Thursday, March 1, 2012

Peace Corps Pasta & Meatballs

On this date in 1961, President Kennedy established the Peace Corps.  It was authorized by Congress on September 22, 1961, with passage of the Peace Corps Act (Public Law 87-293). The act declares the program's purpose as follows:
To promote world peace and friendship through a Peace Corps, which shall make available to interested countries and areas men and women of the United States qualified for service abroad and willing to serve, under conditions of hardship if necessary, to help the peoples of such countries and areas in meeting their needs for trained manpower.
Since 1961, over 200,000 Americans have joined the Peace Corps and have served in 139 countries.
Peace Corps Pasta & Meatballs
Makes 6 servings

The best service is FOOD service...mangia!

2 Tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves minced garlic
3 cans (14 oz. each) whole peeled plum tomatoes (do not drain)
1/2 tsp. each salt, black pepper, sugar
8 fresh basil leaves, chopped

1 pound ground beef
1/3 cup panko (or other plain breadcrumbs)
1 egg
2 cloves minced garlic
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

1 lb. spaghetti or other pasta

Heat large pot of water to boiling for pasta.

Heat oil in medium saucepot.  Add garlic; cook and stir 1 minute or until fragrant (do not brown).  Add tomatoes; puree using immersion blender (alternately, blend tomatoes in blender, then add to oil and garlic).  Stir in salt, pepper and sugar.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer for 20 min.; stir in basil off heat. 

Meanwhile, make meatballs.  Heat oven to 375°F.  Mix together beef, panko, egg, garlic, salt and pepper.  Divide mixture evenly into 12 portions and roll each portion into a ball.  Place meatballs on foil-lined baking sheet.  Bake 15 to 20 min. or until no longer pink.

While sauce is simmering and meatballs are baking, cook pasta in boiling water as directed on package; drain.  Toss pasta gently with 1-1/2 cups of sauce, then pour remaining sauce over.  Top with meatballs.  Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

If you don’t have fresh basil, substitute 1 tsp. dried basil.

This is very saucy pasta.  Serve with crusty bread to soak up all the sauce!

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