Sunday, February 9, 2014

Snow with Spaghetti and Meatballs

Last week, I said that according to Punxsutawny Phil, we're due for another 6 weeks of winter. Apparently, he was right. Mother Nature blessed us with snow last night. Oregon got far more snow, shutting down I-5 near Salem and creating driving havoc in Portland. We only got 3-4 inches and though it was powdery and sparkled like diamonds, I'm glad I didn't have to go out in it. And felt bad for dinner guests who did have to drive home in the snow.

The dinner included some old friends, some new friends, and a newly engaged couple (YAY!). And what could be better than spaghetti, garlic bread, salad, chocolate cake, and bubbly wine? Hmm ... I know: meatballs! They turned out really yummy. I'm including the recipe, but usually when I cook, I add this and that as my mood strikes me, so I'm recreating the following recipe from memory. And you should feel free to add a little more of this or a little less of that while keeping the proportions of ground meats, eggs, and bread crumbs the same. That will yield the correct texture for the meatballs.

Italian Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
Makes about 48 meatballs

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 pound ground pork
2 large eggs
1/3 cup finely shredded Parmesan, Romano, or Asiago cheese (or a blend of these)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt (the cheese is salty as is the tomato sauce, so be careful)
1/2 cup fine bread crumbs
1 cup lightly packed finely chopped fresh basil

  1. Thoroughly wash your hands - meatballs should be mixed and formed by hand
  2. In a large bowl, combine the beef and pork until well-blended
  3. In a small bowl, combine the eggs, cheese, pepper, and salt and mix well
  4. Add the egg mixture to the meat mixture and mix well
  5. Add bread crumbs and mix until well-blended
  6. Add the basil and mix lightly until well-blended
  7. Lightly form meatballs, about 1 - 1 1/2 inches in diameter; do not handle too firmly or they'll be dense and chewy
  8. In a frying pan, heat about 2 tablespoons olive oil and then add meatballs, a few at a time, and brown on all sides
  9. Drain browned meatballs on paper towels and then place in a large pan or pot with a little tomato sauce to finish cooking; simmer meatballs for about 30 minutes to complete their cooking and absorb the flavors of the sauce
  10. Serve meatballs and tomato sauce with cooked pasta; pass the cheese!
Tomato Sauce
Makes enough sauce for about 2 pounds dried pasta, cooked - freezes well

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced small
1 head roasted garlic
2 (29 ounce) cans tomato sauce
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes, mostly drained
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons dried oregano *
2 teaspoons dried basil *
* you may substitute several leaves of fresh oregano and/or basil
1/2 cup dry red wine
Optional: for a meat sauce, add browned and drained 1 1/2 pounds ground beef and/or Italian sausage and then serve meatballs on the side

  1. Saute onions in olive oil over low heat until soft and translucent - about 30 minutes 
  2. Add several cloves of roasted garlic that have been smashed and saute 2 minutes more
  3. Add tomato sauce and diced tomatoes; blend well
  4. Add sugar, red pepper, oregano, basil, and wine
  5. If making a meat sauce, add the cooked and drained meats
  6. Simmer for about 1 hour
  7. If using fresh basil or oregano, remove before serving

No comments:

Post a Comment