Monday, September 28, 2009

Giant meatballs with spaghetti and a pattypan galette

Even the best recipes can always be improved. On Jan. 19 of this year I posted a recipe for giant meatballs. They were made from Jimmy Dean sausage, which I happened to have had in the freezer, having bought it at a considerable saving.

When I came home from Safeway last week with some pork loin chops I knew from the get-go I was going to have another round of giant meatballs. In the days before I acquired a digital camera, I had to beg, borrow and steal pix to use with my postings. The original one for these meatballs is kind of amusing: it's a collage - a little goofy, but effective enough.

Above you see a photo of the latest meatballs. Why do I make them so big? It just amuses me and, from a presentation standpoint, it's impressive, no?
Spaghetti with giant meatballs and pattypan galette (4 servings)
1 lb. pork loin chops
3 oz. crusty bread, cut to 1/3" dice
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 eggs, yolks and whites separaed
3 scallions, white and green parts chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1/4 bread crumbs
1 tbsp flour
salt and pepper to taste
8-10 oz. whole wheat spaghetti or other pasta
2 cups chopped cabbage
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp fennel seed, smashed with a mortar and pestle
2 pattypan squashes (palm sized), sliced into rings 1/8" thick (use a mandoline)
parmesan cheese
chopped fresh parsley (optional)
If the loin chops are on the bone, cut out same. Leave as much or as little fat as you wish. Cut into 1" pieces and chop in food processor as you would for any ground meat.
Make a brandade by combining the bread and cream in a bowl and mashing up a bit to that the cream is absorbed.
Place the ground pork in a large bowl and add: brandade, scallions, garlic, egg yolks, thyme, oregano, breadcrumbs, flour, salt and pepper. Mix together thoroughly (using your hands is best but best). Form a 1" ball with a bit of the mixture and microwave it for 30-40 seconds. Taste for seasonings and adjust as desired.
Form the pork mixture into 4 meatballs. Refrigerate them for at least an hour to firm them (they may be quite "wet," at least mine were).
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place the meatballs on a "Pammed" cooking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Allow to rest 5 minutes before serving.
Cook spaghetti according to package directions until just al dente (it's going to cook a bit more with the cabbage). While the pasta cooks, heat 1 tbsp each of oil and butter in a saute pan. Add the cabbage, fennel seed, and salt and pepper to taste. Saute until softened and lightly browned, 5-6 minutes.
Using a spider, transfer the pasta to the cabbage pan and toss to combine. Serve in heated bowls with grated parmesan and chopped parsley as garnish.
Pattypan galette
This was a fun way to prepare the squash.
Brush both sides of the squash slices with lightly beaten egg white. Arrange slices in a circle on a greased plate the diameter of the base of a large saute pan (make sure you use one with sloping sides), overlapping as necessary. Set aside to allow the egg white to dry somewhat. This while form a kind of "glue" to hold the galette together when it cooks.
Heat 1 tbsp each butter and olive oil over medium high heat until the butter is melted and just starting to brown. Slide the galette into the pan, cover the squash with a piece of foil and place a weight on it (an empty teakettle can be perfect for this). Cook until the bottom is well-browned (4-6 minutes). Slide the galette out onto a plate; invert a second plate over it; flip it over and slide it back into the pan. Again weight and cook another 4-5 minutes until the second side is browned. Slide out onto a cutting board and divide into 1/4's to serve. Garnish with parmesan and chopped parsley as desired.

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