Thursday, February 12, 2009

Barefood Bloggers: Real Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti and meatballs is a classic Italian American favorite. I have my own recipe that I have posted on here . It actually has taken me a long time to perfect this recipe and I am finally quite happy with it.
Now I am a HUGE Ina Garten fan and there has not been a dish yet that I made that I wasn't happy with. However, this dish, I feel is more American than it is Italian. I was very determined to see what the difference in my recipe and Ina's was, so therefore, I followed the recipe exactly. (I did run out of red wine so I had to substitute with white wine. I also substituted whole wheat pasta instead of regular pasta) The combination of the 2 different types of breadcrumbs definitely created a different texture, more spongy than anything else. Now I do not think that this is necessarily a bad thing, it's just not what I am used to for meatballs. The three different meats did not change much of the flavor for me. I would rather stick to lean ground meat and save on the calories. The sauce was actually quite delicious, but again not traditional marinara.
All in all I have to say...I was very pleased with the dish...but I will stick to my recipe...Sorry Ina :)

For the meatballs:

1/2 pound ground veal
1/2 pound ground pork
1 pound ground beef
1 cup fresh white bread crumbs (4 slices, crusts removed)
1/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
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
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 extra-large egg, beaten
Vegetable oil
Olive oil

For the sauce:

1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup good red wine, such as Chianti
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, or plum tomatoes in puree, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For serving:

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

Place the ground meats, both bread crumbs, parsley, Parmesan, salt, pepper, nutmeg, 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. You will have 14 to 16 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.

*Look how gorgeous and brown they got on each side! This really makes a difference in flavor and texture!*

For 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 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 3 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.


Anonymous said...

Well, I think it looks great even if you didn't like it. I'm right there with you though... I prefer my own recipe (and I always use white instead of red wine.)


Suzie said...

I had the reverse experience - I definitely liked this better than my previous recipe. Yours does look delicious.

Peter M said...

Yep, Ina rocks....spag & meatballs are always welcome...nice one!

Natashya said...

I love Ina too - this one looks like it would lend itself well to lots of variations.
Gotta love spaghetti!

Cynthia's Blog said...

I really liked the meatballs, I am still on the lookout for a sauce.

Anonymous said...

I stuck with my recipe too ;-)

Kevin said...

Those meatballs are so big and thye look good!

Maria said...

I love the fresh basil on top! What a tasty meal!

Anonymous said...

I thought this recipe was really good. I know it would be hard to beat a favorite traditional Italian recipe, though!