Weekly Winner: A College Staple Graduates With Honors

IMG_1219.JPGThis weekend marks the start of the college football season — Go Buckeyes!!  As I begin to plan our Saturday game day menus and begin to subtly shift my food focus from summer to fall, I can’t help but reminisce about game days on campus at Ohio State.  It was not gourmet (barbecue potato chips and french onion dip).  It certainly wasn’t healthy (chicken wings, chili dogs and beer) but we certainly wouldn’t have traded it for anything.

While in school, I was admittedly not the gourmet cook.  There were a few things that I made from scratch – spaghetti and meatballs being one of them – but for the most part, I lived on frozen chicken patties, macaroni and cheese ….. and ramen noodles.  Who didn’t eat ramen noodles in college?  They are incredibly cheap, relatively instant, and pretty dang tasty!  Another college staple was Chinese takeout.  Again – quick, cheap and tasty.

So imagine my delight when searching for a Friday night pasta dinner recipe that would celebrate the start of College Football season.  What’s this?  Ramen Noodles and Meatballs?  Sounds promising.  What absolutely sealed the deal for me was that these meatballs are made out of pork and have a definite Asian flair.  I certainly was not disappointed.  If you like spaghetti and meatballs, and you like pot stickers — and you are not afraid of combining the two — try this recipe!  I believe it comes from Cuisine at Home.  It’s a college flash back all gussied up and ready for the real world.

Ramen Noodles & Meatballs


For the Meatballs:

1 egg

½ cup panko bread crumbs

2 scallions, trimmed and minced

2 Tbsp minced fresh ginger

1 Tbsp soy sauce

1 Tbsp mirin

1 tsp kosher salt

½ tsp sugar

1 lb ground pork

2 ice cubes

For the Sauce:

2 Tbsp sesame oil

1 bunch scallion whites, trimmed and minced

2 Tbsp each grated fresh garlic and ginger

2 cans diced tomatoes, drained (14.5 oz each)

2 cups low-sodium beef stock

¼ cup soy sauce

1 Tbsp mirin

2 tsp chili garlic sauce

3 pkg dry ramen noodles, seasoning packets discarded (3 oz each)

Sliced scallion greens


For the meatballs, combine egg, panko, 2 scallions, minced ginger, soy sauce, mirin, salt and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer; add pork and ice.

Cover bowl of mixer with plastic wrap and beat pork mixture with the paddle attachment on medium speed until mixture starts coming together and looks pasty, 1 minute. Discard ice cubes. Scoop meatballs with a #30 scoop (2 Tbsp) onto a baking sheet. Chill while preparing ingredients for the sauce.

For the sauce, sear the meatballs in oil in a large sauté pan over high heat until brown on both sides, 5-6 minutes; transfer to a plate. Reduce heat to medium. Add scallion whites, garlic and grated ginger and cook, stirring constantly for 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, beef stock, soy sauce, mirin and chili garlic sauce. Add meatballs and any residual juices on plate; simmer, covered, until meatballs are cooked through, about 12 minutes. Transfer meatballs to a serving dish, cover to keep warm.

Cook ramen noodles as directed (about 3 minutes in boiling water), drain. Toss ramen noodles with sauce and serve with meatballs. Garnish with sliced scallion greens.



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