Monday, January 18, 2010

Spaghetti and Meatball Report

Y.U.M.  I literally could only write that and it would explain it all. This made me like spaghetti and meatballs. Now, will I make it once a week or even once a month? No, probably not. First of all, because it didn't make me like spaghetti and meatballs that much AND it did take quite awhile. But it was a perfect project for a day when I really had nothing else to do.

I'll start by explaining how I altered this recipe to fit either my personal tastes or the limitations of my kitchen.

In her recipe, Anne says to pass the tomatoes through a food mill to remove any seeds or stems. I have no food mill, so here's my solution. Pour the tomatoes into a bowl and mash them with a potato masher. I didn't worry about seeds, but if I saw stems, I pulled them out.

For the meatballs, Anne says to use 1/2 pound each of ground beef, pork and veal. I'm not so much into veal, so I just used 1 pound of beef and 1/2 pound of pork. And since I'm cheap, I bought shredded parmesean in the jar instead of buying a piece of parmigiano from the specialty cheese section at Dillons.

Onions and pancetta sauteeing in olive oil for the sauce- I had never cooked with pancetta before, so this was fun. It smelled fantastic.

This was the largest pot I had, and as you can see the sauce (pre-reduction) came almost to the top. It reduced down nicely, though. And I followed Anne's instructions about tasting and seasoning very carefully. In addition to salt, I added a couple of tablespoons of vinegar, a pinch of sugar, and a pinch of red pepper flakes.

Meanwhile, during the 3 hour simmering time for the sauce, look what happened?!?! Yep, sugar cookies.

Something I had never done before: sautee the onion and garlic BEFORE putting them into the meatballs. As an afterthought, I didn't finely dice the onion enough. There were some pretty big chunks.

So here are the meatballs, waiting patiently to be browned before being finished in the oven. Anne's instructions say to "brown on all sides." Now, I don't know about you, but do spheres have sides? This was tricky. My meatballs were NOT browned on all sides, but were browned to some extent. See further below.

And the final product. Ta da!! Matt did the happy food dance after he ate. I asked, but he wouldn't let me photograph it. I think it would have been a perfect evaluation to share with everyone on how successful this dish was.

And here's what happened to the cookies!!! Once a season I make sugar cookies for Matt's basketball team. This year, I made basketballs! So cute! Recipe for cookies will be below. I just used the HyVee brand white icing and added red & yellow food coloring. The black is just Betty Crocker decorating frosting. And, technically, these sugar cookies are not meant to be frosted, but I do it anyway. Yummy.

Sugar Cookies (recipe from a friend's mother-in-law)
Bear with me...this is not the most detailed recipe, so I will try to add in the extra steps I take that are not specifically in the recipe.

2 c. sugar
5 c. flour
1 c. sour cream
2 t. baking powder
1/8 t. salt
1 c. butter, melted
2 eggs, well beaten
2 T vanilla or lemon flavoring (I always use vanilla)
1/2 t. baking soda

Mix sugar, melted butter, eggs, sour cream, salt, flavoring, and baking soda until creamy. (I do this in steps: sugar & butter, then sour cream, then eggs and everything else). Add 5 c. flour and baking powder. (Again, I do this gradually since I'm gadget-challenged and mix by hand.) Roll out on floured surface until 1/4 in. thick. Cut out and sugar the tops. Bake at 375 F for 8 minutes.
(I skip the sugaring since I frost mine after they cool)

Seriously the BEST sugar cookie I have ever eaten.

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