How to make cheesy bucatini pie with mini meatballs

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Bucatini is a long, spaghetti-like pasta with a hole through the center. It also happens to be the perfect pasta shape for a delicious, Italian-inspired pasta pie. This pie is created entirely with bucatini noodles held together by little more than melted cheese — so what's not to like? Paired with handmade mini meatballs, it makes for a hearty, filling Italian meal.
The recipe below is divided into two sections: the pasta pie and the mini meatballs. Tips: Prepare your bucatini, fresh or dried, according to the packaging before getting started. To avoid tough, rubbery meatballs, don't over mix the ground beef.
Cooktop Cove
Cheesy bucatini pie with mini meatballs
30 mins
1 hour
1 hour 30 minutes
For the pasta pie:
1 pound bucatini pasta, cooked
Three large eggs, beaten
8 ounces grated fontina cheese
8 ounces grated provolone cheese
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 1/4 cup milk
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Basil leaves (for garnish)
For mini meatballs:
1 pound 80/20 ground beef
1/3 cup grated pecorino cheese
One egg, beaten
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
28 ounces can crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup diced yellow onion
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon oregano
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
To prepare the pasta pie: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease the inside of a 9-inch springform pan, and set it aside.
In a large bowl, combine the eggs, milk, salt, pepper, pasta, Parmesan, and nearly all of the fontina and provolone cheeses. Reserve some for the topping.
Pour the pasta mixture into the springform pan, smoothing out the top. Cover with remaining fontina and provolone cheeses.
Bake until the top is golden brown and set, about 40 to 45 minutes. While the pie is baking, make the mini meatballs.
To prepare the mini meatballs: In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, egg, breadcrumbs, pecorino cheese, garlic, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Mix until fully incorporated.
Using spoons or your hands, form and roll out individual mini meatballs, about 1/2 inch in diameter. Keep the size consistent to ensure even cooking.
Add the olive oil to a large skillet, and heat it on a medium-high setting.
Place the meatballs in the skillet, and cook them until they browned on all sides and cooked through. Remove the meatballs, and set them aside.
Add the onion to the skillet, and cook it down until it's soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes and Italian seasoning. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and let it simmer.
Heat a small saucepan over medium-high heat, and add the butter. Make a brown butter by melting and whisking frequently for about 35 minutes.
Pour the browned butter into the tomato mixture. Cover the skillet, and allow it to cook over medium heat for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, reduce heat to medium-low, and place the cooked meatballs back in the tomato sauce mixture. Simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes.
Slice and serve surrounded by mini meatballs and covered in sauce. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley or grated Parmesan (optional).
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