Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Special pasta calls for homemade sauce and meatballs

The spaghetti noodles were as long as my arm. And red because of the pepperocino (red pepper flakes) the Italian pasta maker put into them. They’ve been in the cabinet since last month and I couldn’t wait to try them. So with the final bit of our home-grown tomato sauce from last year, I prepared spaghetti and meatballs.

Meatballs can be a little tricky as any sort of ground meat pressed together in any shape will be dry if not done with some important additions. One trick for good meatballs is to not over-mix . Also, form them with a light touch—you’re not pressing them together with all your strength, just enough so they’ll stay together.

To get a good size, I use my ice cream scoop to form them, finish with my palm.

Try this recipe and see what you think.

Beth’s Spaghetti and Meatballs
2 lbs. ground beef
3 eggs, lightly beaten
¼ cup milk
1 cup grated Romano cheese (Parmesan works, too)
½ cup grated onion (this adds moisture that chopping doesn’t)
½ tsp. each salt, pepper, garlic powder
½ cup dry bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place raised baking racks on two cookie sheets. (This allows the meatballs to cook evenly throughout. I used my two cooling racks and two small grill racks from outdoor grills.) Coat with non-stick spray. Mix ingredients together with your hands. Form balls using an ice cream scoop. Place on racks. (This will fill the two baking sheets.) Cook for 15 – 20 minutes.

By the way, when my parsley from the garden is ready for cutting, I’ll add some of that to the recipe.

While baking, warm your favorite tomato sauce on top of the stove. Add finished meatballs to the pan. Bring to light boil then turn down to simmer for an hour or so to allow the flavors to mingle.

Serve over your favorite pasta. And try the red pepper flake spaghetti if you can find it or make it. It adds a special bite that makes this dish something you’ll want to eat again.

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