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Italian Veal Balls with Oven-Dried Grapes

No recipe image available.Tender, Italian-style veal balls simmered in a savory basil-mint tomato sauce with mushrooms, bell pepper and dried grapes, served over spaghettini pasta.

Recipe Ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried mint
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
8 ounces lean ground veal
2 tablespoons fine dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons milk
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
4 teaspoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley - divided use
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 cup seedless red grapes, oven-dried*
1 (10-ounce) can button mushrooms, drained
1 small green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 (16-ounce) package spaghettini, cooked according to package directions

Cooking Directions:

  1. In a large, heavy skillet over low heat, slowly heat oil, garlic, basil, mint, oregano, red pepper flakes and black pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until garlic is golden. Don't let garlic burn, or sauce will be bitter.
  2. Turn heat to medium-high and add tomatoes and tomato paste. Pour water into tomato paste can and add to mixture. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Meanwhile, combine veal, bread crumbs, milk, egg white, one-fourth of the parsley, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Shape into small balls, about 1/2-inch in diameter. Spray a nonstick skillet with vegetable cooking spray and brown meatballs over medium-high heat, turning to brown evenly (give the pan a good shake to turn meatballs nicely). Drain off any fat.
  4. To the sauce, add remaining parsley, sugar, dried grapes, mushrooms, bell pepper and meatballs; continue to simmer, uncovered, for an additional 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve over hot pasta.

Makes 6 servings.

*Make oven-dried grapes the day before you will be using them. Wash grapes, dry and place in a 200°F (approximately 95°C) oven for 6 hours. You don't want them dried and pliable like a sun-dried tomato; the grapes should still be a little soft in the center. One cup of fresh grapes yields 1/2 cup dried grapes.

Recipe source unknown.