Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Jan Gautro
4 servings

This zesty one-dish meal combines beef, a great source of zinc, with vitamin C–rich tomatoes. To prepare ahead, cook meatballs, cool, and freeze in a zip-top plastic bag for up to one month. When you're ready to serve the dish, defrost the meatballs in the refrigerator and sauté the ham. Follow the recipe, adding the thawed meatballs along with the tomatoes to the cooked onion mixture. Serve with a bold and bright red Rioja wine.

How to Make It

Step 1

Place bread in a food processor; pulse 12 times or until coarse crumbs measure 1/2 cup. Combine breadcrumbs, beef, and next 7 ingredients (through egg) in a bowl. Using wet hands, shape mixture into 20 (about 2 tablespoons each) meatballs. Set aside.

Step 2

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add ham to pan, and cook for 3 minutes or until well browned, stirring frequently. Transfer to a large bowl. Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil to pan. Add meatballs; cook for 5 minutes or until browned, turning often. Add meatballs to ham in bowl. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic to pan; cook 5 minutes or until tender, stirring often. Add sherry; cook for 3 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add tomatoes and meatball mixture; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened. Remove from heat, and keep warm.

Step 3

Place 1 cup pasta in each of 4 shallow bowls; top each serving with 5 meatballs, 3/4 cup sauce, and 1 tablespoon shredded Manchego cheese. Garnish with additional parsley, if desired.

Ratings & Reviews

HungryHippo's Review

February 01, 2009
I thought this dish was excellent. It was a nice change from the regular spaghetti and meatballs. The flavor from the smoked paprika is amazing and marries well with the red peppers. I just had it for lunch and would say its even better the next day. I used an 8-month aged manchego cheese which added another level of pungency to the dish--i used more than what the recipe called for which probably helped it to have more of an overall effect.

ShellyV's Review

January 20, 2009
I had high hopes with this recipe. It was fun to make...lots of flavorful ingredients, however I think there are better recipes to try. The sauce didn't work very much with the fettuccine noodles...perhaps a texture/consistency issue. I substituted prosciutto and aged parmesan...doubt serrano ham and aged manchego would have changed my rating.

karenfar's Review

January 12, 2009
This is a GREAT recipe! A little time consuming and a lot of ingredients but worth the effort. The sauce is fantastic and the combination of everything makes for a wonderful meal.

bostonsmaman's Review

December 15, 2008
We really liked this recipe! The meatballs have a unique flavor from the smoked paprika (which I got at TJ Maxx of all places). Extra lean ground beef tends to be dry, but by braising them in the sauce they were like tender pillows. The sauce was nice, but hubby wanted it to have a saucier consistency, so for leftovers we added some tomato puree. The manchego added no appreciable flavor, but it might be nice mixed into the meatball mixture. This dish was colorful, warm, and hit the spot during the poultry-ladden holidays!