Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Spaghetti and Meatballs

I had been planning for the last day and a half to make the dish on the April cover of Food & Wine - spaghetti with pancetta, baby artichokes, and parmesan. But as I was doing my sit-ups yesterday I was watching Barefoot Contessa (just watching that show probably cancels out the sit-ups), and after watching her make spaghetti and meatballs and ice cream sodas I never looked back.

Her meatball recipe is pretty similar to the one I have used before, with one exception - she adds water to the meatballs to keep them extra moist. So I thought I would give it a try. I only bought a pound of meat since I was cooking for two. And I used my own sauce recipe but made it in a slightly different way.

1/2 lb. ground beef
1/4 lb. ground lamb
1/4 lb. ground veal
1 small egg, beaten
1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 Tbl. chopped parsley
1/3 cup water
salt and pepper

Gently combine all ingredients in a bowl and form into meatballs - I made mine a bit smaller so I got about 12.

Heat a saute pan with half canola oil and half olive oil - put enough in the pan so that it's about 1/8 to 1/4 inch deep. Brown the meatballs evenly for about 10 minutes total. Don't crowd them, if there's not enough room to fit them all without touching just do it in two batches.

Set the meatballs aside. They'll finish cooking in the sauce.

olive oil
1/2 white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 14 oz. can chopped Italian tomatoes
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 cup hot water
1 Tbl oregano
1/4 cup red wine

Use the same pan that the meatballs cooked in. If there's still a lot of oil in the pan, spoon some out but leave enough to saute the onions and garlic. Do NOT scrape the goodies out of the pan -

Those "goodies" - the leftover bits of meatball - will make the sauce taste good. Saute the onions and garlic in the pan, and when they are turning brown add the red wine. Let it reduce, and use it to loosen the stuff stuck to the pan - scrape it all loose. Add the rest of the ingredients, but add the water a bit at a time (you may not need the entire cup). Heat the sauce through, add the meatballs back to the pan, and cover and let cook for about 25-30 minutes. Serve over spaghetti.

The meatballs were great, and the sauce was good but I didn't let the wine reduce enough so I could taste it a little more than I should have...but it was very minimal. I also added some fresh basil on top, and of course more cheese.

And for dessert - ever since I watched an episode of Man vs. Food that was totally dedicated to dessert last week, I've had ice cream sundaes on the brain. He visited Franklin Fountain in Philadelphia (Amy - I'm so jealous you've been) and sampled several sundaes, including the Vesuvius - chocolate and vanilla ice cream, brownie pieces, malt powder, and of course hot fudge and whipped cream. I felt like I could taste it through the tv, it looked so amazing. I need to go there. We actually live just a couple blocks away from the Ghiradelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop and we were very close to going last night, but once Lost started...forget it. I ran down to the grocery store in our building and picked up vanilla Haagen Dazs, hot fudge sauce, and Reese's. But I do need to visit the Ghiradelli shop soon...

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