Thursday, February 3, 2011

Jan 28 - Feb 2 The Snowpocolypse That Almost Was






Jan 28  Pasta with meatballs and tomato sauce
Feb. 1   Beef Pot Pie
Feb. 2   late dinner out at the pub


This week, Shack needed some comfort food so I made him meatballs and simple tomato sauce on Monday. I used the meatballs from my stracciatella and just made our favourite, simple tomato sauce to go with it. I had only used half of the meatball recipe for the soup and I used the other half to make a dozen regular sized meatballs. Our favourite meatball in the world comes from Gio's and we both suspect that they don't brown their meatballs but just simmer them gently in the sauce so that is what I did with them. I took them straight from the freezer and into a gently simmering pan of tomato sauce and they turned out pretty great. Honestly, do we really need the extra fat that comes from frying them in a pan of olive oil first? Probably not, right?

Tuesday night I made individual beef pot pies using leftover beef burgundy stew from Sunday night. Because we were expecting a Snowpocolypse tonight , I had been baking all day for Little Shack's fund raising bake sale AND my car was sitting dead as a doornail in the garage, I couldn't get out to get some puff pastry and didn't want to make pastry for a couple of little pies. Then I remembered that I had some small frozen pie shells in the freezer in the basement. I think they might be a hundred years old but you have have to work with what you have sometimes.
So, I take the shells out to defrost and realize they are those little, tiny tart shells. After ten minutes, i try to flatten one out and it breaks up into pieces. OF COURSE IT BROKE APART BECAUSE  IT WAS A TEENY TINY DEEP DISH TART SHELL!


So, i try to pinch it back together and it takes two shells to cover each little, individual casserole dish and I form a really unattractive patchwork crust. Then, if it wasn't bad enough already, it took much longer than I anticipated to cook the crust and have it brown a bit so by the time it was ready (40 min at 400F), the stew had dried out. As I told Dianne, they were like little bride of pot pienstein pot pies.

On the bright side, the kid really enjoyed the top crust and declared it open season on pot pies! I love little pot pies but up until now, he refused to eat them and even went so far as to announce that he was allergic to chicken pot pie!

This ugly little , dried out pot pie might have been a culinary disaster but at least I can add this type of dish to my repertoire so you can be expecting some pot pies from me during the course of the next year.

I also made a half batch of the whole wheat master recipe from Healthy Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day but added dried cranberries and walnuts to the dough so I made make a loaf a fresh bread as well. Throw in a nice salad with some feta and you have yourself a pretty nice pre-Snowpocolypse dinner, even if the actual Snowpocolypse passed you by.



Meatballs

  • 1 egg
  • handful parsley, finely minced
  • big pinch of Greek oregano
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 tbls pesto
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 pound ground pork, Boston butt
  • 1/4 pound ground sirloin
In a bowl, combine the egg, parsley, Greek oregano, garlic, parmesan, pesto, salt, pepper and Italian seasoned bread crumbs. Mix together. Add the Boston butt and sirloin and mix for a couple seconds more until flavours are incorporated into meat, don’t over-mix. Roll into golf ball sized meatballs.

Tomato Sauce:

1 28 oz can of plum tomatoes
a couple of good glugs of extra virgin oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 or 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
chiffonade a big handful of fresh basil leaves




Heat the olive oil in a deep pan over med heat ( it's up to you how much you use but we like to taste the oil in the sauce and we like the texture we get from using a generous amount of olive oil but if you don't , just use a tbls or two)
sauté the onion for about five minutes, add the garlic and continue to sauté for another couple of minutes until the onions just start to take on some colour. 
Meanwhile, if you don't like chunks of tomato in your sauce, use an immersion blender to puree the can of tomatoes right in the can. I don't mind some chunks so I used to just crush them with my hands as I added them to the pan but the boys like the sauce smooth. I don't like putting it in a blender because then it's totally pureed but I guess a food processor might be closer to an immersion blender.



Add the tomatoes to the pan and check to see if the sauce needs any sugar and salt and pepper to taste. Some tomatoes taste great straight up but others are a bit too acid and really benefit from the addition of a pinch or two of sugar.


Bring the sauce to a light simmer and gently add the meatballs (I added mine from frozen) and simmer very gently until cooked through, at least 15 or 20 minutes.

Cook your pasta, drain and then remove the meatballs and take the pan off the heat. Throw in the basil, add the pasta to the pan with sauce and mix to coat the pasta completely. Put your pasta in shallow bowls, top with some more sauce, some meatballs and serve with freshly grated parmesan if you like. I always add some dried chili flakes to mine as well because my wimpy menfolk can't handle the heat so I am on my own. 
If you make meatballs when you get some time and freeze them, this is a meal you can whip together in about half an hour and who doesn't like a tasty meal that can be on the table in under an hour from the minute you walk in the door? 

7 comments:

mmmsweetsophia said...

I haven't tried the recipe yet, it looks delicious, but I can't help admiring the wonderful photos. You are such a great artist Carole...

mmmsweetsophia said...

I bought a whole octopus (frozen) I boiled it and sliced it up, added it to some salad with onions and dressing, it was ok, not great, can you suggest a more tasty way to serve octopus?

mmmsweetsophia said...

Too bad you didn't suggest an octopus based recipe for snowpocolypse..like octosnowpocolypse... missed opportunity
:(

Jen H said...

What is shack gonna do with meatballs done so early on?

mmmsweetsophia said...

or a carrot/octopus recipe?
octocarrotsnowpocolypse?? lol

mamashack said...

Jen, I can still make meatballs as long as i use a different recipe every time. These meatballs were beef, pork and pesto. I can make them with different spices and herbs, out of different meat. If I am crafty I could still make him meatballs a time or two month lol

Jen H said...

That's true. I thought about that with Mac & Cheese since it's a go to comfort food here, but decided I'm going to try to only do it every other month, we'll see how that works out. :)

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