Acini Di Pepe with Beef Meatballs

Updated: Aug 6, 2019

It was an overcast, breezy, summer day and though it IS summer - I was craving comfort food as we near autumn. This was quite possibly the best summer of my life for varied reasons, and while I hate to see summer leave, sure love watching her go. You'll notice a wok in my photographs; I bought it recently at Aldi and do not know how I ever cooked well without one. Daily, it is on my stove and today was no exception, with a lid borrowed from another pot to trap moisture as I simmered a favorite brand of frozen meatballs. Yes, frozen - they're from Hyvee, {if you have that store near you} are in a blue bag and are our favorite. They're as good as my homemade ones so, I save time at the stove and buy these. Why not?

Of course I'd run out of dumpling-style noodles so, improvised with Acini Di Pepe pasta {you've seen it around in Italian Wedding Soup} and it was actually a fantastic substitute. There's a few photos from when I had this cooking, just below. Something I always do with store-bought gravy packets ... in the last few minutes the pasta {if I'm making any} is simmering, I add a ladel-full of pasta water to the thickened gravy and meatballs. Then I remove the lid and let it simmer as the pasta finishes and is drained, returned to the pot and a tablespoon of butter added to the pasta. By then, the gravy has thickened again and acquired a homemade taste it lacked without the pasta water. Anyway, the recipe is below the slideshow. Aside, my other table is all ready for the usual over-winter plants I bring in each autumn, and sitting empty. So I sat here instead for dinner quickly, wishing autumn would hurry a bit.

Even later, I'm in my office typing out this recipe feeling quite full. See, I added a fifth meatball to my portion after taking those photos. You know, I do it all so quickly with my phone, the photographs, because I seriously hate cold food that's meant to be smoldering. My children joke and say I like drinks and food screaming hot, hot like the center of the sun.



1 Bag Frozen Meatballs {I used 12 of the 24 meatballs today}

1 /2 Box of Acini Di Pepe Pasta, prepared by package directions with salted water

I Packet Brown Gravy Mix, prepared by package directions

A few tablespoons of water

1 Tablespoon of Butter

Salt and Pepper to taste


Set pasta water to boil according to package directions, salt the water. While that's going, start the next part.

This recipe was made in a wok, with a borrowed lid from another pot. You could just as well use a saute pan with a lid. I warmed the meatballs on medium heat, then added a few tablespoons of water, put the lid on and let them simmer this way, stirring occasionally till the pasta water boiled. After adding the pasta to its water I did the rest.

In a 2 cup Pyrex, I added the gravy packet contents to 1 cup of water and stirred it till smooth then, added it to the meatballs and replaced the lid after stirring. Once the gravy boiled, I turned the heat down a bit and let it simmer slowly as the pasta cooked, stirring both the wok and pasta pot contents occasionally.

When 3 minutes were left on the pasta timer, I took one ladle-full of pasta water and added it to the meatballs and gravy, stirred and left the wok lid off so it could simmer and thicken again. I also turned the wok heat back up a bit to get it simmering again. Then I finished the pasta and served it with meatballs and gravy.

#acinidipepe #meatballs #cooking #comfortfood #knosh