Difficulty Level: Moderate
Total Time: 2.5 hours
Serving Size: 4-6 servings
Mini Meatball Ragu:
1/2 lb. ground beef (80/20)
1/2 lb. ground veal
1/2 lb. ground pork
2 slices white bread, cubed (crusts removed)
1/4 cup milk (2% or whole)
1 large brown egg
1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 yellow onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup Italian parsley, finely chopped
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
28 oz. crushed San Marzano tomatoes
14 oz. tomato sauce or passata
Salt to taste
Mezzi Rigatoni with Mini Meatball Ragu:
1/2 lb. mezzi rigatoni or other short cut pasta
2 cups mini meatball ragu
1/2 cup fresh Robiola cheese
1 tbsp. Italian parsley, finely chopped
In a large, heavy-bottomed pot over low heat, add the olive oil and sauté the garlic for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant. Add crushed tomatoes, sauce and salt to taste. Stir and let simmer over low heat while you form the meatballs.
In a small bowl combine the bread and milk. Let soak for a few minutes until the bread fully absorbs the milk. In a separate bowl mix the egg, Parmigiano, garlic, onion, parsley and salt.
In a large mixing bowl, add the ground beef, pork and veal along with the bread mixture and egg mixture. Using your hands, gently mix all ingredients together until loosely combined. Try not to overwork the mixture. The more you overwork the meat, the less tender the meatballs will be.
Scoop about 1 tbsp. of the meat mixture to gently form the meatballs, about 1 inch in diameter. Drop the meatballs directly into the simmering sauce. Cover and simmer over low heat for 1.5-2 hours, until internal temperature has reached 165°F.
When the ragu is close to being done, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add plenty of salt and cook the pasta until it's al dente.
Strain the pasta and add back to the pasta pot along with the mini meatball ragu. Stir until combined. Use as much or as little of the ragu as you'd like with the pasta. You may have extra leftover which will keep in the freezer for 1-2 months.
Plate and top with fresh Robiola cheese and parsley and serve!