This quick and delicious dinner is perfect for any night of the week. No ordinary pasta dish, the penne with white sauce and meatballs is jazzed up with peppery arugula and sweet roasted red peppers. The beefy meatballs are a snap to make by dropping and browning them in the pan – there’s no time-consuming shaping required!
1 lb. (500 g) Lean Ground Beef
2/3 cup (150 mL) grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 cup (60 mL) seasoned dry breadcrumbs
1 large egg
1 tsp (5 mL) garlic powder
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt, divided
1/4 tsp (1 mL) hot pepper flakes
3 cups (750 mL) penne or cavatappi (Scoobi-Doo) pasta
2 tbsp (30 mL) canola oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp (30 mL) all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups (625 mL) 2% milk
2 cups (500 mL) lightly packed baby arugula or spinach
1/2 cup (125 mL) thinly sliced roasted red peppers
In a large bowl, mix the beef with 1/3 cup (75 mL) of the cheese, breadcrumbs, egg, garlic powder, 1/4 tsp (1 mL) of the salt and hot pepper flakes until well combined.
Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling water, cook penne for about 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain well and return to pot.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. Using a small ice cream scoop or heaping tablespoon (15 mL), drop in skillet to make meatballs and brown all over; remove to a plate and set aside. Reduce heat to medium and add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring for about 3 minutes or until starting to brown. Stir in flour to coat. Whisk in milk and bring to a simmer. Return meatballs and remaining 1/4 tsp (1 mL) of salt to skillet and simmer gently, stirring often for about 6 minutes or until meatballs are fully cooked and no longer pink inside.
Stir in cooked pasta, arugula, roasted red peppers and remaining 1/3 cup (75 mL) Parmesan cheese to coat well. Sprinkle with more Parmesan if desired to serve.
Leftover roast beef or steak make a good substitute for the meatballs: add 1 lb. (500 g) thinly sliced strips of cooked roast or steak into sauce to warm through before adding pasta, arugula and peppers.
Per Serving (1/4 recipe): 730 calories, 31g fat, 10g saturated fat, 135mg cholesterol, 880mg sodium, 65g carbs, 3g fibre, 12g sugars, 46g protein, vitamin A 28%, vitamin C 19%, calcium 45%, iron 25%.
*Calcium = 450 mg per serving