Pasta Primavera with Cilantro Meatballs

Pasta seems to always be a go-to for us. Mostly because it’s quick, easy, cheap, and we both love carbs. While there are so many great classic pasta dishes (pasta primavera being one of them) leave it to Ale to find a way to throw his own spin on it. Enter: Cilantro Meatballs!

I will be honest- when Alec told me he was going to be making meatballs that contains cilantro - I was very skeptical. I am one of those people who thinks cilantro is very blah and kinda tastes like soap. However I am now eating my words as I eat all the cilantro meatballs. These things are AMAZING.

Still not convinced? Don’t eat meat? No problem! This pasta primavera can hold it’s own with or without meat.



For Meatballs:

  • 1 TSP salt

  • 1 TSP pepper

  • 1/4 TSP cumin

  • 1/4 TSP smoked paprika

  • Dash of cinnamon

  • 1/3 of a sweet onion (finely diced)

  • 2 cloves garlic (finely diced)

  • 1 TBSP diced cilantro

  • 1/2 lb ground beef

  • 1 tsp olive oil

  • 2 oz pancetta

For Pasta:

  • 1 cup cooked corn

  • 1 cup cooked peas

  • 6 stalks of asparagus (thin sliced)

  • 1 cup matchstick carrots

  • 1 TBSP finely diced sun-dried tomatoes

  • 4 TBSP butter

  • 1 cup milk

  • 8 oz penne pasta

  • grated parmesan cheese (optional)

To create meatballs:

  1. In a small bowl combine all spices (salt, pepper, cumin, smoked paprika, and cinnamon) - set aside

  2. Finely dice up onions, garlic, and cilantro - add all three diced ingredient to a large bowl

  3. Add ground beef and 1 tsp olive oil

  4. Fold in the spice mixture

  5. Shape into 8 meatballs (golf ball sized)

  6. In a cast iron skillet or oven safe pan on medium heat, cook up pancetta for about 3 mins

  7. Carefully remove pancetta and place on paper towel lined plate - keeping the drippings in the pan

  8. Add meatballs to already hot pan of drippings and cook for 5-6 mins searing one side at a time - until fully cooked through. Set aside

  9. Place in oven to keep warm (170 degrees). Turn up heat to 350 for about 5 mins just before plating

To Create Pasta Primavera:

  1. Preheat the over to 350

  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil

  3. Prep the veggies by cutting up the asparagus and carrots into 1 inch matchsticks or julienne style. Also dice up the sun-dried tomatoes.

  4. In a large bowl toss together asparagus, carrots, sun-dried tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, plus a season of salt and pepper.

  5. Add mixture to an over-proof baking dish and cook for 10-15 minutes, until tender veggies become tender but still crisp

  6. In a large sauce pan over medium/low heat, melt butter until slightly brown. Turn heat down to low

  7. Gradually add in 1 cup milk and cook for 5-10 mins - until milk and butter combine to create a cream sauce

  8. Add penne to boiling water, cook, and drain

  9. Slowly add cooked pasta to the brown butter cream sauce

  10. Remove veggies from oven and mix together with cooked corn and peas

  11. Add all the veggies into the pasta

  12. Before shutting off oven - carefully place the cast iron skillet of meatballs into the oven so they are perfectly warmed for serving

  13. Top pasta off with meatballs, pancetta, and parmesan cheese

  14. Enjoy!