Sunday, January 4, 2009


I believe in the symbolism of eating things on New Year's Day that look like coins. So, after enjoying a bowl of lentil soup for lunch, I made spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. I use a combination of my mother's recipe and a recipe from Nigella Bites. I had to adopt my mum's recipe to the reality of LA, where there is not the same Italian population, so you can't buy the ground "meatball mix" of beef, pork and veal. I also don't fry them like she does, instead, I make my meatballs small (about a teaspoon size) so they can poach in the sauce. That's easier than standing over the stove frying for a long time. I use Nigella's sauce, because it's pretty easy. I think you could probably get away with using bottled marinara too - but I think this sauce is so easy, and you can adjust the spice in the sauce to match/compliment how spicy you make the meatballs.
Meatballs (from Mum and Nigella)
1 lb ground beef (don't use low fat - I like 20% fat)
1 lb uncooked pork sausage with casing removed (I like using hot Italian sausage because it adds a lot of flavor)
1 egg
2 TBS grated parmesan (I eyeball this, and I think it would not work with canned parm, you need a little moisture)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
3 TBS breadcrumbs (I tend to omit this, but add it sometimes. I can't tell if it makes a difference!)
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt. If you are using sausage instead of plain ground pork, you probably don't need this.
Mix everything in bowl with hands (it is sticky, but it doesn't work as well mixing with a spoon!) Shape into small balls (about the size of a rounded teaspoon). Place the meatballs on baking sheets and cover with plastic wrap. Place into refridgerator until ready to use. I think the chilling step also helps the meatballs firm up so they don't fall apart when cooking.
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tbs unsalted butter
1 tbs olive oil (the kind you use for cooking - not the fancy stuff for salad dressing or bread)
24 oz canned crushed tomatoes (I can only find 28 oz cans, and they work just fine)
3/4 c. water
pinch sugar (I just toss in a sugar cube, and sometimes I forget - this isn't critical)
salt and pepper
1/3 c. plus 1 tbs whole milk
1. Mince onion and garlic. Heat butter and oil in deep saucepan (use a BIG pan) then cook the onion and garlic over medium/low heat for about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and water with the sugar, salt and pepper. Cook 10 minutes.
2. Stir in milk, then drop in tomatoes one at a time. DO NOT STIR after adding meatballs - you will end up with meat sauce, not meatballs and sauce. Cook everything for 20 minutes partially covered. (I cook them longer - about 40 minutes because you can't overcook them, and that way you can do other stuff around the house or not eat right away).
3. This makes a lot of sauce and meatballs, and it freezes really well. It does take a couple hours, but it certainly isn't difficult, makes your house smell delicious and is delicious!
4. Note - My mum thinks veal is necessary to meatballs. I am a little weirded out by it, so I don't use it, but if you like, you could add some veal in there to replace some of the beef or pork.

No comments:

Post a Comment