E Pluribus Durum

Behold – veggie spicy meatballs and kale n’ garlic n’ peppers baked fusiditaziti!

That’s right. Fusilli, ditalini, ziti. E Pluribus Unum, folks. Round up those pantry hold-outs, it’s time for some Italian longevity noodles.

Meaning it’s Sunday.

And we need lunches for the week ahead.

But hey, that can be done in an hour, cruising it at under seven hundred words the following morning, can’t it?

photo 2 (13)

Veggie Spicy Meatballs with What You Got pasta

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: Bake for 25-35 minutes, at 400º F.

Makes for 12 servings; 2-3 per person.

Ingredients for the meatballs are easy and straightforward. Simply buy a 12 ounce package of Soy Chorizo the next time you shop at Trader Joe’s. We love the stuff, and we usually use it for the base of a meatless bolognese sauce, or in vegetarian migas. The idea to make chorizo meatballs was directly inspired by a mindblowing kofta recipe Kel put together a few months ago that totally reshaped our world.

But seriously, one package of soyrizo. We almost always have some on hand, and that’s all there is to it. Whether or not you wish to use eggs as a binding agent is  your call, friends.

How you want to go about the rest of the process is really up to you – add rice for thickness? Grate some garlic, some ginger, some celery root and potato? Have your pick of herbs and aromatics. Make this recipe yours!

I baked, rather than pan fried these meatballs out of concern that the consistency was too loose. Turns out I had very little to worry about.

  •     1  12 oz. package of Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo (vegan)
  •     2 eggs, all in
  •     2 cups, refined white flour
  •     2 cups, breadcrumbs
  •     dash salt, to taste
  •     dash ground black pepper, to taste
  •     1/2 bag shredded mozzarella cheese
  •     2 cups, grated parmesan cheese
  •     2 cups, vodka sauce (I used Classico)
  •     spritz of Pam (to coat baking tray)
  •     1/2 tablespoon of olive oil (to brown meatballs)

In a bowl, whisk the eggs and mix with the soyrizo. Add salt and pepper as you mix. On a separate plate, thoroughly sift flour and breadcrumbs.

Take small handfuls of the veggie meatball mixture and dredge adequately. Form small, fistlets of meatball, set aside.

Grease a small baking tray, spray with Pam and add olive oil; arrange the uncooked meatballs, leaving space between each unit. Top with vodka sauce and heaps of cheese. Set your oven to 400° and start boiling some pasta.

For the pasta, proper:

  • 1 1/2 bag (or three 1/2 bags) of whatever pasta you’ve got on hand
  • 1 red pepper, finely sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 4 medium sized white button mushrooms (or equivalent), sliced
  • 1 cup kale, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup beer
  • 1  1/2 jars, red tomato sauce (your preference)
  • 2 bag, mozzarella cheese (shredded)

Boil pasta until ready; drain and set aside. Brown the garlic and onions before adding the mushrooms and beer. Let everything simmer until golden, fragrant. Add salt and pepper to taste, then throw in the beer and kale. Remove from heat when ready to mix with pasta.

Mix everything in layers in a large pyrex baking dish, taking care to spread sauce and cheese evenly. Top again; mix. Place in oven with baking meatballs at 400°.


In the meantime, have a beer to celebrate the First of Spring:

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Come what may of you, overnight snowfall! Yours is to touch – but not hold – the warming earth. As you can see, our magnolia tree is ready to burst with vibrant sweetbay. This zippy fresh hop ale from Brau Brothers is a welcomed turn from what I’ve sampled of their dutch-cobbled, tenebristic catalog of Scotch trad ales and stouts.

Back inside, you’ll want to remove the meatballs from the oven when the cheese starts to brown and the sauce bubbles rapidly, caking and blackening along the inner rim of the pan. Don’t worry, the flavor’s all there.

Continue to bake the pasta until cheese is thoroughly melted and gooey and some of the pasta crispens (about 15-20 minutes at most.)
Serve immediately; these measurements produced plentiful servings for 3, with lunch leftover for each of us through Tuesday. And that was the goal, in part – after an action-packed, fun-filled visit from family (in which we ordered in pretty much every night), I wanted to get us back in line for the week…or what remains to be done of the week…As we’re leaving on Thursday night to meet Florida friends in Nashville, TN for the long weekend!
Enjoy! And happy Spring!

4 thoughts on “E Pluribus Durum

    1. Thank you! We were all quite happy with the results – I suggest trying this with some TJs soy chorizo next time you want spaghetti and meatballs!


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