June 17, 2010

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti and meatballs is a classic recipe but one I don't find myself craving very often. So when the time struck I went in search of a recipe that would satisfy. One of the first places I look for recipes is on the food blog Smitten Kitchen. If you haven't already please check out one of my favorite blogs. This woman manages to be funny and interesting while pulling off food that looks effortless and beautiful despite her small NY kitchen and having a newborn in tow. So when I came across a spaghetti and meatball recipe on her site that was an incarnation of a Barefoot Contessa (also one of my faves) recipe, I looked no further. And I'm glad I didn't because this recipe was flawless, which was to be expected. We stretched this dish for three meals and I dare say I won't be craving spaghetti and meatballs for quite a while.

I went ahead and used her suggestion on increasing the amount of sauce you make. I also didn't use any veal and just did a combination of pork and beef since my local grocer didn't have veal available. I re-wrote the recipe as I made it.

Spaghetti and Meatballs
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

For the meatballs:
1 lb ground beef
1lb ground pork (I used the italian pork and I highly recommend this)
1 1/4 cups fresh white bread crumbs (about 5 slices, crusts removed)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 extra-large egg, beaten
Vegetable oil
Olive oil

For the sauce:
1 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 large yellow onion or 2 small ones, diced
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
Pinch or so of red pepper flakes
3/4 cup good red wine
1 (28-ounce) can pureed tomatoes
1 (14-ounce) can chopped or diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For serving:
1 1/2 pounds spaghetti, cooked according to package directions
Freshly grated Parmesan

Make the meatballs:
Place the ground meats, bread crumbs, parsley, Parmesan, salt, pepper, onion powder, 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.

Pour equal amounts of vegetable oil and olive oil into a large (12-inch) skillet to a depth 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.

Make the sauce:
Heat the olive oil in the same pan. Add the onion and saute over medium heat until translucent, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, 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 6 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, parsley, salt, and pepper.

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.




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