- Cooking Time:
- Servings: 8-12
- Preparation Time:
BackstoryItalian-style meatballs are stuffed with miniature balls of mozzarella cheese and baked before being served with a vodka tomato sauce over pasta of your choice. Grated carrots melt into the tomato sauce and help neutralize the acidity of the tomatoes without adding any carrot flavor. The vodka may be omitted if necessary. The sauce works well on its own for any pasta dish. The meatball mixture may be formed into a meatloaf, with or without the mozzarella cheese stuffing.
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup minced sweet onion
- 4 cloves garlic, pressed
- 2 (14.5-ounce) cans petite-cut tomatoes
- 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
- 1 large carrot, finely grated
- 2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano or 2 teaspoons dried
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup vodka
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Meatballs (see recipe)
- Hot cooked pasta such as penne, rigati, ziti, or linguine
- Fresh oregano sprigs for garnish (optional)
- Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add minced sweet onion and gently sweat onions until soft. Add pressed garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, grated carrot, oregano, water, and vodka, stirring to combine. Gently simmer until thickened and vegetables begin to disintegrate. Add additional water if tomato sauce becomes too thick. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. While sauce is cooking, prepare meatballs (see recipe).
- Transfer cooked meatballs to the vodka sauce. Serve over hot cooked pasta and garnish with fresh oregano sprig, if desired.