Thursday, October 14, 2010

Spaghetti with Meat Balls

This past weekend we had to serve dinner for 12 people at the ranch, we were not sure what would be easy enough to cook in large quantities and also make sure the portions were enough so everyone could satisfy their appetites... So what better than italian food...

This is a dish you can prepare with the whole family, it takes a while to prep so you will be able to enjoy some wine and appetizers while you cook; and the flavor is so casual you would never order it in a restaurant ever again!

It takes a while to make so plan ahead and assume you'll spend between 3 - 3 1/2 hours in the kitchen, patiently waiting for the veggies and meat to be perfectly chopped and cooked!

Ingredients for the meatballs:

3 pounds of ground 80% leans beef
2 pounds of ground veal meat
1 large white onion
5 eggs
5 tbs of chopped fresh italian parsley
5 tbs of chopped fresh thyme
salt and pepper
1 cup of italian style bread crumbs
4 pieces of white bread with no borders
7 garlic cloves
5 tbs of chopped oregano
2 shallots
Olive Oil

Meatballs Preparation:

In a large bowl mix the ground beef and veal with the eggs, chopped the onion as thinly as you can and introduce to the mix together with the chopped parsley and thyme, add 1/4 of a cup of salt and pepper, and keep mixing the meat with your hands; add the bread crumbs and the pieces of bread, make sure you break the bread into small pieces so people won't get chunks of bread in their meal.

In a small sauce pan drizzle some olive oil and heat it, add the chopped shallots, garlic and oregano and sautee for 5 minutes, then add to the bowl with the meat.

Preheat the oven @ 375 degrees.

After making sure that all the ingredients are perfectly mixed with the meats, get 2 baking sheets and make some medium size meatballs, rolling them with the palm of your hands. Once you are finished making approximately 36 - 40 meatballs place the baking sheets in the oven for 40 - 45 minutes.

(By the time the meatballs are baked, there should be a lot of juices in the baking sheets, let the meatballs cool down for a couple of minutes before mixing them with the tomato sauce)

Ingredients for the Tomato Sauce:

3 celery sticks
3 medium size carrots
1 medium white onion
6 garlic cloves
3 shallots
3 large cans of peeled tomatos
Salt and pepper
Olive Oil

Sauce Preparation:

Chop all the vegetables in very small pieces. In a large sauce pan drizzle some olive oil and cook the chopped garlic and shallots, make sure they don't burn. Add the celery, carrot, and onion to the heat and cook for approximately 15 minutes.

Open the canned tomatoes add the liquid on the heating pan and with your bare hands squeeze the tomatoes and brake them into pieces and then mix them with the cooking vegetables, bring to a boil then lower the heat and let it simmer for 15 minutes.

Remove the sauce from the heat, let it cool off and then using the mixer start blending the sauce, do it by batches you don't want to get burn by the sauce... Place the mixed sauce in a even larger sauce pan that could hold the meatballs as well.

In medium low heat cook for another 25 minutes the meatballs completely covered by the tomato sauce.

In a medium sauce pan boil some water and make some spaghetti with salted water and some olive oil. When done use a bowl to mix the cooked pasta with some tomato sauce before mixing the meatballs. Ready to serve, make sure you shave some parmesan cheese on top! Enjoy!

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