Monday, April 25, 2011

April 21-24 Birthdays, Easter and Spaghetti and Meatballs





April 21     Little Shack's 12th birthday = taking 6 boys out for all you can eat sushi
April 22     spaghetti and meatballs, creme brulee
April 23     butter chicken at my sister's   
April 24     Easter dinner at my sister's




For the kid's birthday, we took him and five of his friend out for a sushi feast. Remember when we were kids and all we wanted for our birthday dinner was cake and maybe some hot dogs?
Anyway, ask any stranger on the street what my kid's favourite food is and they will say sushi. On April 22, which was also good Friday, we had our family birthday dinner with his grandmother and The Neighbours. I asked him what he wanted me to make for dinner and gave him some time to think of something other than sushi. Creme brulee was a no brainer but he really had to think about dinner. He finally settled on spaghetti and meatballs AND risotto. I quickly shot him down, shattering his dreams and told him that he had to choose one or the other because asking me to make home made meatballs, creme brulee AND risotto meant that I would spend the day chained to the kitchen and we are a one starch per meal kind of family.
Spaghetti and meatballs it is.






Meatballs:
1 lb ground pork
1 lb ground veal
1 lb ground beef
4 sliced white bread made into bread crumbs using a food processor
1/2 cup milk
1 cup grated parmesan
1/2 cup chopped italian parsley
4 tsp kosher salt
1 med onion, grated about 1/2 cup
2 large eggs, beaten
freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup olive oil, divided

Tomato Sauce:
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large sweet onion
2 or 3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
3 cans of plum tomatoes
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper





soak the bread crumbs in the milk and let sit til they absorb it for a few minutes. In a large bowl, mix the bread crumbs, with the rest of the ingredients except for the olive oil until just combined. Don't over mix it or you will make the meatballs tough. Gently form the mixture into balls. I like them a little bit bigger than a golf ball but that is up to you. You don't want to pack the meat too tightly either - again, overworking the meat mixture will result in tough balls.
You can refrigerate them for up to 24 hours at this point.

Heat half the oil in a skillet over med heat. Start browning the meatballs in batches, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Move them around and make sure they are browned on all sides 6 or 7 minutes. Remove them to a plate and continue until all the meatballs are done.

In a heavy pot over medium heat (I finally got to use my new giant Le Creuset dutch oven), sauté the onion in the olive oil until it softens. Add the garlic and sauté for another few minutes, careful not to let the garlic brown. Add the tomatoes. It is up to you how you like to deal with the tomatoes. If you like the sauce a bit chunky, you can just squish the tomatoes between your fingers as you add them. If you want a really smooth sauce, you can use an immersion blender to blend them to a smooth consistency.
Taste and add the kosher salt and pepper to taste. Let this simmer for about 15 minutes to reduce a bit and then add the meatballs, cover your big pot full of sauce and meatballs and put it in a preheated 300F oven for about an hour. You can also just let it simmer away on top of the stove on low but I was so exited to use my new, big Le Creuset dutch oven that I was not going to waste a change to do it in the oven.
This recipe made twice as many meatballs as we needed but I wanted to freeze a couple of bags so I would say that half of this meatball recipe and the sauce would feed 8-10 people. We fed 6 people with enough leftover sauce and meatballs for another 3 or 4 servings.






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