Pasta is, however, something I usually make about once a week. My husband loves the basic linguine or fettuccine and he's not too keen on other shapes or forms of pasta. The kids--like their mother--eat anything put in front of them. So--fortunately for us, unfortunately for him--the hubbie is outnumbered. And I'll often make anything from penne, to orechiette, tagliatelle, linguine, orzo, campanelle, cavatelli, fettuccine, farfalle or the versatile Greek egg pasta known as hilopites.
I often use hilopitakia (as the smallest of this egg-based pasta is usually called) with stewed chicken or beef but decided yesterday to serve them with soutzoukakia (Greek meatballs in tomato sauce).
I'm hoping to get a pasta attachment for my KitchenAid standmixer so I can start experimenting with making this versatile pasta myself as I'm pretty sure it makes quite a difference to cook with fresh homemade pasta as opposed to store bought. For now, however, Misko is my favorite source, specifically their line of region-specific pastas and the Hilopitakia Metsovou I used below.
I'm sending this dish straight to Ivy of Kopiaste as she is hosting this week's edition of the yummy Presto Pasta Nights, originally created by Ruth over at Once Upon a Feast. Kali Orexi!
Soutzoukakia me Hilopitakia
1 1/2 pounds ground beef/pork/veal combo
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon dried mint
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Small onion, grated
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 tablespoons olive oil
Small onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1 26.5-oz. box chopped tomatoes
2 teaspoons tomato paste, diluted in 1/2 cup water
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried Greek oregano
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 pound Hilopitakia (small square-shaped egg pasta)
In a large bowl combine first 8 ingredients and knead briefly to mix. Cover and refrigerate for about an hour (time permitting).
In a large skillet heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Form the meat mixture into small oblong-shaped portions and brown in skillet. Remove each batch of browned meatballs to a plate and cover to keep warm.
Once all the meatballs have been browned and removed, add remaining two tablespoons of olive oil to the same skillet and saute the chopped onion and garlic until the onion has softened (scraping up all those tasty brown bits). Stir in the crushed red pepper flakes and then add the chopped tomatoes. Bring to boil, add the tomato paste, broth, parsley, oregano salt and pepper and stir. Reduce heat and simmer for about five minutes. Add the meatballs back to the skillet and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes more.
Spoon meatballs and 1/2 to 3/4 of sauce into a platter and keep warm. Add the hilopitakia to the skillet along with some water and cook until tender (add additional water or broth as needed to cook pasta through). Serve with the cooked soutzoukakia and tomato sauce spooned over.