The Pioneer Woman Tasty Kitchen
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Bucatini Bacon & Meatballs

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Prep:

Cook:

Level: Easy

System:

6

Description

It’s not just the same ol’ spaghetti and meatballs. This has bacon and bucatini. Bacon makes everything better and bucatini is more fun to twirl.

Ingredients

  • FOR THE MEATBALLS:
  • ½ cups Seasoned Bread Crumbs
  • ¼ cups Parmesan Cheese, Grated
  • 1 whole Egg Beaten
  • ¼ cups Fresh Parsley, Chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Coarse Salt
  • ¼ teaspoons Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  • ½ teaspoons Dried Oregano
  • 1-½ pound 85% Lean Ground Beef
  • FOR THE SAUCE:
  • 8 slices Bacon
  • 1 whole Medium Onion, Chopped (1 Should Yield About 1 Cup)
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Basil
  • ½ teaspoons Dried Thyme
  • ½ teaspoons Coarse Salt
  • ¼ teaspoons Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  • ½ cups Water
  • 2 cans Crushed Tomatoes, 28oz Each (Pastene Kitchen Ready If Available)
  • FOR THE PASTA:
  • 1 pound Bucatini, Or Pasta Of Choice
  • Reserved Bacon (4 Slices Worth)
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese, For Serving

Preparation

For the meatballs:
Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or tin foil.

Add all of the meatball ingredients, except for the beef, into a large bowl, stir well to combine. Gently fold in the beef with your clean, bare hands until well blended but do not over overwork the meat. Score the meat into quarters, divide each quarter into 3 equal sized sections. Use your hands to roll each section into golf ball-sized meatballs. Place meatballs on prepared pan. Bake 10 minutes on one side, flip over and bake another 10 minutes. (At 20 minutes total, meatballs will be nicely browned on both sides). Add the meatballs to the sauce at the simmering stage *(see below)

For the sauce:
Heat a Dutch oven, or a large heavy pot with lid, over medium heat. Cook the bacon for 8-10 minutes or until brown and crispy on both sides, flipping halfway through. Remove the bacon from the pan and drain on paper towels. Skim all but 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings from the pan and discard it (or use for another purpose).

Add the onion, garlic, oregano, basil, thyme, salt and pepper into the pan with the bacon drippings. Stir and cook until onions are soft and translucent, about 5-8 minutes.

Deglaze the pot with 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of the crushed tomatoes. Stir to release the browned bits from the bottom of the pan, and continue to stir and cook until the water has evaporated and the tomatoes have darkened in color (about 5 minutes).

Chop the bacon. Add half of the bacon, 4 slices worth (reserve the other half for later) and the remaining crushed tomatoes into the pot and stir well to combine. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low for a gentle simmer. Give it a quick taste-test to see if it’s seasoned enough for your liking. At this point, (*) add the meatballs and simmer everything for about 90 minutes, stirring occasionally. While simmering, keep the lid of the pot open just a crack to allow some of the steam to escape. Towards the end of the cook time, prepare the pasta.

For the pasta:
Prepare pasta per the instructions on the package. When done drain it.

Return the drained Bucatini back to the pot that you cooked it in, toss with 2 cups of the sauce and the remaining chopped bacon.

Serve the dressed pasta with the meatballs, additional sauce and grated Parmesan.

Recipe adapted from The Best Thing I Ever Made, via foodnetwork.com.

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