Category Archives: Salad

I found it, I found it!

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I think I found my “go to” spaghetti and meatball recipe. I really love a good red sauce that tastes like it could be authentically Italian. I know taste is a matter of opinion, but I think this sauce had the perfect mix of flavors for me. I also love meatballs a little more than the average person probably should, and these were fantastic meatballs. I think the method of soaking the bread in milk made a difference (see instructions below.)

The recipe came from the Jan. 09 issue of Gourmet. It’s their cover recipe, actually, titled Spaghetti and Meatballs. I halved the recipe because I wanted to freeze leftovers, but not THAT many leftovers. The recipe here is listed “as is,” not halved.

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Spaghetti and Meatballs (recipe from Gourmet, Jan 09)

Serves 12 TO 16;  Active Time: 2 HR; Start to Finish: 3 HR  

FOR TOMATO SAUCE     

Ingredients       

  • (28-oz) cans whole tomatoes in juice (preferably San Marzano *I did find this kind of tomato, and I think it did make a difference in the flavor)
  • 2medium onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil *Use a good quality oil because this is really flavoring the sauce
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • FOR MEATBALLS  

    Ingredients

  • 2medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 10 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 cups torn day-old Italian bread
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1/4 lb)
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped oregano or 1 tsp dried, crumbled *I used fresh
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 lb ground veal
  • 1 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 1 1/2 lb ground beef (not lean)
  • 1 cup olive or vegetable oil
  • FOR PASTA

    Ingredients

  • 2 lbs dried spaghetti
  • ACCOMPANIMENT:

  • grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • EQUIPMENT:  

  • a 12- to 16-qt nonreactive heavy pot or 2 smaller nonreactive pots; a 6- to 8-qt pasta pot with a pasta/steamer insert for cooking spaghetti in 2 batches
  • MAKE SAUCE:

    Drain tomatoes, reserving juice in a large bowl. Crush tomatoes with your hands and add to juice. *I thought this would be a pain in the butt, but it was actually really fun.

    Cook onions in oil in pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes with their juice, 4 tsp salt, and 1 tsp pepper. Simmer sauce, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Season with salt. *I did not add any more salt.

    MAKE MEATBALLS WHILE SAUCE SIMMERS:            

    Cook onions in extra-virgin olive oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl to cool.

    Soak bread in milk in another bowl until soft, about 5 minutes. Firmly squeeze bread to remove excess milk, discarding milk.

    Stir together cooled onion mixture, bread, eggs, parmesan, parsley, oregano, lemon zest, 5 1/2 tsp salt, and 1 1/2 tsp pepper until combined. Add meats to bread mixture, gently mixing with your hands until just combined (do not overmix).

    Form meat mixture into about 70 (1 1/2-inch) balls with dampened hands, arranging meatballs on 2 large baking sheets or in shallow baking pans.

    Heat olive or vegetable oil (1 cup) in a 12-inch heavy skillet (preferably nonstick) over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown meatballs in 4 or 5 batches (without crowding), turning frequently, about 5 minutes per batch. Return to baking sheets.<

    Add meatballs to sauce and gently simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, 20 to 30 minutes. (If pot is not large enough, divide meatballs and sauce between 2 pots.)

    My sauce simmering away on the stove:

    PREPARE PASTA:             

    Cook spaghetti in 2 batches in pasta insert in boiling salted water (3 Tbsp salt for 6 qt water *I did not add this much salt) until just al dente, draining and tossing each batch with some of sauce in a large serving dish.

    Serve with meatballs, remaining sauce, and grated cheese.

    COOKS’ NOTES:                        

  • Meatballs can be made and simmered in sauce 5 days ahead and chilled (covered once cool).
  • Meatballs with sauce can be frozen in an airtight container or heavy-duty sealable bags up to 3 months.
  • RECIPE BY MAGGIE RUGGIERO

    I served the spaghetti and meatballs with a red leaf lettuce salad with homemade croutons (had to make use of the leftover day old Italian bread!) We had blue cheese dressing because it’s my husband’s favorite… so I cheated and used store bought. 🙂

    I also made the Garlic Knots from “Amber’s Delectable Delights.” Thanks for posting, Amber! They were a huge hit. Here is the recipe with my modifications in italics. The source that Amber got the recipe from is listed too. Please visit her blog for some awesome pictures of how to tie the dough into knots!

    Soft Garlic Knots
    Source: I Heart Food for Thought adapted from King Arthur Flour

    Ingredients
    Dough

    3 cups bread flour
    1/4 cup milk
    1 tablespoon sugar
    2 teaspoons instant yeast
    1-1/4 teaspoons salt
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 cup + 2 tablespoons lukewarm water
    Glaze
    2-4 cloves peeled, garlic
    2 tablespoons melted butter
    1/4 teaspoon Pizza Seasoning or Italian seasoning, optional *I omitted.

    Directions
    1. For the dough – In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the dry ingredients together then add the olive oil, milk and water *I heated the milk and water a bit together on the stove. Using the paddle attachment or dough hook, mix and knead to form smooth, elastic dough, adding additional water or flour as needed. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover it, and allow it to rise for about 1 hour, until it’s doubled in bulk. *I mixed and kneaded by hand.
    2. Divide the dough into 8 pieces *For some reason, I got 11! I guess I don’t divide evenly well 🙂, and roll each into a rope about 10 inches long; tie each rope into a knot. Place the knots on a lightly greased or parchment lined baking sheet, cover, and let rise for 45 minutes to about an hour, until very puffy looking.
    3. To make glaze – Unpeel garlic cloves. Chop the garlic in a food processor (or you can use a garlic press), with the melted butter.
    4. To bake – Bake the knots in a preheated 350°F oven for 15 to 18 minutes *I let mine go for about 23 minutes because some of them were big. They were also kind of baking together because I used a small pan. They should be set, but only very lightly browned. Remove the knots from the oven, and brush or drizzle them with the seasoned butter. (You can reheat the butter briefly in the microwave, if it’s solidified).

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    Crab, Corn, and Tomato Salad with Lemon-Basil Dressing

    I’m trying very hard to do the whole warm-weather-summer cooking thing. The past few years, I’ve sort of opted out of making seasonal things in the spring and summer. I think I’ve been a bit confused about cooking things that don’t involve actual “cooking.” 🙂 This was definitely a good place to start! Recipe is from Cooking Light (June 2008 Issue).

    Crab, Corn, and Tomato Salad with Lemon-Basil Dressing
    (Serves 4)

    1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
    5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
    1 tablespoon extravirgin olive oil
    1 teaspoon honey
    1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1 cup fresh corn kernels (about 2 ears)
    1/4 cup thinly sliced basil leaves
    1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
    2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
    1 pound lump crabmeat, shell pieces removed
    8 (1/4-inch-thick) slices ripe beefsteak tomato
    2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (I used grape tomatoes. Close enough!)

    1. Combine rind, 3 tablespoons juice, and next 5 ingredients (through black pepper) in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Reserve 1 1/2 tablespoons juice mixture. Add remaining 2 tablespoons juice, corn, and next 4 ingredients (through crab) to remaining juice mixture; toss gently to coat.

    2. Arrange 2 tomato slices and 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes on each of 4 plates. Drizzle about 1 teaspoon reserved juice mixture over each serving. Top each serving with 1 cup corn and crab mixture.

    I Love Blueberries!

    So…I figured it would be fun to experiment with them in a new way! I tried the Mixed Greens with Blueberry Vinaigrette from the May 08 Cooking Light.  Recipe is to follow…

    from Cooking Light May 2008

    First you have to make the Blueberry Vinegar **note…start this early because it needs lots of time to sit!

    Blueberry Vinegar from Cooking Light May 2008
    1 cup blueberries
    3/4 cup white wine vinegar
    2 tablespoons sugar
    1/2 small bay leaf (I used a dried bay leaf. It turned ok!)

    Place blueberries in a small saucepan, and mash with a potato masher. Add white wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons sugar, and bay leaf to pan, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat; cover and let stand for 4 hours. Strain mixture through a fine sieve, and discard solids. Cover and chill. Yield: 1 cup (serving size, 1 tablespoon).  **note…This will stay good in the fridge for 2 weeks.  It’s very tasty!! They recommend using it as part of a marinade for pork, chicken, or duck.

    Mixed Greens with Blueberry Vinaigrette from Cooking Light May 2008
    3 tablespoons Blueberry Vinegar
    1 teaspoon honey
    1/2 teaspoon country-style Dijon mustard
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1 1/2 tablespoons extravirgin olive oil
    4 cups baby arugula leaves
    1 cup chopped frisée (Strangely, all my grocery store had was baby frisee, so I used that)
    1 cup blueberries
    1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion

    Combine Blueberry Vinegar, honey, mustard, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Gradually add oil, stirring with a whisk. Combine arugula, frisée, blueberries, and onion in a large bowl. Arrange 1 cup salad onto each of 6 plates; drizzle 1 tablespoon vinegar mixture onto each serving.  6 servings

    He was so cute…one last MEGA close-up (and an experiment with my new camera 🙂   )