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Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti and MeatballsThe culinary snoop in me wonders if this well-known classic Italian dish originated in Italy or the USA. Turns out it’s all American! Italians from 1890 to 1920 emigrated to America by the millions. These impoverished immigrants (some on the brink of starvation) went from spending 75 percent of their income on food in Italy to only 25 percent of their income on food in America. With more money came more food. In Italy only the more affluent could afford meat on a regular basis but the move to America meant even the poorest of poor could enjoy it on a frequent basis – as much as three times a day. Spaghetti and meatballs became a symbol of Italian-American cuisine.  The meatballs (polpettes) became much larger with more meat and less breadcrumbs. In traditional polpettes, the bread to meat ratio is equal.  I can just imagine Nonna in her food-stained apron cooking this for the whole family.  Mangia! Mangia!

spaghetti & meatball recipe
The Culinary Chase’s Note:
I used lamb mince in place of beef.  For an alternate, pan fry the meatballs you want to freeze, cool and place in freezer.  These make delightful snacks for your children when then come home from school.  Thaw in the fridge the night before or pop them in a microwave to reheat and dip in your favorite tomato or cheese sauce.  Or eat them on their own.  Enjoy!

Spaghetti and Meatballs

51

4

Ingredients

  • Meatballs:
  • 1 lb. ground beef (or 1/2 lb. of beef and 1/2 lb. pork)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds (optional but adds a lovely flavor)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • olive oil
  • Tomato Sauce:
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons basil, chopped
  • red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. To make the meatballs, combine all ingredients in a bowl – use clean hands and dig in! Roll the mixture to resemble golf-ball-size meatballs. Count on 3 to 4 meatballs per person. Set aside any leftover meatballs for future use by freezing. Add a splash of olive oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add a few meatballs (don’t crowd) at a time and cook, turning, for 8 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Transfer to a plate. Repeat procedure for remaining batches.
  2. For the tomato sauce, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until soft (3-4 min). Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add chopped tomatoes and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes. Increase heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and add parsley. Add the meatballs, in a single layer and simmer gently, stirring occasionally 5-6 minutes or until sauce thickens and meatballs are heated through.
  3. Cook spaghetti according to packet directions, drain well and return to pan. Add the parsley and basil to the tomato sauce and stir until well combined. Divide the spaghetti and meatballs among serving bowls. Top with chopped basil, grated Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

The Culinary Chase’s Note: I used lamb mince in place of beef. For an alternate, pan fry the meatballs you want to freeze, cool and place in freezer. These make delightful snacks for your children when then come home from school. Thaw in the fridge the night before or pop them in a microwave to reheat and dip in your favorite tomato or cheese sauce. Or eat them on their own. Enjoy!

http://theculinarychase.com/2014/11/spaghetti-meatballs/

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