Monday, May 16, 2011

Classic Italian Dinner at Home

Much like the cooking challenges that Sophia and I used to subject ourselves to, I have begun to take culinary requests from friends and family. Typically these meals are made as a reward to a lucky person who wins a bet. Instead of betting money, we bet, what we call, fantasy meals. This laborious but incredible meal was inspired by a fantasy meal where meatballs were requested. The recipe I created myself with a little help.

A few nights prior to cooking the fantasy meal, I had made patatas bravas, a Spanish appetizer of crispy cut potatoes with a spicy roasted pepper dipping sauce. I used the remaining sauce as a paste and a base for the spicy tomato sauce.

Pork and Veal Meatballs with a Homemade Spicy Tomato Sauce

1/2 lb ground pork
1/2 lb ground veal
1 chopped onion

After mixing the ground meat with the chopped onion, I rolled the meat into balls and then swished them in an egg wash before coating them in breadcrumbs. A friend had recommended that I wet the breadcrumbs beforehand in a little splash of milk before using to coat the meatballs. The idea was to then fry the meatballs with this coating in order to yield a nice crispy outside layer. However, I then transferred the meatballs to the homemade simmering tomato sauce to add flavor and to cook the middle of the meatball. Thus I would recommend to forego the egg wash and bread crumb coating altogether.

Spicy Tomato Sauce
1 can of Pastene peeled and boiled tomatoes

Empty can of tomatoes to a pot and simmer on medium heat.

I adapted a recipe from Cooking Light for a sauce to accompany potatoes and I used this as a paste for the spicy tomato sauce. Here's a rough draft version of the sauce.

diced onion
roasted red pepper*
chili pepper
roasted garlic*
8 ounce of marinara or tomato sauce

*I roasted the garlic and the red pepper myself in the oven.
You may add as much of the spices as you see fit. I prefer the sauce to be extra spicy so I was not shy in the amount. I blended these ingredients together to create a paste and then it was added to the simmering tomatoes to create a rich sauce. The meatballs are to be fried in a bit of oil in a pan over medium low heat. Then once they take on a crispy brown coating they are to stew in the tomato sauce until cooked through. These meatballs were incredibly tender and made the sauce very flavorful.

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