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Posts Tagged ‘meatballs’

I’ve been waiting for some inspiration in the last year in order to bring you some new recipes on Gourm(eh), and I’ve finally admitted to myself the reason that it’s been a slow time in my culinary adventures. The truth is, it’s not very exciting to cook for oneself. One thing that I’ve really enjoyed, however, has been long-distance meal-planning with my significant other, especially because it’s so exciting to see that despite distance, food is still able to bring us together and we often send messages back-and-forth of ideas and questions about how best to prepare things, and what produce has been good lately at the market or grocery store. Yes I’ll admit, Hamilton is a bit ahead of Ottawa, but we’ve got some good things here too now! It’s not nearly as nice as a meal together, but it will do if it’s all we’ve got for now!

I’m telling you this because this recipe was inspired by his own a few weeks ago. A tomato sauce with beets! I had one pound of delicious ground beef from my CSA box, new young leeks, fresh oregano and beets, so I decided to attempt some meatballs with spaghetti and a spicy beet tomato sauce. The spicy sauce is well-balanced by the sweet beet base, and it goes very well with flavourful beef.

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Ingredients – 4 servings

Meatballs

1 lb ground beef, extra lean
2 young leeks, cleaned and minced
1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
3 tbsp bread crumbs
1 tsp dried rosemary, crushed (I like to pound mine in a mortar and pestle)
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 egg
dash salt and pepper
olive oil

Spicy beet tomato sauce

1 onion, diced
2 young leeks, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 – 1 tsp dried chili flakes (to taste)
1 beet, diced into small pieces
1  good tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 can diced tomatoes (796 mL or 28 Oz)

Spaghetti or other pasta, enough for 4 (according to package)

Parmesan, for garnish

Directions

Mix all ingredients for meat balls except olive oil and egg in a bowl with hands until everything is well mixed, then add the egg. Form into small balls in the palm of your hands, and place on a plate drizzled with olive oil. Roll the meatball in the olive oil so it is coated, and repeat until you have made all the mixture into meatballs. Depending on the size, you should get 20-30 meatballs. Set aside in refrigerator while you prepare the sauce.

For the sauce, dice the onions first, and heat up the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook the onions for a few minutes, then add the minced leek. Cook for a few more minutes and then add the garlic, chili flakes and basil. Stir until the onion is soft and everything is fragrant. Add the beet, and then the tomatoes and balsamic vinegar. Bring to a strong simmer and then reduce the heat and cook for 15-20 minutes, while you prepare the meatballs and the pasta.

For the meatballs, heat a small amount of olive oil over medium-high heat in another frying pan. Once the oil is hot, cook the meatballs, turning them carefully so all sides brown. Cook for another 10-15 minutes, until they are cooked through (you should not see any pink inside).  Set on a paper-towel lined plate once cooked.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, and cook pasta to your liking. Pour a ladle-full of water into the beet sauce to make it a little saucier if you like. Serve the meatballs tossed in the sauce, over the pasta, with grated parmesan and enjoy!

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In grade 2, I had an amazing teacher. Ms. G was Italian, and had crazy long curly black hair that terrified us at first. But soon she won us over, and took us on a cooking adventure right from the beginning. We made a cookbook. Meatballs. Hand-rolled pasta. Breads. I can’t even remember all the details exactly, but the experience itself I cannot forget.

If I could have 5 wishes granted, one of mine in my top 5 would be that every child get the chance to cook and then eat regularly with a parent or loved-one. My close experiences with food beginning when I was very little have definitely contributed to my interests. Now, after my academic exploration of food in addition to the more casual personal one, I realize more (and realize how much more is unknown to me) than ever before the challenges of equity and access to food. If only every child had access… that’s what I’m asking, and aiming, for.

So in memory of my second-grade adventures, I’m posting a recipe for italian meatballs, although probably nothing near as good as Ms. G’s. But these were so good nonetheless. This recipe is from the Joy of Cooking, with a few variations.

Ingredients – dinner for 4

Meatballs

-1 lb lean ground beef
-3 garlic cloves, minced
-1/2 cup chopped parsley
-1/2 cup grated parmesan
-1 medium onion, finely chopped
-1/2 cup breadcrumbs
-1 large egg, beaten (and a second if the mix seems dry)
-3 Tbsp (dry) red wine
-2 Tbsp tomato paste
-1 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp black pepper
-1/2 tsp dried oregano
-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
-2 Tbsp olive oil

Pasta

-350g fresh pasta (e.g. linguine)

Tomato sauce

-1 onion, minced
-1 clove garlic, finely minced
-1 tsp dried basil
-1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
-3 Tbsp olive oil
-1 can diced or crushed tomatoes
-salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the meat balls up to and including the dried oregano.  Mix well with your hands, and add an extra egg if it is difficult to shape into 2 Tbsp-sized balls.

Place the flour on a plate and roll the meatballs in the flour, and then heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat and brown all over.  Cover with a lid and let cook over medium-low for 10-15 minutes while you make the sauce and the pasta.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Meanwhile, sauté the onion in the oil in a frying pan for 3-4 minutes.  Add the herbs, salt and pepper, and garlic, and sauté for a further 2 minutes.  Add the canned tomatoes, and simmer down.

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Transfer the meatballs to the sauce, and serve over the pasta with parmesan on top.

These meatballs freeze fabulously after being cooked, and can be frozen either with or without sauce and eaten on another day.

Bon appétit!

-Sitelle

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