Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers-Real Spaghetti and Meatballs

I made this dish for a Sunday dinner and as usual with Ina's recipes, I thought it was really good. However, this one did not reach the spectacular standard of many of Ina's dishes but it was a nice flavorful dish. I liked the simplicity of the sauce and the intensity of flavor it had. I could definitely see using this sauce with other recipes. The meatballs were also good, but I'm not ready to trade in my regular recipe for these. My husband said he preferred my recipe to these. He wasn't blown away by this recipe, although he did say he liked it better the second day. I think these meatballs and the sauce had stiff competition from my all day slow cooked Sunday Gravy with meatballs. I told my husband I didn't think comparing the two were fair because they weren't in the same league! Also, I like to bake my meatballs as opposed to pan frying. Less mess and a bit healthier too! I did use all three meats, ground pork, ground veal and ground beef but I didn't see an amazing taste difference from my regular all beef meatballs. My meatballs were a little dense, but that may be because I forgot to add the warm water. It was listed in the recipe text and I used the ingredient guide when checking off the ingredients. Thanks to Rebecca of Ezra Poundcake for picking this one. It was a fun one to try. As always, be sure to check out the Barefoot Blogger's website to see how this one turned out for the rest of the bloggers. Also, be sure to check back on February 26th to see the second February pick. It was finally my turn to pick a recipe. I chose the Meringues Chantilly and I'm really excited about trying them!

Past Italian Favorites:
Lasagna Rolls
Italian Baked Chicken and Pastina
Penne with Turkey Meatballs
Gnocchi with Spinach and Sausage

Real Spaghetti and Meatballs

For the meatballs:

  • 1/2 pound ground veal
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup fresh white bread crumbs (4 slices, crusts removed)
  • 1/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
  • 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
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 extra-large egg, beaten
  • Vegetable oil
  • Olive oil

For the sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup good red wine, such as Chianti
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, or plum tomatoes in puree, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For serving:

  • 1 1/2 pounds spaghetti, cooked according to package directions
  • Freshly grated Parmesan


Place the ground meats, both bread crumbs, parsley, Parmesan, salt, pepper, nutmeg, egg, and 3/4 cup warm water in a bowl. Combine very lightly with a fork. Using your hands, lightly form the mixture into 2-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. Discard the oil but don't clean the pan.

For the sauce, heat the olive oil in the same pan. Add the onion and saute over medium heat until translucent, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the wine and cook on high heat, scraping up all the brown bits in the pan, until almost all the liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, parsley, salt, and pepper.

Return the meatballs to the sauce, cover, and simmer on the lowest heat for 25 to 30 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through. Serve hot on cooked spaghetti and pass the grated Parmesan.

Serve hot on cooked spaghetti and pass the grated Parmesan.

Source: Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa Family Style, Clarkson Potter, 2002.


Linds said...

Good for you for giving the meatballs a try. I couldn't do it; I am married to my own recipe :)

Anonymous said...

Well, at least you made the recipe according to the instructions! My husband prefers my marinara and meatballs over Ina's as well... and really, they were a lot better the next day. I think.


Joelen said...

this looks like a great dish and I've heard so many raves!

Penny said...

I had a similar reaction to this recipe - not Ina Spectacular. Looking forward to makeing your choice next. Love your Blog.

Colleen said...

Even if you didn't LOVE this - there is still nothing like a nice classic spaghetti and meatball dinner!

Tonya @ What's On My Plate said...

I think your post reflects the general consensus on this recipe. It's OK but not great.

Kanella said...

I agree with your assesment of the repice but the dish was still delish.

Aggie said...

Looks good! Can't wait to try the meringues!