I was not really in the mood to cook today, but I knew it would't be wise to suggest eating out as we had pizza last night and I feel guilty not cooking 2 days in a row. Livy is at a sleepover and Henry has his friend Callum over for a sleepover and I know pasta would satisfy them since that is pretty much what they would prefer to eat 7 days a week, Henry's faux palio diet aside. While perusing my google reader I came across this interesting tasty looking recipe from Smitten Kitchen. So when it was decided on pasta I remembered I had about 1/3 of a pound of ground beef left from hamburgers Thursday night and decided to make my own version of Rigatoni with Little Meatballs.
For the meatballs I used the ground beef and the tiniest egg I had and some leftover artichoke roast garlic bread soaked in milk along with a grated garlic clove (I grate garlic cloves on my microplane grater) and a few grates of parmigiano reggiano. Pinched off pieces and rolled and dusted with flour and browned in my cast iron skillet heated with olive oil to cover. I removed them from pan and swiped the pan with a paper towel to remove any burnt pieces.
I opened a can of San Marzano tomatoes and scooped out the tomatoes leaving the liquid behind. I put the tomatoes in a roasting pan and sprinkled with olive oil, S & P. Put in a slow oven (350) to intensify and concentrate the flavor.
I added the meatballs back to the skillet with some olive oil, grated garlic cloves. I added the remaining liquid from the can of tomatoes and simmered covered till almost dry. The tomato sauce will become very concentrated. Add the roasted tomatoes to the sauce and reduce any remaining runny liquid.
While your sauce is cooking boil a box of rigatoni pasta. Drain the pasta into a colander and make a simple bechamel in your pot: Melt 3 Tablespoons of butter and add 3 Tablespoons of flour and S& P. Stir and cook about 2 minutes without browning. Slowly add 2 1/4 cups of milk (I used half whole and half nonfat). Whisk vigorously while adding. Bring to a boil stirring. Sauce will thicken. Lower heat and let simmer a few minutes to cook the flour. Remove from heat and whisk in a shake or grate of nutmeg and about 3/4 cup grated parmagiano reggiano.
Put rigatoni in a baking pan with meatballs and sauce. Cover with Bechamel. Bake in 400 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes until browed.