The flavors in this dish are amazing ~ a beautiful balance of herbs in both the meatballs and yellow bell pepper sauce give the dish a depth of flavor that’s memorable. Taking simple steps with the meatballs such as adding in cream and breadcrumbs prior to cooking ensures a moist, but toothsome meatball and roasting the peppers elevates their sweet and savory flavor and amplifies their bright yellow color. It’s these little things that will make people think you cooked for hours and hours.

This is a big recipe, We made 2″ meatballs for this recipe, which is a good size for serving 4-6 people. The end result was 18 meatballs, but if you wanted to make them smaller,  you would of course get more meatballs. 1″ meatballs would result in the perfect amount for service at a buffet hors d’oeuvre party you might be attending this season.


Herb Meatballs

  • 1/3 C fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 C organic heavy cream
  • 1 lb organic grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 lb organic grass-fed ground pork
  • 3/4 C onion, finely chopped
  • 3 T fresh garlic, minced (approximately 5 cloves)
  • 1/3 C shallot, minced (approximately 3 medium shallots)
  • 2 farm fresh organic eggs
  • 1/3 C organic parsley, chopped
  • 2 T fresh organic thyme, chopped
  • 1/2 T dried oregano
  • 1/2 T dried marjoram
  • 1 T fennel seeds
  • 1 T smoked paprika
  • 1-1/2 T Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 3 T extra virgin olive oil

In large bowl, combine breadcrumbs and cream and mix well. Let sit for about 10 minutes to soften breadcrumbs. To the sotftened breadcrumb mixture, add beef, pork, onion, garlic, shallot, eggs, parsley, thyme, oregano, marjoram, paprika, salt and pepper and mix until well incorporated. Line a sheet pan with parchment to hold meatballs after rolling. Hand roll meat mixture into even sized balls, 1 to 2 ” depending on how big you’d like them. With two pounds of meat, this will make a lot of small meatballs and a substantial number of bigger meatballs. In a large saute’ pan, add olive oil. In batches, brown meatballs on all sides, so slightly caramelized and brown. Place browned meatballs on a platter or sheet pan until orzo is ready.  Reserve oil from cooking meat and go to steps for preparing yellow bell pepper sauce.

Orzo with Savory Yellow Bell Pepper Sauce

  • 12 oz orzo, cooked al dente – cook according to directions
  • 3 large organic yellow bell peppers, cut in half and seeded
  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 T butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 C shallot, chopped (approximately 3 medium shallots)
  • 3 T fresh garlic, minced (approximately 5 cloves)
  • 1 T fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dry turmeric
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp fresh lemon zest
  • 1/2 C white wine
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 8 oz fresh smoked mozzarella, sliced

Cook orzo al dente according to directions. Make sure to not overcook because the orzo will get an additional cook when baked with meatballs. Over cooking will result in  mushy pasta. On a parchment lined sheet pans, place pepper halves skin side up under the broiler for 12 minutes until charred. Remove from oven and put in container with lid for 10 minutes to sweat the peppers. Once cooled slightly, peel the blackened skin off and toss peppers into a blender. Set aside. In the same pan that meatballs were cooked in, add additional olive oil, butter, onion and shallot and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, lemon zest and juice and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper,  Pour sauce over cooked orzo and mix well.  Place orzo in a dutch oven or on an oven proof platter. Top with slices of mozzarella and meatballs. Heat oven to 425. Place orzo and meatballs in oven uncovered for 15 minutes (cook time will vary slightly depending on size of meatballs you rolled. We made 2″ meatballs. If your meatballs are smaller, the time in oven will be a little less.) Finish platter with chopped parsley.

Serve with roasted vegetables (zucchini, cauliflower and carrots) or a green salad in a light vinaigrette.


  • Adding just a touch of turmeric to the sauce gives a little richer color to the orzo pasta.
  • The herbs we chose for this dish were perfect, but if you wanted to add in basil or rosemary or sage, we think that would be delicious as well.
  • Personally, I love smoked mozzarella and wanted to add that smokiness to this dish. It was good, but smoked mozzarella doesn’t melt as well as burrata or fresh mozzarella would. Next time I will use one of these to get a creamier result.