Bell Pepper and Tomato Penne with Meatballs

This recipe illustrates how layering salt throughout cooking brings all the flavors of a dish together. The pasta cooks in salted water. The sauce gets seasoned at a couple of steps along the way--first to enhance the flavor of the onion and bell peppers, and later to tame the sharpness of the tomatoes and vinegar.

Yield:

4 servings (serving size: 1 cup pasta and 1 1/2 cups meatball mixture)

Recipe from

Nutritional Information

Calories 473
Caloriesfromfat 26 %
Fat 13.8 g
Satfat 3.2 g
Monofat 6.5 g
Polyfat 2.1 g
Protein 23.3 g
Carbohydrate 65.7 g
Fiber 6 g
Cholesterol 100 mg
Iron 4.6 mg
Sodium 911 mg
Calcium 116 mg

Ingredients

Meatballs:
1 (3/4-ounce) slice firm white bread (such as Pepperidge Farm)
1/3 cup minced fresh onion
1/4 cup finely chopped cremini mushrooms
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 large egg yolk
1/2 pound lean ground turkey
Cooking spray
Sauce:
2 teaspoons olive oil
3/4 cup chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 cup julienne-cut yellow bell pepper
1/2 cup julienne-cut orange bell pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
3 cups chopped seeded plum tomato (about 2 pounds)
1/2 cup tomato juice
1/4 cup quartered pitted kalamata olives
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
Pasta:
1/8 teaspoon salt
8 ounces uncooked penne (about 2 cups tube-shaped pasta)

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400°.

To prepare meatballs, place bread in a food processor; pulse 10 times or until fine crumbs measure 1/2 cup. Combine breadcrumbs, 1/3 cup onion, and next 8 ingredients (1/3 cup onion through turkey); stir well to combine. Lightly coat hands with cooking spray. Shape turkey mixture into 20 (1-inch) meatballs. Place on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 12 minutes or until done; cover and keep warm.

To prepare sauce, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 3/4 cup onion; sauté 3 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add bell peppers and 1/4 teaspoon salt; sauté 2 minutes. Add tomato and next 6 ingredients (tomato through black pepper); bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 13 minutes or until sauce thickens. Stir in basil and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add meatballs; stir to coat.

To prepare pasta, while sauce cooks, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil in a large saucepan; add 1/8 teaspoon salt and pasta. Cook 10 minutes or until al dente; drain. Serve meatball mixture over pasta.

Note:

Maureen Callahan,

April 2004