Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tasty, Foolproof Meatball Recipe

I spent Saturday night one of the best ways I know how: cooking with two good friends. We made fresh spaghetti and homemade meatballs. If you've never had this meal you have not lived my friend! Pasta and meatballs is one of my most favorite comfort meals ever, but particularly when made from scratch. And when made in a kitchen full of love, not to sound too cheesy, hehe. :P It's true though - my mom taught me to cook and it's an activity I really enjoy sharing with special people in my life.

Victoria and Jason work intently...

I personally had never made spaghetti before...and I really didn't this time. Jason brought his dark blue Kitchenaid standing mixer, for which he has a spaghetti roller attachment and an attachment that cuts the dough into linguine. He did that while Victoria and I made the meatballs.

Flour, water and eggs, baby! Yeah, that's a hanger from my closet.

As for the meatball recipe...Meatballs are very easy and fun to make. Not only that, but the recipe is flexible for varying tastes. The recipe I used this weekend was taught to me by my mother and originally adapted from the recipe of a family friend's Italian grandmother, who brought it over from the Old World:

  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 oz. grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • A teaspoon of salt
  • A handful of chopped curly parsley (to taste)
  • Seasoning such as oregano and black pepper (to taste)
Sauce (to finish cooking the meatballs in):
  • 1.5 - 2 regular sized jars of tomato sauce
  • Half an onion, diced
Instructions: Put both ground meats into one large bowl. Add eggs, bread crumbs, cheese and parsley. Mix thoroughly with your hands. Season as you see fit while continuing to blend the ingredients.

Don't be afraid to get messy, mash it all up between your fingers! The consistency should be solid enough to form balls that won't slip apart or lose their shape, but not too dry. Even though I list amounts of ingredients above, when it comes to the dry ingredients and parsley it's not paramount that you measure everything to a tee. More important is to eyeball it for texture. The one rule I'd stick with is that you should use one egg per pound of meat.

Heat oil in a medium to large sized frying pan - enough to entirely coat the cooking surface. I'm partial to olive oil. Roll 1 to 1.5 inch-sized balls from the meat mixture and drop them in the hot pan, leaving about half an inch or an inch between each. (You need enough room to flip them all over.) Cook until they are browned on the outside but not totally cooked all the way through.

As the meatballs are done browning, transfer them to a large pot on a separate range filled with the tomato sauce. Turn this pot onto medium heat. You can either brown the meatballs and then put them on a plate with paper towels to soak up some of the olive oil, or you can transfer them immediately from the frying pan to the sauce-filled pot.

Once all the meatballs are finished, saute the diced onion in the frying pan until the pieces are slightly transparent and beginning to caramelize. Add to the tomato sauce and meatball pot.

Fold the meatballs into the sauce. You want to have enough sauce to almost entirely cover the meatballs. Cover the pot and let sit for about 10 minutes, to give time for the sauce to heat and for the meatballs to finish cooking through.

So good!! Paired with cold cream soda....yum. Looking at the photo is making me hungry now.

Notes: You're not married to using pork and beef. Flavor-wise, I like using two different meats with at least one of them being beef, but you can also try ground turkey, ground chicken, ground veal, etc. You can also stick to only one kind of meat, though I'd really suggest using two, it gives a much more unique taste.

Same goes with the seasonings and with the cheese. I like Romano, but Parmesan is just as good. You don't even necessarily need to use cheese, though I like the slight flavor it gives and the way it helps the consistency of the meatballs.

Pick ground meats with a higher fat content if taste is your first priority. I used 90/10 beef in this recipe, though being somewhat health conscious, I usually cook with more lean packages. Ground turkey is a good way to make the meatballs slightly healthier while keeping tasty.

1 comment:

mayaari said...

the finished photo of the meal is making me soooooo hungry right now! that looks delicious!