Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Hatch Chili Meatballs and Pesto

I love the excitement that hatch chili season creates. If you factor in food bloggers to the situation, excitement increases ten fold. The bloggers threw a hatch chili-themed potluck last month which I was so excited for. The first thing that came to my head was meatballs, so I just went with it.

My roommates were kind enough to be my taste testers. Good thing! The original recipe used sweet Italian sausage instead of hot, and there was less spice. It was a bit bland, so I kicked it up for the bloggers. When it's not hatch season, try this recipe with an assortment of peppers for a slightly different flavor.

Hatch Chili Meatballs and Pesto

5 hatch chilis, stemmed, seeded and diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 sweet onion, diced
1 pound hot Italian sausage
1 pound lean ground sirloin
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup plain breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste

4 hatch chilis, roasted, stemmed and partially seeded
1 red bell pepper, roasted, stemmed and seeded
4 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons almonds
3 tablespoons pecan pieces
2 cups fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/3 cup Manchego cheese, shredded
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

24 ounces spaghetti
Additional shredded Manchego cheese

For the meatballs, preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine first 5 ingredients (through sirloin) thoroughly with your hands. Mix in all other ingredients until combined. Form into 1 inch balls and place on greased baking sheet. You should get 3-4 dozen. Bake for about 30 minutes.

While meatballs are cooking, make pesto. In a food processor, add peppers and garlic; pulse. Add nuts and pulse again. Add in cilantro, lime juice and cheese; pulse. Season and pulse once again. With processor running, stream in olive oil until you reach your desired consistency. Serve as a topping to cooked spaghetti, meatballs and with additional Manchego cheese as needed.

On a recent trip home I picked up one of my childhood favorite books- Strega Nona. Long story short, Strega Nona has this awesome pasta pot that she can make as much pasta as she wants. She goes out of town, and silly Anthony tries to use it and ends up flooding the entire village with pasta! Thankfully we didn't have that problem at dinner, but my roommates did enjoy story hour :)


Nicole said...

These sound delicious! I'm so sad I didn't get to go to the potluck to taste them! And I the hatch festival is over, which means I'll have to wait til next year! :(

Lundy said...

ummm, YUM. I'm so jealous of your amazingness.