Don't mistake this recipe by its title as some meat-head, body builder's food fantasy. It is anything but that. Though it is packed full of lean red meat and fiber filled quinoa for a bodily powerhouse effect, the delicate combination of sauteed vidalia onions, mushrooms and sun dried tomatoes, topped off with a large dash of chipotle make this recipe fit for the daintiest of chefs. Recommend serving this dish with a bottle of Malbec or Zinfandel if you are feeling bold. —zazafrasca
cloves of Garlic, minced
Vidalia Onion, minced
Mushrooms, finely chopped
Sun-dried Tomatoes (in-oil or not - your choice)
fresh basil, finely sliced into ribbons
Dried Chipotle Pepper, finely chopped
Ketchup (or tomato paste)
Salt and Pepper
shredded smoked provolone
Marinara Sauce of your preference (we prefer a thin simple sauce as the meatballs pack a punch)
finely grated Pecerino
In This Recipe
Heat Olive Oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Saute garlic and onions until fragrant. Add carrots and saute until soft.
While onion mixture is cooking, soak the cooked quinoa in the red wine in a small bowl.
Add mushrooms to medium-hot pan with onion mixture and continue to cook until all the water has been released from them. Then quickly add the sun-dried tomatoes and balsamic vinegar, turning up heat to high. Stir constantly until balsamic vinegar is nearly cooked down.
Turn pan to low. Add quinoa/wine mixture, basil, and chipotle, stirring until well combined. Salt and pepper mixture to taste and remove from heat.
In a large bowl add cooled onion/quinoa mixture, meats, ketchup, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, cheese, oregano. Mix gently with your hands until well combined. Refrigerate mixture for at least 1 hour.
Remove mix from fridge and mold into balls. (The size of the meatballs is completely your preference - we prefer to make them smaller when we are serving them with a long/thin pasta or large when serving with a shaped pasta.)
Heat a small amount of olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. (The meats used here are lean so some oil is necessary for non-stick and flavor purposes.)
Brown meatballs in batches (without crowding), turning frequently, about 5-7 minutes per batch, depending on the size of your balls.
Meanwhile, boil water for pasta and heat your preferred Marinara sauce. Cook pasta until al dente.
Add cooked meatballs to marinara sauce and simmer for several minutes.
Serve pasta in bowls, ladling sauce and meatballs over it, sprinkled with cheese.