My kitchen remodel is nearing the end. Most of my new pretties are usable, minus the ovens. Those are installed and plugged in, taunting me with their little digital clock; alas, I have to wait until new electrical service is pulled to actually use them. Nevertheless, holding back for you dream kitchen to become a reality is worth the wait. Viewing the end product of a beautiful kitchen is the ultimate satisfaction, which is something Karin Ross understands; I love this about KARIN ROSS DESIGNS!
Meanwhile, I’m making up for about 6 months of not cooking, other than at school. It wasn’t enough.
Hubs had a long, yuck day at work, and the daughter was craving something familiar to eat. Spaghetti! My sauce is easy and delish.
But I had to add a few points for style and difficulty: Italian meatballs. Cooked in the sauce. Yessss…..
I didn’t even look up a recipe. Here’s what I did, roughly:
- 1 lb. ground pork
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 fresh hot dog bun, pulled into small bits (not kidding)
- 1 egg
- 1/4 c. or so of dry Italian breadcrumbs
- 1 tsp. minced fresh rosemary (I guess…it was a 6-inch branch, stripped)
- 1/2 tsp. dried basil
- 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
True Italians might disagree, but I like using dried herbs in something like this that will cook a little while. The rosemary gets a pass because it is so sturdy; be sure to mince it to almost dust and it works just fine.
Oh, and about that meat…I only ended up with about a 1/4 lb. of the beef. My new microwave is apparently superpowered, even on defrost, and cooked my frozen brick to a rock-hard brown oblivion. I was able to rescue the middle. Moving on.
The fresh bread may sound gross if you’ve never used it that way before, but it’s essential to Italian grandma tender meatball goodness. I just happened to have some leftover hot dog buns after July 4, but any ol’ soft bread will work.
Mix all that stuff gently with your hands. (Yeah, get over it.) Add more dry breadcrumbs until the mixture is just solid enough to hold a ball. Then, make a bunch of ’em, a little smaller than a golf ball. Hold all these on a sheet pan near your cooktop.
Then, in a heavy Dutch oven (I love my enameled Lodge), put 1 part olive oil and 2 parts vegetable oil over medium high heat, enough to cover the bottom of the pan by about a half-inch. Exact proportions are not essential. Using tongs, put five or six meatballs in at a time, turning them after each surface browns. I like to flip to the opposite side, then turn sideways, with a few turns to get brown all around.
Note to the OCD out there: They will be wonky. The first fry will flatten one side, then the other. If you want perfect spheres, get a deep fryer.
The purpose here is not to cook the meatballs all the way through, but to brown them with crispy yumminess. After the last batch, pour off the oil, deglaze with about 1/2 c. red wine or broth, then follow my marinara recipe. When you’re about 30 minutes from done, drop the fried meatballs in. (Photo below is of fried-but-not-yet-dropped.) When the sauce is done, you can cut a meatball open to check for doneness, or use a temperature probe and look for 160 degrees.
While I waited for the sauce to finish, I should have been getting my pasta water on to boil. Instead, I got super-ambitious and made pesto. A friend just gave me a boatload of basil, and that puts it somewhere along the lines of a moral obligation. Like banana bread.
I turned my still-half-packed kitchen upside down the past two days (basil languishing in the fridge) looking for my food processor. Turns out I loaned it to someone and forgot, but that’s another matter…
After a quick innernets search, I found a lovely vegan blog with a post expounding the virtues of making pesto with a stick blender (also called an immersion blender…you know, that thing you use to make shakes!).
Anyway, now you know, and I do too. And another pasta dinner is ready for tomorrow.
Anyone wanna come help me with all these dishes?