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Walnut and Cranberry 'Meatballs' with Mushroom and Sage Pasta
EVETTE RIOS - MAM: Cranberry Sauce + Walnut and Cheese "Meatballs" + Ricotta Pancakes + Pumpkin Empanadas
Nathan Congleton / TODAY
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4.125 (8 rated)
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The "meatballs" are super fun to make and are a great thing to get the kids helping in the kitchen! Also, the touch of sweetness from the cranberry sauce rounds out any dish you serve them with.

Technique tip: Frying sage is a perfect garnish for this dish. Make sure your sage is completely dry before frying and fry quickly and at a high heat. Each leaf only takes 5-7 seconds to fry. Salt them with a bit of sea salt as soon as they come out of the oil

Swap option: To bind the meatballs together you can use crackers. I like to use buttery crackers but you can also use stale bread or homemade breadcrumbs.


  • Walnut "Meatballs"

    • 1 cup walnuts
    • 1 cup breadcrumbs
    • 3/4 cup grated white cheddar cheese
    • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
    • 1 cup cracker crumbs
    • 1 teaspoon sage
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 onion, finely chopped
    • 1/4 cup cranberry sauce
  • Mushroom and Sage Pasta

    • Extra virgin olive oil
    • 8 ounces dried short-cut pasta, such as farfalle
    • 1/4 cup fresh sage leaves
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 1 pound mushrooms, such as cremini, shitake, oyster or chanterelles
    • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
    • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/2 cup half and half or heavy cream
    • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
    • Shaved Parmesan or Romano cheese, for serving


For the walnut "meatballs":

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. Combine all of the above ingredients in a bowl and shape into small meatballs about the size of a golf ball.

3. Place the formed "meatballs" on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.

For the mushroom and sage pasta:

1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta and cook according to package instructions, undercooking the pasta by 1-2 minutes. Drain, reserving about a cup of the cooking liquid.

2. Meanwhile, add another tablespoon olive oil to the skillet and add the sage. Once the sage is crisp, remove from the pan and set aside on a plate.

3. Add 2 tablespoons butter to the skillet and cook the mushrooms until caramelized, along with the fresh thyme. Add the garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 3 minutes. Add the half and half, along with the pasta, walnut "meatballs" and parsley. If the sauce needs to be loosened up a bit, add a bit of the reserved pasta water until you reach the desired consistency.

To serve:

Transfer to a serving bowl and top with the crispy sage, walnuts and cheese.

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Meal-prep recipes: Use cranberry sauce for meatless meatballs, pancakes

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