Sunday, May 23, 2010


I believe I mentioned a while back that ground beef is not my favorite thing. I really do try not to be a snob (sometimes I even succeed!), and this week's recipe is me exploring something I hadn't tried before--ground lamb, specifically meatballs.
To my surprise, I found this recipe on Cooking Light. You'll recall my original Adventures in Lemon Chicken I ended up adding wine (and therefore quite a few calories) to my lemon chicken.  
Without further ado, I bring you Greek Pasta with Meatballs:

2  cups  hot cooked orzo Cook the orzo while the meatballs are in the oven. 
1/3  cup  plain dry breadcrumbs I used panko, which I find a little softer than American bread crumbs. Completely up to you, of course.
1/2  teaspoon  dried oregano
1/4  teaspoon  salt
1/4  teaspoon  ground cinnamon
1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
1  pound  lean ground lamb
1  garlic clove, minced I used two, I'll use one next time. It overwhelmed the cinnamon
2  tablespoons  chopped fresh parsley, divided
2  large egg whites If you've never separated an egg, check out this video featuring Chef Paul Prudhomme
1 1/2  teaspoons  olive oil
2  cups  jarred marinara sauce I don't know about you, but having the time to make a good tomato sauce from scratch  isn't always in the cards for me. 
3/4  cup  (3 ounces) crumbled feta cheese

I added 1/2 teaspoon lemon peel.

1. Preheat oven to 375°.

2. Cook orzo according to package directions; drain. Keep warm. Go to step 3, seriously. cook your orzo while the meatballs are baking. Warmed-over pasta can have a mushy texture. If you're like me and insist on al dente, trust me, cook the orzo later.

3. Combine breadcrumbs and next 6 ingredients (through garlic) in a medium bowl; stir in 1 1/2 tablespoons parsley. Add egg whites, stirring mixture until just combined. Shape mixture into 12 (1-inch) meatballs; cover and chill meatballs 5 minutes. I see a large box of rubber gloves in my future. You really can't get the kind of blending from using a spoon that you get from putting clean hands in your mixture and seriously squishing it around. 

4. Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add meatballs to pan; cook 8 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Drain well; wipe pan clean with paper towels. Return meatballs to pan. Spoon marinara sauce over meatballs; sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 375° for 11 minutes or until meatballs are done. Sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons parsley. Serve over orzo.

A few comments. First off, I'm not sure how the author of this recipe got 12 1" meatballs. I got about sixteen 2" meatballs, which meant increasing the pan and the baking time by a few minutes each. While I am very much a proponent of rare meat, ground meat really needs to be cooked to at least medium rare. If you want tartare, make tartare.

We got a total of five meals out of this recipe. The initial serving, which came after some cold cucumber soup. Then Ken eating some leftovers, then the two of us eating the final leftovers. During the last  serving, I mixed some baby peas up with the orzo, which added a nice texture. I did like the coolness of the cucumber soup with it, though. I think I'll keep the two in combination.

Questions? Comments? Got a recipe you'd like me to try? Let's hear it!

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