Monday, November 30, 2015

Meatball & Butternut Squash Penne

An easy weeknight pasta dish, Meatball & Butternut Squash Penne, uses up the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers without reminding anyone of last week's feast. 

Meatball & Butternut Squash Penne
Serves 4

For the meatballs
2 tablespoons bread crumbs (try panko for extra lightness)
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4-1/3 cup milk (buttermilk can be used) 
1/3 pound hamburger meat
1/3 pound mild or spicy bulk sausage
1-2 tablespoons olive oil to brown meatballs 
1/3 cup water (broth or white wine may be substituted)

Remaining ingredients
1/2 box (4 servings) penne pasta
2 cups cooked, cubed butternut squash (roasted or steamed)
1 small red bell pepper, seeded, roasted and peeled (canned roasted red peppers OK)
2 cups raw spinach, rinsed well, stems removed
2 tablespoons cream cheese
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

  1.  Make meatballs: Combine breadcrumbs with next three ingredients.  Stir and let stand for 5 minutes for bread crumbs to soften.  Mix in ground beef and sausage.  Use a small spoon to form one-inch meatballs.  Heat oil in a wide skillet over medium heat.  Brown meatballs.  Add water and scrape up any drippings.  Cover skillet and lower heat to simmer for 5 minutes, until meatballs are cooked through.
  2. Boil a large pot of salted water for pasta while meatballs cook.
  3. When meatballs are cooked, add cooked butternut squash, red bell pepper and spinach to meatballs.  Cover skillet again to allow vegeatbles ot heat througha dn sinach to wilt.
  4. Cook penne pasta as directed on box. 
  5. While pasta cooks, finish meatballs by adding cream cheese and Parmesan cheese.  
  6. Drain pasta reserving about 1 cup of the pasta water. Add drained pasta to skillet with half the past water.  Stir to combine all ingredients. Let cook a minute or two.  Add more pasta water if too dry.