Beef and Sweet Pepper Pasta

This beef and pasta recipe can be made ahead and frozen for up to one month.

  • Makes: 6 servings
  • Start to Finish: 35 mins
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Beef and Sweet Pepper Pasta
Ingredients
1
recipe Mealmaker Meatballs (see recipe below)
8
ounces dried pappardelle pasta or fettuccine
1
medium fennel bulb, trimmed and cut into thin, bite-sized strips
1
medium onion, quartered and thinly sliced
2
medium carrots, thinly bias-sliced
2
1
tablespoon olive oil or cooking oil
1
26 ounce jar spicy red pepper pasta sauce or mushroom and ripe olive pasta sauce
 
Salt and ground black pepper
4
ounces Italian fontina or mozzarella cheese, shredded (1 cup)
2
ounces Parmesan or Romano cheese, finely shredded (1/2 cup)
Directions
  1. Prepare and bake Meatballs. In a large pot or kettle cook pasta according to package directions until just tender; drain.
  2. Meanwhile, in a 10-inch skillet cook fennel, onion, carrots, and garlic in hot oil over medium heat for 7 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Return pasta to cooking pot. Add vegetable mixture, meatballs, and pasta sauce to pasta; toss to coat. Heat through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top each serving with the shredded cheeses. Serves 6.
From the Test Kitchen
Make Ahead (Freeze):

Prepare as above, except do not heat through. Transfer to a large freezer container or 1-gallon moisture- and vapor-proof plastic freezer bag. Cover container or seal bag. Place cheese in a self-sealing freezer bag. Freeze pasta mixture and cheese up to 1 month. To serve, thaw pasta mixture and cheese in refrigerator 1 to 2 days or until completely thawed. Transfer pasta mixture to a 3-quart microwave-safe casserole. Micro-cook, covered, on 100 percent power (high) for 15 to 20 minutes or until heated through, gently stirring every 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve as above.

Cooking Club Directions:

Prepare as above, except do not heat vegetables and pasta through. Divide pasta-meatball mixture and transfer to 4-quart storage containers or 1-gallon resealable plastic bags for each member of the club. Divide cheese in resealable plastic bags. Refrigerate pasta mixture and cheese up to 2 days. To freeze, transfer to 4-quart freezer containers or 1-gallon moisture- and vapor-proof plastic freezer bags. Freeze up to 1 month.

Test Kitchen Tip:

You can cook a double batch of the vegetables by using a 12-inch skillet; the vegetables will cook in 15 minutes

Reheating and Serving:

Thaw pasta mixture, if frozen, and cheese in refrigerator for 1 to 2 days or until completely thawed. Transfer refrigerated or thawed pasta mixture to a 3-quart microwave-safe casserole; add 14 cup water. Micro-cook, covered, on 100% power (high) for 15 to 20 minutes or until heated through, gently stirring every 5 minutes. Serve as above.

Mealmaker Meatballs
Ingredients
1
egg, beaten
1 1/4
cups soft French or Italian bread crumbs
1/4
cup finely chopped onion
2
1
teaspoon dried oregano or dried thyme, crushed
1/8
teaspoon cayenne pepper or 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1
pound lean ground beef
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degree F. Line a 15x10x1-inch baking pan with foil; set aside. In a large bowl combine the egg, bread crumbs, onion, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper. Add beef; mix well. Shape into 24 meatballs (about 1 tablespoon mixture per meatball). Arrange meatballs in prepared pan. Bake 15 minutes or until juices run clear. Drain off fat. Makes 24 meatballs.
  2. Each meatball: 41 cal, 2 g total fat (1 g sat. fat), 21 mg chol., 71 mg sodium, 1 g carbo., 0 g fiber, 4 g pro.
From the Test Kitchen
Note:

Use a blender or food processor to make soft breadcrumbs. About 1-1/2 ounces of break makes 1 cup of crumbs.

Test Kitchen Tip:

The job is quick when one person makes the meatballs while others perform other tasks. Set aside a spot at the kitchen table for the meatball maker to sit.

Nutrition Facts (Beef and Sweet Pepper Pasta)
    Per serving:
  • 515 kcal cal.,
  • 22 g fat
  • (9 g sat. fat,
  • 1 g polyunsaturated fat,
  • 8 g monounsatured fat),
  • 112 mg chol.,
  • 935 mg sodium,
  • 47 g carb.,
  • 5 g fiber,
  • 9 g sugar,
  • 31 g pro.
  • Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet
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