Spaghetti and meatballs

After saying since the onset of winter i would cook up an awesome dinner of spaghetti and meatballs, it’s now February and i still haven’t got round to it! But today that all changed!

This is an epicurious recipe which i tweaked a little to suit my own tastes. Firstly,  halved the ingredients and instead of veal mince i used 1 pound beef mince, 1 pound pork mince and 2 Italian sausages. I also found my cloves of garlic to be quite small so ended up using at least 10 in the sauce and probably 10 again in the meatballs.

To the sauce i added some oregano, thyme and basil and allowed it to simmer for at least an hour until the tomato had reduced to a third or a half of the original volume.

In terms of cooking the meatballs i ended up baking them for 20-25 minutes in a 350 degree oven and then added them to the sauce and heated everything up together for half an hour. The mix seemed a little runny so i think this allowed them to keep there shape a little better than if they had of been simmering in the sauce.

I served them with fresh egg pasta and the Parmigiano-Reggiano and we had HEAPS left over. They made great sliders with melted Gruyere, some baby spinach and the tomato sauce dolloped on top the next day!

Ingredients

For tomato sauce:

  • 6 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes in juice (preferably San Marzano)
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped

For meatballs:

  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 10 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 cups torn day-old Italian bread
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1/4 pound)
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped oregano or 1 teaspoon dried, crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground veal (or Italian sausage, which i used because my butcher didn’t stock veal mince!)
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground pork
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef (not lean)
  • 1 cup olive or vegetable oil

For pasta:

  • 2 pounds dried spaghetti
  • Accompaniment: grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Preperation:

Make sauce:
Drain tomatoes, reserving juice in a large bowl. Crush tomatoes with your hands and add to juice.

Cook onions in oil in pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes with their juice, 4 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Simmer sauce, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Season with salt.

Make meatballs while sauce simmers:
Cook onions in extra-virgin olive oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl to cool.

Soak bread in milk in another bowl until soft, about 5 minutes. Firmly squeeze bread to remove excess milk, discarding milk.

Stir together cooled onion mixture, bread, eggs, parmesan, parsley, oregano, lemon zest, 51/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoon pepper until combined. Add meats to bread mixture, gently mixing with your hands until just combined (do not overmix).

Form meat mixture into about 70 (1 1/2-inch) balls with dampened hands, arranging meatballs on 2 large baking sheets or in shallow baking pans.

Heat olive or vegetable oil (1 cup) in a 12-inch heavy skillet (preferably nonstick) over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown meatballs in 4 or 5 batches (without crowding), turning frequently, about 5 minutes per batch. Return to baking sheets.

Add meatballs to sauce and gently simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, 20 to 30 minutes. (If pot is not large enough, divide meatballs and sauce between 2 pots.)

Prepare pasta:
Cook spaghetti in 2 batches in pasta insert in boiling salted water (3 tablespoon salt for 6 qt water) until just al dente, draining and tossing each batch with some of sauce in a large serving dish.

Serve with meatballs, remaining sauce, and grated cheese.

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Comments
One Response to “Spaghetti and meatballs”
  1. Justin Vallejo says:

    As the beneficiary of said meatballs, may I just say they were spectacular and just as good the day after, and the day after that!

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