Monday, September 30, 2013

Spaghetti And Meatballs.

Spaghetti and meatballs.
Garlic and herb buttered toast.
Rosie's going retro.

Sometimes you just want comforting foods.
Foods that take you back to another time and place.
Long, long ago.

First Rosie slings hash,
now it's spaghetti.
My body must need it.
Always listen.
And heed.

Whenever I make spaghetti for my little Hawthornelets,
I usually put the browned meat in with the sauce.
Today, I'm throwing caution to the wind
(Heh.  Just caught my typo.
"throwing caution to the wine.")
and I'm making meatballs for a change.

1 lb and then some ground beef
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2  cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup red and green pepper, finely chopped
1/4 cup cream
1 tsp dried oregano
2 TB fresh parsley
freshly ground salt and pepper

Onions, garlic, parsley, and peppers.
You want a fine mince since these are going into little meatballs.

In case you're wondering what that is in the background,
it's our knife sharpener.

 The two best tools in your kitchen are your hands.
Use them.
Mix all ingredients together.

Roll mixture into one-inch or thereabout balls.

Heat up a skillet and add 1 TB butter and 1 TB oil.
When butter is sizzling,
add in meatballs.
Brown them, turning.
You don't want to cook them all the way through
because I'm going to finish off my spaghetti sauce
with the meatballs,
letting them finish cooking in the pot of sauce
for about 20 minutes.
This not only gives you tender meatballs,
but also adds so much flavor to the sauce.

Spaghetti Sauce
1 28-oz. can dice tomatoes
1 28-oz. can tomato sauce
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
some red and green peppers, chopped
1 TB oil
handful of fresh thyme, finely chopped
handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 TB dried oregano
(For some reason, I lost my oregano plants in the garden.)
Heat oil in skillet and add in onions and peppers.
Let them cook a minute or two,
then add in the garlic and cook another minute.

If you add the garlic at the beginning,
when your pan is very hot,
you may risk burning the garlic.
Burned garlic is bitter and
you'd have to clean the pan out and start over.

Add in the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and herbs.
Always remember to rinse out your cans
back into the pot and use every bit of juice.
Don't waste!
Bring to a boil, then reduce to slow simmer.
I let this cook for at least an hour.
The longer it cooks, the better.
Add the meatballs in for the last 20 minutes of cooking.

As for cooking the sauce, 3-4 hours is nice.
The flavor only gets better.

Neat little piles of garlic, onion, and peppers.

Cook the onion, pepper, and garlic, for a few minutes,
then add in the tomatoes.

I used that much parsley and thyme.

Add to sauce.

Add in the oregano.
Very low simmer.
Stir every now and then to freshen the pot.

I want you to look at the next two pictures
and notice the difference between the tomato sauces.
I just started on this tomato sauce.

This is the same sauce after a couple of hours 
of simmering and reducing and thickening and developing flavors.

Notice I've seared the meatballs in the second picture.
Do not cook them through.
We're going to finish them off in the sauce.

Add the meatballs to the sauce, cover, and slow-simmer for 20 minutes.

For the toasts:
Yes, I would prefer to take time out
 and make my own artisan breads,
but one can't do that at the drop of a hat.
That's why I always have Schwan's baguettes
in my freezer at all times.

I melted some butter in a little oil until bubbly
then added in some fresh parsley, thyme, and oregano.

Slice the baguettes
and dip into the herbs and melted butter.
Bake at 350° until nice and toasty and golden brown.

I had excess herbs leftover from the toasts,
so I added that to the sauce.

Here's an idea for you.
I was taking my Parmesan cheese out for grating,
and found the package of Parmesan rinds I've been saving.

Toss in the Parmesan rinds,
turn up the heat, slightly, and let 'em melt.
And there you have another pocket of flavor.

As you know,
Rosie loves her pockets of flavors.

Apparently this was a hit.
Nothing was left.
And I forgot to put the grated Parm on it!

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