May 14, 2009

Real spaghetti and meatballs

I would really love to be a good cook AND a good baker, but they are such different animals. The best cooks don't follow any recipe while a good baker follows the recipe to the t. I think I'm a better baker because of it, it's like a science experiment. Everything is very exact...while for cooking..there's so much leeway. It's just really hard for me.

I hate when a recipe tells me add something to your taste. I can tell you when something doesn't taste quite right, but I can't tell you what it needs. I am surrounded by great mom and dad are amazing in the kitchen, and so is my sister..but me..I have more failures than success. Things seem to always taste just okay...maybe practice?!

So here's my attempt to cook more often. Maybe you'll be seeing more savory posts from now on. Anyway..on to the spaghetti and meatballs. This recipe is from Ina Garten. I have been craving spaghetti and meatballs..don't know why as I'm not too much of a beef eater. This recipe looks the most promising and I didn't really need to pick up too many ingredients.

My was good. I think next time I will make the meatballs a little smaller. They were quite big and it was hard for me to eat such a big chunk of meat. I thought the tomato sauce was really good. It was so much more flavorful than a plain tomato sauce. It must be because it was simmering with the meatballs. who knows? Here's the recipe:

Real meatballs and spaghetti
from Barefoot Contessa family style
Serves 6
total time: 2.5 hours

For the meatballs:
1 lb ground pork (see note)
1 lb ground beef
1 cup fresh white bread crumbs (4 slices, crusts removed)
1/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
2 tbsp chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 extra large egg, beaten
vegetable oil
olive oil

For the sauce:
1 tbsp good olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 cup good red wine, such as Chianti
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

for serving:
1 lb spaghetti (see note)
freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Place the ground meats, both bread crumbs, parsley, Parmesan, salt, pepper, nutmeg, egg and 3/4 cup warm water in a bowl. Combine very lightly with a fork. Using your hands, lightly form the mixture into 2 inch meatballs. You will have 14 to 16 meatballs. (see note)

2. Pour equal amounts of vegetable oil and olive oil in a large skillet to a dept of 1/4 inch. Heat the oil. Very carefully, in batches, place the meatballs in the oil and brown them well on all sides over medium low heat, turning carefully with a spatula or a fork. This should take about 10 minutes for each batch. Don’t crowd the meatballs. Remove the meatballs to a plate covered with paper towels. Discard the oil but don’t clean the pan.

3. For the sauce, heat the olive oil in the same pan. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until translucent, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the wine and cook on high heat, scraping up all the brown bits in the pan, until almost all the liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, parsley, salt and pepper.

4. Return the meatballs to the sauce, cover, and simmer on the lowest heat for 25 to 30 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through. Serve hot on cooked spaghetti and pass the grated Parmesan cheese.

  • *Don’t use oil in the spaghetti when cooking it, the sauce will stick better.

  • *The original recipe calls for 1/2 lb of ground veal and 1/2 lb of ground pork. I used 1 lb of ground pork.

  • *I was able to make 20 meatballs from the recipe. I think I will make 30 meatballs next time so that they're bite size.

  • *Original recipe says to use 1 1/2 lb of spaghetti. I only used 1 lb because we like lots of sauce in this family.



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