Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Meatballs

I have an almost childlike love of meatballs. There is something nostalgic about them as though the sound of them along with spaghetti meant that dinner was going to be a treat.  I still feel like that.  I don't make them very often, although why exactly, I'm not sure.  But when I do, everyone gets excited.  These meatballs are not the cardboard, tasteless memories of your childhood.  They are flavorful, delicious and moist.  You have the option to either fry them before you put them in the sauce, as is traditionally done, or you can just lay them in the sauce and let them cook which will give you the most delicious pasta sauce ever.  I would also encourage you to be a little adventurous with them.  Traditionally they are served with spaghetti, but recently we also had them with pasta sheets (lasagna noodles).  I made just a few noodles and placed them on the bottom of a pasta bowl and served them with a few meatballs and pasta sauce poured over top.  It was lovely.  They are also delicious on their own with some crusty bread and a salad.  You can reserve these for a special supper, but you really don't have to.  And yes, every time I make them the kids start singing "On top of Old Smoky" Just try to get that out of your head now : )

Mama's Meatballs
Adapted From David Rocco's Dolce Vita

1 lb lean ground beef 
or
1/2 lb lean ground beef and 1/2 lb ground pork
handful of bread crumbs
1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1/4-1/2 cup chopped pine nuts (optional)
1 egg (beaten)
1 handful of fresh chopped flat leaf parsley
5-6 big basil leaves chopped
salt and pepper to taste

In a big bowl, combine all ingredients.  Get your hands in there and make sure that all of the ingredients are incorporated with the meat.   Take a small amount of meat, about the size of a golf ball and roll between your hands to make little balls.  Place on a plate until you are ready to put them in the sauce.  If you are making these ahead of time, just cover with Saran wrap and place in the fridge up to one day ahead of cooking.   

 Many people like to fry their meatballs before putting them in the sauce.  To do this, heat up your skillet to medium/high heat and add a little olive oil.  Take each meatball and place in the pan, flattening it slightly so that it cooks evenly.  Cook on each side a few minutes until nicely browned.  Now add to your sauce.

I like to add my meatballs to the sauce raw.  This way they flavor the sauce and make everything super delicious.  





Simple Sauce

Extra virgin olive oil a good glug or two
1 medium to large onion diced
2 cloves garlic minced
1 bottle of Passata (strained tomatoes)
1 can whole tomatoes, blended or crushed with your hands (depending on how chunky you like your sauce).
Salt to taste.

Heat the olive oil in a large sauce pan or dutch oven on medium heat.  Once the oil shimmers, add the onions and saute slowly until they are a golden colour, but not dark.  Add the garlic, salt and tomatoes.  Bring to a simmer and add the meatballs.  Allow this to cook for 1 hour and serve with your favorite pasta and freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano on top.  I realize that the first picture has way too much parsley on top, I don't know what happened there.  I am a cook more than a food stylist so I guess I was just hungry and ready to eat. You don't need to use that much, but it is really nice with the meatballs.



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