salt in a food processor, pulse to mix, add the eggs and oil, and process for about 30 seconds or until the dough forms a ball.  Once you have dough of a uniform consistency, knead by hand for several minutes.  Roll it into a very thin sheet (or pass through a pasta machine several times using smaller and smaller settings).  Once it’s as thin as you want, allow it to rest and dry for about 10 minutes, then loosely roll the dough and cut into noodles about 1 inch thick.

Lay them on parchment paper and cover with plastic wrap until you’re ready to cook.  You can cook them immediately or put them in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.  When you’re ready to cook, bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add the noodles and stir constantly for 3 minutes or until noodles are done.  Be careful not to overcook.

.Make the meatballs – Heat the oil in a large skillet.  Add the onion and garlic and season with salt and pepper.  Cook for about 20 minutes, or until vegetables are soft but not brown.  Remove from heat.  In a large bowl, add all of the ground meat and use your hands to combine.  Add the bread crumbs, egg, sautéed vegetables, and parsley and mix gently until evenly incorporated.  Divide into 12 equal balls (just less than ½ cup each).  Cut the mozzarella into 12 equal cubes.  Shape the meatballs and place a piece of cheese inside each.  Place a cooling rack on top of a cookie sheet and place the meatballs on top.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees, and bake meatballs for 15 to 18 minutes.  Let rest a few minutes before serving.

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