Sugarbird's Sweet Nothings

I am passionate about food. And cooking. And baking. And running. Come and find a new recipe, a funny story, some strong opinions and whatever else I feel like throwing in the mix today.
Published on July 19th, 2011
by Clarabella

Spaghetti & Meatballs


Sometimes I eat too much sugar. I know this. I know its not healthy. I can’t help it. I love baking.

When I have had an especially sugary day or two, I start craving salt and savoury, big time. And not just anything, something substantial, home cooked and flavourful. I had this particular craving the other day and after seeing the Barefoot Contessa’s spaghetti and meatballs, and remembering how absolutely phenomenal my friend Sandra’s spaghetti and meatballs were the last time she made them for me, I decided it was time. I had not made spaghetti and meatballs for like, a year? More? I can’t even remember. I have made bolognaise and lasagne which I guess are in a similar vein, but don’t have the mega meaty punch of the meatball.

I wanted meaty punch. And so I investigated Ina’s recipe, as well as the recipe adapted on Smitten Kitchen, and contemplated how I would take my hand to it. The first hurdle was the butcher. He only had beef mince. Not convenient when I needed pork and veal. Hmmm. So I settled on his excellent beef mince, and I bought some of his fine sausages, which are essentially pork mince with some seasonings, in a sausagey case. I would never dream of doing this with anything but the best quality sausages. Cheapies are a no-no. You will end up with more fat and gristle than meat. Not suitable for meatball success.

I did try to form the meatballs gently and without pressure, as Ina instructs, but as some of my mince was sausage and had to be loosened up, this was not as easy as it should have been. I don’t think my meatballs were as light as Ina would like, but the flavour was going to be there in full force, so its not really serious. Theres always next time to do it by the book. Once I have found out where to buy veal mince. Seriously, where do you get that?

Good red wine. Some for the sauce. Some for me. Win win. ūüôā

So, you just make meatballs with (almost) the correct meat. Make into balls with loads of good stuff, like herbs, seasoning and egg. Brown. Make sauce. Combine, and cook together, with the meatballs nestled cosily in the warm, read sauce. Spoon generously over pasta and grate over lots of parmesan. Heaven. This hearty meaty meal satisfied my savoury craving very well. That night and for the following 2 nights as well, and there is even a load in the freezer for satiating future savoury cravings.

With a glass of wine in hand now, I look at my new website. About to go live. Wondering where it will go. I have baked and baked over the last few days. Testing recipes and taking pictures. To the point that I”m (very nearly) sick of cake. Yes, me. Sick of cake. Today I made modelling chocolate and tried my hand at chocolate roses. Interesting. Don’t know if i’m a natural at this sculpting/modelling thing, but a little practice never hurt anyone. So I will practice. Look out for the future modelling chocolate/chocolate rose post. Its coming.



Spaghetti and Meatballs

Adapted from the Barefoot Contessa

What you will need:
For the meatballs:
1 pound very good quality pork sausages
1 pound best quality beef mince
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 extra-large egg
Vegetable oil
Olive oil

For the sauce:
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup good red wine, such as Chianti
2 tins chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For serving:
1 1/2 pounds spaghetti, cooked according to package directions
Freshly grated Parmesan

What to do:
Squeeze the meat out of the sausage casings. Place the sausage meat and mince, bread crumbs, parsley, parmesan, salt, pepper, nutmeg, egg, and 3/4 cup warm water in a bowl. Combine very lightly with a fork. Using your hands, lightly form the mixture into 2-inch meatballs. You will have 14 to 16 meatballs. 

Pour equal amounts of vegetable oil and olive oil into a large (12-inch) frying pan. Heat the oil. Very carefully, in batches, place the meatballs in the oil and brown them well on all sides over medium-low heat, turning carefully with a¬†spatula¬†or a fork. This should take about 10 minutes for each batch. Don’t crowd the meatballs or they won’t brown. Remove the meatballs to a plate covered with paper towels. Discard the oil but don’t clean the pan.

For the sauce, heat the olive oil in the same pan. Add the onion and saute over medium heat until translucent, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the wine and cook on high heat, scraping up all the brown bits in the pan, until almost all the liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, parsley, salt, and pepper.

Return the meatballs to the sauce, cover, and simmer on the lowest heat for 25 to 30 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through. Serve hot on cooked spaghetti and pass the grated Parmesan.