Saturday, November 5, 2011

Spaghetti & Meatballs


If I've learned anything by reading cooking blogs, it's if you're going to make something with meat, that's pretty traditional, and you're not trying to skim on calories/fat, go to Ree Drummond.  Her short ribs, for example, are out of this world.  I'm pretty sure my mom and all her friends still make them at least once a month since I showed them this recipe year or two ago.


And let me tell you, Ree's meatballs are no exception.  Ever since I made this recipe back in early 2010, I won't make any other.  It's absolutely perfect and incredibly easy - what else can you really ask for?!  I especially love that you can really use any type of ground meat that you want, because I usually use what's on sale.


Now, I have to admit, these aren't nearly as good at the meatballs at 2Amy's, which are hands down one of those best things I've ever eaten.  I don't think the Monkey Scientist will ever forget the day we discovered them.  Or better yet my face when I first ate them.  I was starving one day, and we went to 2Amy's for a late lunch, when I saw the waitress bring over a steaming cast iron dish of sauce to the table next to us.

meatballs - browning

I didn't even know what was in it, but I grabbed the waitress and insisted she bring us one.  Then, I saw someone at the next table dig in.  I was mesmerized. I could see the Monkey Scientist realized I wasn't exactly with him anymore.  All I uttered was, "oh my, she just pulled a little meatball out of that...." And then it came to our table, and it was the porky-est, most delicious meatball I had ever had in my life.  I swear, I discovered the reason why that one group of people never actually leaves DC.  They don't want to move too far from these meatballs.  Plus, the rustic bread they serve it with is perfect to sop up the extra sauce.  For my New England friends, all I can compare it to is the artichoke appetizer at Artichokes in Wakefield, MA (formerly in Malden Center).  It's like digging through a puddle of warm, amazing sauce, only to find nuggets of pure food-gold.

meatballs - sauce

I don't even try to make meatballs like that.  Still it got me on a kick of really wanting to make meatballs for the first time in a long while.  Aren't you craving meatballs after thinking about 2Amy's?  I decided to stick with the more traditional, matzo ball-sized meatballs on top of spaghetti. (Only a true Jewish food-lover would refer to a meatball as matzo ball-sized instead of the reverse haha)  I thought that would be easier to accomplish than the 2Amy's version.

meatballs - steaming in sauce

So, while it won't exactly hit your 2Amy's craving, this meatball recipe will definitely do you some good.  It isn't quite as porky as 2Amy's, and it doesn't have quite the same texture, but they are really tasty.  Plus, here's my little trick: I buy a loaf of French bread and cut it in half.  I make garlic bread with one half (softened butter, garlic salt, rub in a garlic clove, bake it) to serve with dinner and then I use the other half for meatball subs with the leftovers the next day!  A perfect 2-for-1 meal!

meatballs with garlic bread

Spaghetti and Meatballs
adapted slightly from The Pioneer Woman

3/4 pounds ground veal
3/4 pounds ground pork
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cups Panko bread crumbs
2 eggs
3/4 cups grated parmesan
1/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper
splash of milk
1/2 cup olive oil
1 whole yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup white or red wine (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon sugar
freshly ground pepper
2 pounds spaghetti, cooked to al dente

1. To make the meatballs, combine meat, garlic, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, eggs, salt, pepper, and a splash of milk in a mixing bowl. Mix together well with hands. Roll into 25 1 1/2-inch balls and place on a cookie sheet. Place cookie sheet into the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes to firm up.
2. To brown the meatballs, heat olive oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add meatballs 8 at a time, turning to brown. Make sure each meatball is really brown on each side - you shouldn't really be able to see any pink, even though they'll be pink on the insides still. Remove and drain on a paper towel after each batch. Set meatballs aside.
3. In the same pot, add the onions and garlic and cook for a few minutes, or until translucent. Pour in whole tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, and wine, if using. Add salt, pepper, sugar, and crushed red pepper. Stir to combine and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes.
4. Add meatballs to pot and stir in gently. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, stirring very gently a couple of times during the simmer.
5. Serve over cooked spaghetti. Sprinkle with extra Parmesan.


Debbie said...

it tasted very yummy but my meatballs kept falling apart when i was searing them!! it turned into more of a bolognese sauce :)

dani said...

You definitely need to let them firm up in the freezer for a little while before you sear them! And use plenty of oil :)