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  • Mari

One Pot Lemony Greek Meatball Pasta




Don't know about you, but halfway through the week is when I'm suddenly SICK of cooking after work. This lemony, creamy, ONE POT pasta dish comes together in a snap on busy weeknights. On a whim, I decided to use ground lamb instead of beef and I was very happy with that choice. I'm not a big lamb person, but I wanted this to taste more authentic. I was very very pleasantly surprised with the lamb - but if you're still not convinced, use beef or chicken.



Hesitant to try caramelizing your lemon? After it's cooked, we're chopping the whole thing up (skin and everything) and throwing it in the pasta. It gets super caramelized and BRIGHT in the meatball grease and compliments the lamb perfectly.

 

One Pot Lemony Greek Meatball Pasta


Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes Yield: 4 servings


INGREDIENTS


For the Meatballs

  • 500 g ground lamb

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 egg

  • 1 cup soft breadcrumbs OR 1 cup regular breadcrumbs soaked in 2-3 tbs milk or cream*

  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced

  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, minced

  • 1 tbs dried mint

  • 1 tbs dried oregano

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 1/4 cup feta or chèvre cheese

For the Pasta

  • 2 tbs olive oil

  • 1 lemon, sliced into 5 (discard of end pieces)

  • 3 cloves garlic, mined

  • 8 oz/250 g rigatoni pasta (you could also use penne, macaroni, little shells, bowties, any short pasta)

  • 3 cups chicken/beef/vegetable broth

  • 1 cup half and half (10%) cream

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 3 cups spinach

  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, piths removed


DIRECTIONS

  1. Start by making the meatballs. Combine all of the ingredients for the meatball except for the feta/chèvre in a large mixing bowl. Direction mix well with your hands until ingredients combined. Gently stir in the feta/chèvre.

  2. Form the meatballs into about 30 tablespoon sized balls. Place a large pan over medium high heat. Add 1 tbs olive oil. Once the oil begins shimmering, place the meatballs into the pan. Sauté the meatballs for 6-10 minutes, turning halfway through to allow browning on all sides. The meatballs should not be fully cooked on the inside, just browned on the outside. Remove the meatballs from the pan.

  3. Add the remaining olive oil and the lemon slices to the pan. Sauté till brown on both sides, 3-4 mins each side. Remove from pan. Chop up 2 slices of lemon and add back to the pan with the garlic and a little more olive oil if necessary. Sauté, stirring often, just till the garlic is fragrant, 45 -60 seconds.

  4. Add the pasta, broth, cream, and salt to the pot. Once the pasta comes to a boil, turn the heat down to low and add the meatballs back into the pot. Cover and let simmer for 8-10 minutes, or until 90% cooked.

  5. Turn the heat back up to medium and stir the spinach in. Allow the pasta to simmer with the spinach until fully cooked, another 2-3 minutes, then remove from heat.

  6. Stir in the cherry tomatoes and olives. Garnish with the caramelized lemon slices and serve hot.

NOTES

  • *if using regular breadcrumb, soak them in a little milk/cream before putting them in the meatballs. This will keep the meatball tender.

  • Soft breadcrumbs = leftover end pieces of bread that you never eat but for some reason are saving. Blitz em up (in a blender or food processor) and use them in here.

  • You can use ground beef or chicken instead of lamb. If using chicken, increase the amount of olive oil you used throughout cooking.



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