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+ servings

Pepperoni Meatballs and Red Wine Sauce

Ingredients

  • Pepperoni Meatballs
  • 1 cup pepperoni, diced
  • ¼ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ medium-size onion, cut into chunks
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • ½ lb sweet Italian pork, casings removed
  • ¾ cup Panko breadcrumbs (gluten-free if you’re avoiding gluten)
  • ½ cup Parmigiano cheese, grated
  • 1 tsp cayenne (more or less, depending on your tolerance for heat)
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp fine-grain sea salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

  • Red Wine Sauce
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 medium-size red onion, chopped fine
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 small celery stalks, diced fine
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • ¾ cup dry red wine
  • 3 cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes, pureed in a food processor
  • 3 inch Parmigiano cheese rind
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 Tbsp chili flakes
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • fine-grain sea salt, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • curly parsley leaves, chopped

Instructions

  • Make the Meatballs
  • Preheat oven to 350° F
  • In a food processor, add the diced pepperoni, parsley leaves, garlic, and onion. Pulse until the mix is chunky.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add the ground pepperoni mix, along with the ground beef, ground pork, breadcrumbs, Parmigiano cheese, cayenne, crushed fennel seeds, smoked paprika, sea salt, and black pepper.
  • Using your hands, gently combine just the mix is just even
  • Shape the mixture into 16 meatballs, placing them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Transfer them to the oven and back for 30 minutes, or until they're cooked through

  • Make the Sauce
  • In a large cast-iron skillet, over medium-high heat, add the olive oil, chopped onion, garlic, celery, thyme, and tomato paste, along with a generous pinch of sea salt.
  • Cook until the onion is soft and the tomato paste has started to brown.
  • Add the red wine and cook until it has nearly evaporated (~ 8-10 minutes).
  • Then add the pureed tomatoes, Parmigiano cheese rind, bay leaves, chili flakes, honey, ground black pepper.
  • Once the sauce has come to a simmer, reduce the heat to low.
  • Cover the pot, allowing for a small opening for steam to escape, and simmer for an hour and a half. Note: You'll want to give the sauce a gentle stir every once in a while to prevent burning on the bottom.
  • Add the cooked meatballs to the skillet, and allow the sauce to simmer another half hour or so. (The goal is to have the sauce's liquid reduced by about a third)
  • Before serving, gently mix the Dijon mustard into the sauce

  • To Serve
  • Cook a pound of dried spaghetti noodles, according to package directions, to a couple of minutes before it's al dente. Drain the noodles and transfer to a large pot.
  • Add enough sauce to generously cover the noodles. Cook for another 2 min until the sauce has coated all of the pasta.
  • Transfer to a serving plate with the meatballs on top.
  • Sprinkle the dish with chopped curly Italian parsley, and a generous amount of grated Parmigiano cheese.
  • Serve immediately