p Picks and Pecks: recipe: ... with a chance of meatballs

Thursday, July 26, 2012

recipe: ... with a chance of meatballs

Meatballs are one of the easiest things to make, and yet so comforting because you can wait by the stove and prod them for hours while they simmer in their sauce. I try to make them from scratch whenever possible, culminating in a plate of pasta and meatballs (trying to be accurate here, because that definitely is not spaghetti in the picture!)

All it takes is:
  1. some ground beef (add pork or veal if preferred or even bacon bits) (at least 250g)
  2. bread crumbs (at least half a cup)
  3. an egg
  4. diced onions
  5. chopped garlic
  6. chopped parsley
  7. seasoning: paprika, mustard, cumin and salt and pepper. 
Put ingredients 1-7 into a bowl and squoosh the mixture together between your fingers. If you've ever made mud pies when you were a kid - this would be a good time to call on that memory.

Shape the resulting mixture into spheres the size of ping-pong balls (see below) and pan-fry them in a few tablespoons of oil in a heavy-bottomed pan (a dutch oven would be ideal). Fry the meatballs in small batches, so they do not crowd each other, so that the meat balls develop a brown crust. Resist the urge to poke them around or the might fall apart before they are cooked!

For the tomato sauce, I usually use the following:
  1. 2 cans of peeled tomatos
  2. diced onions
  3. chopped garlic
  4. chopped parsley
  5. salt and pepper
You can see why this is so easy - ingredients 2-5 were already prepped when I made the meatballs! Once the meatballs are done, use the same pan to saute the onions and garlic till soft. Add tomatoes, smushing them into a paste with the back of a wooden spoon. Once the tomato sauce is bubbling, pour your meatballs back in, along with any juices that might have settled.

Voila! It's done! If you really need me to explain how to make spaghetti, you really need to learn how to read packaging boxes - so I'm not going to help you there.

Any leftover meatballs freeze well - just pop them into a Tupperware right after. Also useful for meatball sandwiches or to serve alone, with cheese grated on top. You could be fancy and call them polpette at that stage.. but really, its just meatballs.