“Everything you see I owe to pasta.”
This dish is a great one if you’re a bit more timid culinarily but want to truly impress your guests. The ingredient list is very short and most of what is required you will likely already have in your kitchen. It takes a while for the meatballs to brown but MYOHMY does it every create a mouthwatering aroma! That is my kinda recipe!
You can use whatever combination of ground meats that suits you. I’ve done veal/beef, straight beef, veal/pork and straight pork (my personal fave:) but you could even do ground chicken or turkey if that’s what appeals to you.
You will notice in the recipe that I don’t specify an amount of pasta as that will be different for every different person and it might also depend on the shape you choose. I also don’t go into specifics on the how-to of cooking the pasta. I will however remind you of a few simple pasta rules…
To salt the water or not to salt the water? I make that decision based on my sauce… in this case the sauce is super flavourful and doesn’t truly require the pasta water to be salted. I only salt pasta water when the sauce I’m making is subtle or if I’m using any of the pasta water to thicken the sauce. I’m sure I’ll hear from someone out there who heartily disagrees.
How much water is required for cooking the pasta? Again this depends on how the pasta works with the sauce. In this case I will fill a VERY large pot 2/3 – 3/4 full of water and bring it to an aggressive boil, tip in my pasta, return to the boil stirring occasionally and cook until al dente. If I’m using the pasta water to thicken the sauce then I will use a teensy bit less water so that the starchy quality to the water is intensified.
Two final thoughts on the cooking of pasta; I do not use oil in the cooking water and I do not rinse the cooked pasta EVER… like ever… if you rinse all that sticky goodness off the pasta then your gorgeous sauce won’t stick to it! Such a shame!
It’s one of those dishes that the moment people see and smell it they get excited! Try it and see for yourself. Make it this weekend! Make your people happy!
Wine Pairing: I will not deny that it gives me great pleasure to know that I inspire Greg in the kitchen! (and annoy him just a little bit because that is a younger sister’s job) “Yum. I do this dish all the time! I am probably going to think about it all day and now I will have to make it for dinner….damn you.
There are several ways you can go. Straight down the fairway is Valpolicella. A young one, not Ripasso, although that would also be good. If you wanted something more new world, a really full bodied Oregon Pinot Noir, or a California Zinfandel. I will choose Valpolicella tonight!”
Greg went on to explain his wine pairing ideology which I thought not only rather useful and simple (my FAVOURITE combination in everything) but also quite amusing. I hope you will agree.
“Are you getting the impression that wine pairing isn’t that hard? I think it’s more about what not to drink with certain foods than what you should drink. Almost everything goes pretty well, some things go extremely well, and some things don’t go well at all. For me it’s more about a) pair sweet with sweet, acid with acid, b) don’t overwhelm a delicate dish with a heavy wine or go too light against a heavy dish – food and wine should balance, not obliterate each other, and c) don’t serve a wine alone that should be complemented by food, well for that matter, almost never serve a wine alone…..;) And, almost never serve food alone!”
- 1 lb ground veal
- 1 lb group pork
- 1 egg
- ¾ cup bread crumbs
- 1 rounded tsp dried oregano
- 1 small bunch green onions, thinly sliced
- 1 large handful fresh parsley
- Olive oil for pan
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 2 large cloves garlic, smashed with flat of knife and chopped
- 2 large tins good quality whole tomatoes
- red wine to deglaze
- chilli pepper flakes to taste
- S&P to taste
- Cooked pasta
- Combine meat, egg, breadcrumbs, oregano, green onions, parsley and season generously with S&P
- Form into REALLY GIGANTIC meatballs (fill the palm of your hand with the meat mixture and gently form into a meatball - this amount of meat should yield about 8)
- Heat oil in a large frying pan
- over medium heat brown meatballs on all sides. This will not cook them through, you're just making them look pretty right now and creating a nice bit of deliciousness in the bottom of the pan.
- Do NOT crowd in the pan as this will not allow sufficient browning.
- Set browned meatballs in a shallow bowl
- Deglaze pan with a hearty splash of red wine once all are browned.
- Tip the goodness you've just scraped up into the bowl with the meatballs.
- Heat a little more olive oil and sweat your onion and garlic for 2 or 3 minutes
- Add tomatoes with the juices, season with chilli flakes and S&P
- Bring to a very gentle simmer then return meatballs, turning them over once or twice to ensure they stay nice and moist.
- If you are cooking a little earlier be prepared to cover the pan once the tomatoes have broken down. You can keep this dish warm for a really long time and it will only get more delicious. Just be certain to keep it below a simmer so you don't dry it out.
- Serve over cooked pasta.
- Garnish with more chilli flakes, fresh parsley and Parmigiano if desired