Wednesday, May 24, 2006

There's Just Something about this Pair!

Unless you've been a vegetarian from birth, it is quite likely that you have at some point in your life tasted meatballs with noodles or pasta. Meatballs made from ground meat (pork, beef, lamb or a combination of sorts) can be found in various world cuisines, fried, baked, stewed, braised or steamed. One of the fastest ways to use up leftover meat, I love rolling up spoonfuls of minced pork mixture into little round balls before dropping them into a vegetable or chicken broth for a quick meal.
There's just something about this pair!
Another favourite result of the rolling hand exercises is that of meatballs cooked in tomato sauce and served with spaghetti. This particular recipe, which incorporates grated cheese and white bread moistened with milk into the ground meat, creates moist meatballs full of flavors, a far cry from some of the dryer 'bounce-off-the-wall' versions served up in some places.
  • Heat up 1/4 cup of milk in a small saucepan over low heat until warm. Remove from fire and soak a slice of day-old white bread (crust removed) in the milk until milk is more or less absorbed. After it has cooled down slightly, squeeze out the excess milk from the bread and discard the milk. Chop up the bread (don' fret if you end up with a soggy gooey white paste).
  • Add the bread to 250g of ground pork, 250g of ground beef, 1/3 cup of freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese, 1 tablespoon of finely chopped shallots, 1 egg, 2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh Italian flat-leafed parsley (or if unavailable, fresh coriander leaves are a good substitute), 1/4 teaspoon of dried marjoram (or Italian herbs), a bit of oil, ground black pepper and salt. Mix until combined.
  • Roll a heaped tablespoon of the meat mixture into 1-inch balls or slightly bigger.
  • To make the tomato sauce: put in blender 2 cans (14 oz-can) of whole peeled tomatoes and pulse until crushed and smooth. Add 2 cloves of minced garlic and 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes (this last ingredient is so very important for that extra kick in the sauce) into 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan and heat over medium fire. When oil starts bubbling around the garlic, add the crushed tomatoes and a bit of salt. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or so.
  • Add the meatballs into the simmering tomato sauce to cook them over a slow fire. After 5 minutes or so, stir the sauce and the meatballs (gentle stirring so as not to break up the tender meatballs). Simmer for another 5 minutes or so until the meatballs are cooked.
  • Serve over cooked al dente spaghetti with extra grated cheese on top. Grab a fork and start twirling that pasta.
  • Recipe should make enough for about 3 persons (for a main course) or up to 5 persons (as a starter).
A lot of meatball recipes use breadcrumbs in the meatball mixture and they bake the meatballs until cooked. When I first followed this recipe, I was a little apprehensive about the soaked bread in meat mixture and the slow braising in the tomato sauce, but both are surprisingly good for maintaining the moisture in the meatballs.

And so, with a glass of red wine in hand and Andrea Bocelli's Sogno CD playing in the background, we're ready to toast to a wonderful pair (meatballs and spaghetti) and more easy-going meals such as this!

14 Comments:

Anonymous Tanna said...

Your blog is beautiful. I'll be returning soon to really spend some time on the past entries. Glourious pictures!

5/24/2006 05:52:00 AM  
Blogger Audrey Cooks said...

I'll say great effect on this photo shot. Gives a real artistic flair to it. Now the meatball pasta is one notch higher than all the rest!

5/24/2006 01:27:00 PM  
Blogger eatzycath said...

hi tanna and welcome to my blog...really look forward to your future visits, just dropped by your site and have espied some really interesting recipes on it, your scones look really good :)

thanks, audrey.. so glad you like the effects!

5/24/2006 10:54:00 PM  
Anonymous slurp! said...

wow! going artistic with brushes & masks :)
soaked bread certainly sounds interesting.
i'm wondering if method goes well with burger patties.

btw, what red wine you paired with for this meal?

5/24/2006 10:57:00 PM  
Blogger boo_licious said...

ooooh, I must show bf this as he loves meatballs. I've tried simmering them before in the tomato broth and it's really nice and tender plus healthy too.

5/25/2006 09:18:00 PM  
Blogger fooDcrazEE said...

WISH MY WIFE CAN COOK AS WELL.

5/27/2006 01:28:00 PM  
Blogger Godknows said...

I have some vegetarian friends and i will cook this for them when i get back Hanoi. Thanks alot for the great recipe.

5/27/2006 06:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Clare Eats said...

looooovvvveee meatballs!

5/29/2006 12:50:00 PM  
Blogger babe_kl said...

hmmm yummy yummy... lurve them!

5/29/2006 03:05:00 PM  
Blogger the cook without an oven said...

wow... certainly a must try recipe for me :) thanks!

5/30/2006 04:52:00 PM  
Blogger eatzycath said...

slurp!...soaked bread may well work in burger patties too, gotta try it one day.. if I remember correctly, it was a cabernet sauvignon from Matthew Lang, not too bad!

boo_licious... there's also something about 'men and meatballs' pairing.. my hubby loves them too, wonder if it's something to do with that stabbing motion into the meatballs????

foodcrazee... if I remember from your previous posts, she's not too bad a cook either (her pig stomach soup quite A1-leh), and anyway, with your kitchen skills, if I were her, I'll just relax and leave it to you!

VG, if you're not adding the meatballs and just going with the tomato sauce, it should be fine for your vegetarian friends.. otherwise, you might lose some friends if you do the whole dish!

clare and babe_kl... ahhhh! meatball lovers!

hi, cook without an oven, welcome and very nice to see a new Singapore flogger on the scene!

5/31/2006 12:57:00 AM  
Anonymous evan said...

hello *waves*

6/01/2006 11:07:00 PM  
Anonymous hangovers said...

Wow your meatballs are perfect! Next time try to add the meatballs to the oil and after 5-10 minutes add the tomatoes. Another ggod thing is to add a squashed boiled potatoes to the meat (but usually this is good for meatloafs.
I like your site,
ciao ciao from Italy! :-)

6/05/2006 06:10:00 PM  
Blogger eatzycath said...

thanks hangovers, for the tip... mashed boiled potatoes to the minced meat - now that sure sounds like the meatloaf my mum used to make!

6/06/2006 10:53:00 PM  

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