Rigatoni and Meatballs

  • Yield : Makes 6 to 8 servings
  • Prep Time : 30m
  • Cook Time : 30m
  • Ready In : 15m
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  • 6 thick slices crusty bread
  • 3/4 pound ground beef
  • 3/4 pound ground pork
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup minced flat-leaf parsley, plus more for serving
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup red wine (optional)
  • one 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • one 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup minced flat-leaf parsley
  • 12 fresh basil leaves, cut in chiffonade (optional)
  • 2 pounds rigatoni, cooked al dente


Step 1

Place the bread on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes in a 200 degrees F oven, or until totally dry.

Step 2

Break the bread into chunks . . .

Step 3

And pulse [in food processor] until the bread turns into crumbs.

Step 4

Throw the meat into a large mixing bowl.

Step 5

Add the garlic, bread crumbs, eggs, parsley, grated Parmesan, milk, salt, and pepper. Use clean hands to mix together until well combined.

Step 6

Use a scoop to retrieve a small amount of the meat mixture . . . And roll it in your hands to make meatballs (about 25). Place the pan in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes, just to firm them up.

Step 7

Heat the olive oil in a heavy pot over medium-high heat. Working with 8 to 10 meatballs at a time, cook them until brown but not cooked all the way through, 2 to 3 minutes per batch.

Step 8

Remove from the pan to a plate while you make the rigatoni and sauce.

Step 9

Add the onion and garlic to the pan. Stir and cook for a minute or two, until the onion begins to soften.

Step 10

Add the wine and cook for another minute. (Just omit this step if you're not using wine.)

Step 11

Add the crushed tomatoes...whole tomatoes... salt, pepper, and sugar . . . And parsley and basil.

Step 12

Stir the sauce to combine all the ingredients . . . Cover and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step 13

Then throw in the meat-a-balls!

Step 14

Stir gently, then cover and cook for 20 more minutes, stirring once or twice, until the meatballs are cooked through.

Step 15

Heap the rigatoni on a large platter and pile the meatballs and sauce on the top. Sprinkle on some extra minced parsley and serve with extra grated Parmesan.

Step 16

This is a good one, my friends.

Step 17

I mean . . . i miei amici.

Step 18


Step 19


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