Although it's pricier than ordinary ground beef, grass-fed (which is what you usually find at farmers' markets) goes a long way when rolled into mini meatballs.
1 pound grass-fed ground beef
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons fine dried bread crumbs
1 large egg
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
PASTA AND VEGETABLES
1 red onion, cut into 1/2-in.-thick wedges
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3/4 pound small red potatoes, quartered
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
About 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
About 1/2 tsp. pepper
8 ounces dried pappardelle pasta
1/2 cup shelled fresh peas (from 1/2 lb. pea pods)
1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
About 3/4 cup roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
How to Make It
Make meatballs: Mix ingredients in a large bowl to combine. Divide into 1-tbsp. portions; using wet hands, roll into balls. Chill on a baking sheet, covered with plastic wrap, until ready to use (up to 1 day). Preheat oven to 425°.
Prepare vegetables: Toss onion, garlic, and potatoes with oil and 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper in a large roasting pan until evenly coated. Nestle meatballs around vegetables and bake until onion and potatoes are tender and meatballs are cooked through, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions, adding peas during the last minute of cooking. Drain, reserving some pasta water, and return pasta and peas to pot.
Stir wine into meatballs and vegetables and pour into pot of pasta. Add lemon zest and 3/4 cup parsley; toss to combine, adding pasta water if mixture looks dry. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a plate; garnish with parsley.
Really liked this - and the kids ate with no complaints - but I found it needing a little more oomph. Could see some more garlic, more liquid (wine or otherwise), or maybe some red pepper flakes popping it up a notch.
Quite good - made as directed and deglazed the pan with the pasta water. It lacked zest so we added a sprinkling of Asiago cheese. Next time I'll add some fresh fennel to the roasting for a pick up. It could still use another punch up. The meatballs were dry due to the low fat content of the grass fed beef. I will try it again with additions.
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