Little Pasta Balls

So appropriate, right?

Anyways Smiley

I don’t get into much work talk here on the blog for obvious reasons, but the past few days have been pretty hectic and yesterday was much of the same…hence my absence from blog land…

What wasn’t tough was walking out to my car, realizing it was not exactly where I parked it, then further realizing that it had been fully cleaned inside & out (??)

What a nice car thief, eh? Haha.

As a sweet note written on a napkin floated across the console, I realized that The Man had seriously just made my day by secretly picking up my car and taking it to get cleaned while I was working away … sometimes they really surprise you.  Am I right or am I right? ;)

I’ve also been eating this for the past two days.  Three meals in a row with no plans of stopping…

Just sayin’ :P

Works out well considering by the time I got a workout in and settled for dinner last night it was well after 8pm.  Thank youuuu recipes that taste awesome-tacular the next day or so after being prepared!

And thank youuuu IowaGirl for introducing me to this wonderful recipe idea :)

Arancini Casserole

Serves 8

Recipe is a slight variation of this original recipe from Gina’s Skinny Recipes.

The casserole is based on arancini, which are fried rice balls coated in bread crumb & usually filled w/ meat sauce, mozzarella, tomato sauce and/or peas.

I didn’t have rice.  But I did have these fun little acini de pepe, which are like little pasta balls!

Pasta Layer:

  • 1 box acini de pepe
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 cup marinara sauce

Meat Layer:

  • 1 lb. hot Italian sausage
  • 1/2 large onion (or 1 small), chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • sea salt & black pepper to taste

Topping:

  • 4 tblsp breadcrumb, divided
  • 4 oz. grated Mozzarella

Start by cooking the sausage over medium heat, breaking it up as you go (I had to remove from the casing), until almost cooked before adding in the onion and garlic.

Once the sausage is done, add the peas.  Plus some salt and pepper.

These Faith Farms hot Italian sausages just continue to impress.  They are so good!

Then add in the marinara sauce, turn down to medium-low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, boil the acini de pepe according to directions. 

9 minutes.

See, little pasta balls… right?!

Set aside and let cool for a few minutes.

Once the pasta is cool, add in the 1 cup marinara sauce (which should be the remainder of the jar), grated Parmesan and eggs.

Give a good stir to incorporate.

Then start your layering.

Into an oiled baking dish (just rub the bottom & sides with some olive oil using a paper towel to avoid stickage) add a layer of breadcrumb.

2 tblsp. of panko to be exact.

Then a layer of the pasta mixture (use half of it).

Followed by a layer of the sausage mixture (use it all).

Top with the remaining pasta mixture.

Plus some grated cheese and a layer of breadcrumb (the remaining two tablespoons).

Then cover, pop into a 400F oven and let it do its thing.

While the pasta was baking I prepped up some side salads using my new favorite bowls everrrrr.

Not sure why but I’m infatuated with these things?

Hey, never said I was normal.

I’m tellin’ ya, summer must be just around the corner based on the looks of the veggies so far this spring! :)

After the casserole has been in the oven for 20 minutes, covered, uncover it and bake an additional 10 minutes.

Finished product.

Gorgeous :D

Check out all those layers!

What I liked about this casserole was (1) the flavor – so so good! I credit the recipe plus the quality Italian sausages, they are seriously the best  (2) the unexpected “pop” of the peas (3) the crust that formed on the edges of the casserole (4) acini de pepe!!!!  why haven’t I used this fun little pasta before?

The one thing I would change would be the liquid ratio.  I found it to be a teeny bit drier than I would have liked, so maybe some more sauce next time?  Seriously no big deal though because this was quickly remedied for leftovers purposes by adding a few spoonfuls of water to the dish before microwaving!

Alright folks, busy day ahead… but at least after work tonight I have a fun dinner meetup to look forward to :) More to come…!

6 Responses to Little Pasta Balls

  1. awwwwwwwwww- how sweet is the man! I love it! So very thoughtful. And what a dinner. Reminds me of one of the items that we made at the cooking class in casserole form and healthier- how can you beat that? Hope you have fun at din din tonight

  2. Um, will you please send the man up here? My car needs a wash and an oil change….really, really, REALLY badly! Ok ok, i guess I will try to get my own man to do it ;)

    I have a box of acini di pepe…and half a jar of marinara…and three links of hot italian sausage!!! FATE?!?!?! Thank you!!! xo

  3. Those little pasta balls look so fun! The dish looks incredible.
    I love those bowls too!

  4. The Man is seriously amazing – send him over to Carytown. :)

    Can’t wait to see you tonight!!

  5. Oh wow! I’ve never had pasta like that! At first I thought it was couscous! Haha that looks really good though!

  6. Aww, that is so sweet! What a precious husband! :)

    And your pasta looks delightful!

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