Spaghetti and Meatballs

  • Downhome Magazine
  • Posted: Nov 30, -0001 12:00 AM
July 8, 2011

Spaghetti and meatballs might not be very "east coast" but find me a household that doesn't love this Italian favorite and I'll eat my lobster trap. This recipe is very Italian as it uses sweet San Marzano tomatoes, lots of fresh Italian herbs and a combination of ground beef, veal and pork for the meatballs. Throw in some Parmesan and mozzarella cheese and you'll think you you've been transported to Napoli!



Neapolitan Marinara Sauce

The best Italian dishes are the simple ones, highlighting the flavors of good quality ingredients. This marinara sauce is so easy, you'll never pick up a bottle of the store-bought stuff again. The keys to this sauce are  the San Marzano tomatoes (which grow in the rich volcanic soils around Mt. Vesuvius in Italy), the fresh basil and the long, slow cooking. While San Marzano tomatoes are pricier than your average canned tomatoes, the quality and taste are unprecedented. You're still making a big pot of sauce for just over $6 so don't be cheap over the tomatoes.

Ingredients:
2 (28 ounce) cans of San Marzano tomatoes, squeezed in your fingers
1 small onion, minced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
pinch of dried hot chili flakes
salt and pepper
fresh basil leaves, chopped

In a large sauce pan, or better yet a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the onions. Cook until they become soft and translucent, 2-3 minutes and add the garlic and chili flakes, and season with a little salt and pepper. Next add the tomatoes one at a time, squeezing them between your fingers as you drop them in the pot. This is very Italian! Once all the tomatoes are in there, add about half of your herbs and bring to a low simmer. Cover and cook at a low simmer for about an hour. Before serving add the remaining fresh herbs and taste for salt and pepper.

To make the absolute best spaghetti, and avoid getting a watery pool at the bottom of your plate, boil your pasta according to the package but remove when it is just under cooked slightly. Add enough sauce for the spaghetti (this works well in small portions) to a skillet and combine with the spaghetti and a little of the starchy pasta water (again, very Italian). Cook the spaghetti in the sauce until it it clings to the pasta and the spaghetti is al dente. Using tongs, plate the spaghetti and sauce on your plate and surround with meatballs. Top with more fresh herbs and grated cheese.

Moma mia!  bon apetito

Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs



Ingredients:
3 pounds of meatloaf mix (or 1 pound each of ground beef, veal and pork)
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
1/2 medium onion, minced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp each of fresh parsley, basil and oregano chopped
1/2 tsp hot chili flakes
1 tsp each of salt and pepper
fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes

Add all the ingredients except for the mozzarella into a large bowl. Take off your rings and watch, wash your hands and get in there, mixing everything together well. Pinch off pieces of the mixture that area bit bigger than a golf ball (but smaller than a tennis ball). Working quickly, slightly flatten the ball into a patty and place a cube of mozzarella in the center. Next form the meat mixture around the cheese cube and form a rough ball. Pat it around between your palms so you have a perfectly round meatball. Lay down and keep the process going. While you can bake the meatballs off, I prefer to give them a sear on all side in a hot skillet with a little olive oil.You don't have to cook them all the way through as I like to finish the cooking by dropping the meatballs into the marinara sauce to finish. You can also finish them in a hot oven.


Read more here:
http://awickedscoff.blogspot.com/

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About Me...The Wicked Newfoundlander
I'm originally from Newfoundland, Canada, and very proud of it! I moved to upstate New York in 2007, and I spend much of my time working and playing throughout New England. Besides my wife, our dog and hockey, I'm passionate about food. I love to cook and create great tasting food. I also love tasting and critiquing food, and comparing regional cuisine (notably Newfoundland and New England dishes).