Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Meatballs & Spaghetti ( Spaghetti con Albondigas)

Meatballs are a classic of the comfort food. Almost every country has its own version like Danish meatballs, Filipino almondigas or bola-bola, the Polish klopsy or the Middle Eastern kofta; but italians are the ones who took this dish to a whole new level pairing it with pasta. This recipe is so far my favorite for these delicious meaty balls.

Ingredients for 6 servings

for the meatballs

1/2 pound ground veal
1/2 pound ground pork
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup bread crumbs
1 grated garlic clove
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 beaten eggs
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 tablespoons olive oil

For the sauce

4 cups of finely chopped plum tomatoes with the juice
2 minced garlic cloves
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 white onion finely chopped
1/2 cup red wine
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
ground pepper to taste

to serve

1 1/2 pounds of cooked spaghetti
1 tablespoon olive oil
fresh grated Parmesan cheese
Chopped fresh parsley to garnish

Place the ground meats in a bowl, add the parsley, bread crumbs, garlic, Parmesan, egg, salt, pepper, nutmeg and combine with a fork. Using your hands form 2 inch balls you may have approximately 15 meatballs. If the mix is to dry add some warm water.

In a skillet or heavy pot add the olive oil and heat over medium low heat, fry the meat balls in batches very carefully until golden brown on all sides. Remove the meatballs and set aside. Discard the burnt oil but don't clean the pot.

In the same pot, add the olive oil and heat over medium heat. Stir in the onions and saute for 5 minutes or until translucent, add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the wine and increase the temperature to high, scraping up all the brown bits, cook until almost all the liquid has reduced. Stir in the tomatoes with the juice, parsley, salt and pepper and bring to a light boil. Add carefully the meatballs, cover and simmer in low heat for 25-30 minutes until the meatballs are fully cooked.

Cook the spaghetti in boiling salted water according to the package instructions. Drain and serve on a big plate. Pour 1 tablespoon olive oil and toss. Serve the sauce and meatballs on top of the spaghetti, garnish with grated Parmesan cheese and parsley.