Saturday, October 10, 2009

On Top of Linguine

This week's Serious Eats Weekend Cook and Tell challenge is to create a spaghetti and meatball dinner paired with wine.

I have always felt cheated when ordering spaghetti with meatballs because it's frequently 1 or 2 large meat-anvils weighing down a sparse bed of spaghetti and runny marinara. For this reason, I avoid ordering it unless there is nothing I desire on the menu.

SE Spaghetti Meatballs
Not covered in cheese

Since this is our first time making meatballs for pasta, we will not be teaching anyone any secrets.

1 lb ground chuck
1/2 lb spicy ground Italian sausage
1/2 c plain breadcrumbs
2 eggs
1 tsp dried oregano
black pepper
olive oil

26 oz roasted red pepper pasta sauce (Bove's of Vermont)
28 oz diced tomatoes with sea salt (Dei Fratelli)
1/4 c red wine (2006 Chateau Malbat Bordeaux)
2 shiitake, minced
2 cloves roasted garlic, minced
1/2 c kalamata olives, pitted and minced
1/2 c sun dried tomatoes, minced
3 bay leaves
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp thyme, ground
2 c zucchini, diced
2 c yellow squash, diced
1/4 c basil, chopped
black pepper
crushed chili peppers

1. In a large pot, simmer pasta sauce, diced tomatoes, bordeaux, shiitake, roasted garlic, olives, sun dried tomatoes, bay leaves, oregano, and thyme.

2. Hand-mix beef and sausage with breadcrumbs, oregano, salt, and pepper. Mix egg into meat mixture.

3. Shape meat into 1" spheres and fry the meatballs in olive oil (~15 minutes per batch).

4. Add meatballs, zucchini, and yellow squash to sauce and simmer (~45 minutes).

5. Add basil a few minutes before serving.

6. Sprinkle fresh ground pepper and crushed chili peppers to taste.

We normally have larger chunks of vegetables and add carrots, broccoli, green bell peppers, fresh mushrooms, and celery to our spaghetti sauce in addition to the vegetables used tonight, but our broccoli crowns were yellow and we forgot to get celery, green bell peppers, mushrooms, and carrots, and didn't feel like driving out to the grocery store. Fortunately, we always have shiitake in the freezer. The omission of cheese was due to my dislike for cheese, specifically, parmesan and romano.

The sauce was sweeter than usual and not as meaty tasting. We also prefer our vegetables firmer, but I wanted to make the sauce as normal looking as possible.

The meatballs were more subtle in flavor that we expected. We were thinking of adding caraway or fennel seeds, but not knowing the flavor intensity of the sausage, we decided to err on the side of caution.

After Bug made up the batch of meatballs, I noticed a few meatball recipes that included water. While I am not ecstatic about revisiting meatballs, this has piqued my curiosity. I may make a small batch to find out what difference (assume textural) adding water will make, and add it to meat sauce.

As for drinks, Bug drank iced tea and I drank water. I don't drink alcohol. The bordeaux used in the sauce was a gift. I don't recall how long we've had it, just that it's no more than 3 years old.

- Cassaendra

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