Thursday, February 01, 2007
Pasta and Meatballs with Red Hot Tomato Sauce
The very best meatball recipe EVER. I know there is discussion out there about achieving a very moist meatball, but that doesn't interest me. I'm concerned, above all, with taste. These are wonderful, a combination of ground pork and beef, onions and garlic, lemon zest and fresh parsley. We like to make them small, a little bigger than one inch in diameter, smaller than a golf ball. After you eat these meatballs you will throw out all of your old meatball recipes. The sauce is a staple in our kitchen. It's our standby red sauce recipe. It's very easy and we love the kick the red pepper flakes give it (it's not to hot for little mouths, just gives it a nice depth of flavor). For a quick dinner I'll just make the sauce and boil some spaghetti. For a more dressed up dinner I'll serve the meatballs and sauce with rigatoni and garlic bread or fogasa bread and a green salad. It's too yummy.
Both recipes come from Martha Stewart Living May 2000. Although there are many meatball/tomato sauce recipes on her website, this one is not.
2 slices white bread, crusts removed, cut into small pieces
1/4 c. milk
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 pound ground beef (I've used all beef before, not as good, but still really good)
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
3 small garlic cloves, minced
zest of 1/2 lemon
8 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
3/4 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 T. olive oil
Place bread in a bowl; pour milk over it. In another bowl, mix beef and pork. Add onion, garlic, zest, and parsley. Add salt and pepper. Mash bread mixture to form paste; add to meat mixture. Mix; add egg. Combine well. Cover with plastic wrap; chill 1 hour (although chilling does make it easier to form the meatballs, I usually skip this step).
Heat oven to 350. Form mixture into small balls. Heat 1/2 T. oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute meatballs in batches until brown, a few minutes on each side. Transfer to a pan big enough to hold all the meatballs. (I use a 9x13 lined with foil - easy cleanup). Place in oven to finish cooking, about 20 minutes.
RED HOT TOMATO SAUCE
3 T. olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1/4 t. red-pepper flakes, or to taste
1 c. loosely packed fresh basil, cut into chiffonade
Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, stirring so that it does not brown, until soft and fragrant, 3-4 minutes. Add garlic, and cook, stirring another minute.
Add crushed tomatoes and their liquid. Season with salt, pepper, and red-pepper flakes. Add 2 C. cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until sauce has reduced and thickened and has a deep, rich tomato flavor, about 20 minutes. Stir in basil just before serving.