Wednesday, September 21, 2011

NomNom: Spaghetti and meatballs

I'm leaving for Italy in about a week and I couldn't be more excited. Work has been a bit stressful and this trip couldn't have come at a more perfect time. Traveling teaches me new things that I was unaware of before and rejuvenates my soul, which I'm in need of right now. I visited Italy about 4 years ago but only have been to Rome; however, this time around, l'll be traveling to Pisa, Florence, and Cinque Terre! In honor of this upcoming trip, I will be posting a series of Italian themed dishes for you starting with good ol' spaghetti and meatballs.

I'm a big meat lover and my meal feels incomplete without some sort of meat in it--spaghetti is no exception. Homemade meatballs are great because you can control how big you want the meatballs to be. There will be none of that itty bitty meatball here.
Baking them first for about 20 minutes drains some of the oil from the meat. This will cook further in the sauce.

Dump the cooked pasta into the sauce and make sure the noodles are covered in the delicious sauce.
There's something very warm and inviting about having this dish, whether it brings you back to childhood memories or simply because you find enjoyment from eating it. It's a classic Italian dish that uses simple ingredients you can't go wrong with.

Recipe: Meatballs (adapted from All Recipes)
1 pound lean ground beef
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 egg, beaten

Recipe: Sauce (adapted from All Recipes)
3/4 cup chopped onion
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
2 (28 ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 bay leaf
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
3/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, and cook the onion until lightly brown. Mix in 2 cloves garlic, and cook 1 minute. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, water, sugar, 1/2 the oregano, and bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer while preparing meatballs.
2. In a bowl, mix the ground beef, bread crumbs, remaining oregano, remaining garlic, parsley, eggs, and cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Roll into 1 inch balls. 
3. Bake them at 350 degrees for 20 minutes and drop into the sauce. Cook 40 minutes in the sauce, or until internal temperature of meatballs reaches a minimum of 160 degrees F (72 degrees C). 
4. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil, and stir in the spaghetti. Cook 8 to 10 minutes, until al dente, and drain. Serve the meatballs and sauce over the cooked spaghetti.
5. Grate and top with more Parmesan cheese if desired and serve with a nice glass of red wine;)

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