Sunday, February 15, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers - Real Spaghetti and Meatballs

Yes, this was supposed to be posted on Thursday and here it is Sunday, but I have a note from home.   Swear.

Actually I always knew it would be late because the BFF's were coming for dinner on Friday night and they were getting spaghetti and meatballs.  So that's my story.

Anyhoo, this is one of Ina's recipes that I have made many times in the past.....well, the meatball part anyway, but I had always made my own sauce.  I knew the meatballs were killer, but the recipe for the sauce just didn't sound that great.  I always bake the balls, so I thought I would be missing out on so much flavor without the pan juices mixed in.  But I wanted this to be as close to authentic as possible so I forged ahead with Ina's sauce.

As I said, these meatballs are delicious.....moist and very flavorful.  The only change I make to them is to substitute spicy Italian sausage for the ground veal.  I like that little extra heat in my balls  :)

Again, I refused to fry these babies.  Just the thought of the extra fat (these have more than enough already to keep them moist) makes me queasy.

Plus, they come out perfectly.

So, now we get to the sauce which calls for Chianti.  Um...not a Chianti fan.  There are much better wines coming out of Tuscany than Chianti, so I went with a Brunello....a great one that I would want to be drinking later!

I didn't have any fried meatball goodness to start with, so I threw in some olive oil, about a 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes and the rest of the ingredients and hoped for the best.

The only herb Ina called for was parsley which I didn't think would be enough so I added some chopped fresh basil and oregano. 

All-in-all it came out pretty good.  The BFF's gave the sauce a "7" and the meatballs a "10+" and I'd have to agree.

If  you already have a great sauce recipe that you love, then I'd use it and throw these meatballs in.  You'll be happy.

Here's the recipe:

Real Meatballs and Spaghetti
Copyright, 2002, Barefoot Contessa Family Style, All Rights Reserved


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.

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.

Thanks to Rebecca of Ezra Pound Cake for picking this weeks selection.  If you haven't read Rebecca's Blog, you should.  She's one of my daily reads.  

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