Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Jewish girls can cook Italian

It has been awhile since I have blogged. My lapse is not due to lack of cooking - I have made blondies and roast chickens and shrimp scampi and other blog worthy meals since I last wrote. I have just either forgotten to pull out the camera mid-thru cooking or found the camera with a dead battery inside OR perhaps the most likely reason of all- laziness.

So, tonight I bring you a house favorite. My house, your house..pretty much all houses...Spaghetti and Meatballs...My son, Max LOOOOVES spaghetti and meatballs. Its the one meal he actually requests and its always satisfying to me to make it for him. I know there are so many variations of "balls and sauce" and there is probably nothing remarkable about mine, except that..well..they are really good.

Meatballs , in Italian families probably invoke much the same debates as matzoh balls in Jewish families. Some like them small, some large and meaty...I prefer the larger variety. If you like smaller sizes of course, roll them accordingly. I added in some turkey to the recipe to make it a bit lighter. (I know, real Italians are aghast!) This recipe is more about the meatballs than anything else. You can use a jarred spaghetti sauce, but after all the effort in making perfect, homemade meatballs you may want to doctor it up a bit - at least!

This is perfect with the Caesar Salad recipe (listed on this blog). The only other requirement is crusty garlic recipe for that follows too!

Meatballs & Spaghetti

For the meatballs:

  • 1/2 pound ground turkey
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 1/4 cup fresh white bread crumbs (see picture - just throw the slices in a food processor)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 extra-large egg, beaten
  • Vegetable oil
  • Olive oil
  • 3/4 cup warm water

Place the ground meats, bread crumbs, parsley, herbs, Parmesan, salt, pepper, egg, and 3/4 cup warm water in a bowl. Combine very lightly with a fork. Using your hands, lightly form the mixture into 3-inch meatballs. You will have 14 to 16 meatballs.

Pour equal amounts of vegetable oil and olive oil into a large (12-inch) skillet to a depth of 1/4-inch. 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. Remove the meatballs to a plate covered with paper towels.

You can put the meatballs directly into the sauce while you make the garlic bread.

Garlic Bread:

  • 1 loaf crusty french bread- cut in half length-wise.
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbl kosher salt
  • Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375.
In a small saucepan, melt butter and garlic over low heat. Add salt and simmer until fully combined.
Lay the open bread halves onto a cookie sheet and brush the garlic & butter mixture all inside the bread. Close the bread in half and wrap in tin foil. Bake for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven, open the bread and place open faced back on the cookie sheet. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Turn on broiler and broil bread for 3-4 minutes until lightly browned. Slice and serve.

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