San Francisco chef Matthew Accarrino makes deliciously light meatballs with a combination of quinoa and breadcrumbs. He bakes the meatballs before simmering them in a vibrant tomato sauce along with kale. The end result: a healthy and deeply satisfying take on an Italian classic.
Slideshow:More Quinoa Recipes
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons each finely chopped basil, parsley, scallion and dill
QUINOA MEATBALLS :
2 large eggs
1/2 tablespoon whole milk
1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons fine dried breadcrumbs
1 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup fine semolina
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup dry white wine
One 28-ounce can whole tomatoes in juice (preferably San Marzano), tomatoes chopped and juices reserved
Pinch each of dried oregano and crushed red pepper
3 tablespoons chopped basil, plus more for garnish
1 small bunch of Tuscan kale (8 ounces), stemmed and chopped
How to Make It
Make the pilaf In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the quinoa and cook, stirring, until toasted, about 2 minutes. Add 2 cups of water along with the wine and salt and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat until the quinoa is tender and the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Spread the quinoa onto a large rimmed baking sheet to cool, then transfer to a medium bowl and stir in the herbs. Set aside 1 cup of the quinoa pilaf.
Make the quinoa meatballs Preheat the oven to 375°. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil and coat with baking spray. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with the milk, olive oil and 2/3 cup of water. Add the reserved 1 cup of quinoa pilaf along with the breadcrumbs, the 1 cup of Parmigiano, the semolina, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper and mix well. Form the mixture into twenty-six 1 1/2-inch meatballs, using about 1 tablespoon of the mixture for each. Transfer to the baking sheet. Bake the meatballs for 10 to 12 minutes, until browned on the bottoms, then turn and bake for 10 to 12 minutes longer, until browned all over.
Make the tomato sauce Meanwhile, in a medium enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the olive oil over moderate heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the wine and tomato juices and cook until the liquid is reduced by one-third, about 8 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes, oregano and crushed red pepper and simmer over moderately low heat for 20 minutes. Stir in the 3 tablespoons of chopped basil and season with salt and black pepper. Add the kale, cover and cook over moderately low heat until it begins to wilt, about 5 minutes. Add the meatballs to the casserole and simmer until the kale is tender and the meatballs are heated through, 10 to 15 minutes.
Spoon the quinoa pilaf into shallow bowls and top with the meatballs and sauce. Garnish with chopped basil and grated Parmigiano and serve.
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