Traeger Baked Italian-Style Meatballs with Ditalini Pasta

A19I8948-Edit

Traeger-Baked Italian-Style Cheesy Meatballs with Ditalini Pasta

Makes 6 – 8 servings

Meatballs

¾ cup bread crumbs

½ cup dry red wine

1 pound best-quality ground beef

12 ounces best-quality Italian sausage

½ cup grated onion

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest

1 large free-range egg, beaten

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves

½ teaspoon red chili flakes

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Sauce & Bake

2 tablespoons olive oil

5 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon minced fresh basil stems

¼ teaspoon red chili flakes

2 X 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes

1 cup dry red wine

½ cup beef stock

1 teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

1 1/2 cups Ditalini pasta

1 large ball fresh mozzarella

Handful of fresh basil leaves, to serve

1. When ready to cook, start the Traeger on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes). Set the temperature to 350 degrees F and preheat, lid closed, for 10 to 15 minutes.

2. Meatball time. In a large bowl, combine the bread crumbs and wine, and stir until the bread crumbs have turned bright purple. Leave the bread crumbs to soak in all that deliciousness for 5 minutes. Add the remaining meatball ingredients and mix well. Using the palms of your hands, roll the meatball mixture into 12 – 14 large meatballs.

3. Heat a large high-sided, oven-safe pan (or skillet) over medium-heat and pour in the olive oil. Working in batches, brown the meatballs on all sides, a couple minutes per meatball. When browned, transfer to a plate using a slotted spoon and set aside.

4. Sauce & Bake Time. In the same pan still over medium-heat, add the garlic, basil stems, and red chili flakes, and cook for 1 minute, stirring often. Pour in the tomatoes, red wine, stock, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and stir the Ditalini pasta into the sauce. Add the meatballs, then scatter over the mozzarella cheese, and top the meatballs with another hit of cracked black pepper. 

5. Transfer to the Traeger and cook for 25 – 30 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through and the pasta is cooked (al dente, please). Top with fresh basil and serve. Delicious!!!

 

 

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