Friday, December 17, 2010

Giant meatballs with angel hair pasta and basil pesto

What? That doesn't look like meatballs. Well, it's not. I just had to share a photo of Peter's very first souffle which he made last night using some of my wok-smoked turkey sausage, broccoli and cheese. It's a straightforward souffle recipe which you can find in a million places. Now on to the main event:

It seems odd going back and finding my own recipe for meatballs on this blog – don’t know why that is. The original was for pork meatballs. This time it was beef. But all the same flavorings worked with it.

To me the brandade is the defining ingredient. It gives the meatballs a lightness and moistness that otherwise can be elusive.

One wrinkle in my plans was getting a call to request a showing of the house from 4:30 to 5:30 last evening. But I got everything ready to go and was able to honor the request. It meant potentially having to have the meatballs in the oven when the realtor arrived. It turned out ok timewise.

I’m including one of the simplest recipes in the world, for sauté baby spinach (down below).

Giant meatballs with angel hair pasta and basil pesto
1 lb. beef chuck, home ground
3 oz. bread, cut into small pieces
3 oz. heavy cream or milk (or a combination)
2 egg yolks
3 scallions, white and green parts chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tbsp flour
salt and pepper to taste
7 oz. angel hair pasta
parmesan cheese and parsley for garnish

Made a brandade by soaking the bread in cream and/or milk.

Place the ground meat in a large bowl and add: brandade, scallions, garlic, egg yolks, oregano, thyme, pesto, flour, and salt and pepper. Mix together thoroughly (your hands best, though messy). Form a 1” ball and microwave it for 20 seconds or so and taste it for seasonings. Adjust as desired.

Form the meat mixture into 4 balls, and refrigerate them for at least an hour to firm them up.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place the meatballs on a “Pammed” cooking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and return to cooking pot. Toss with remaining basil pesto.

Serve in heated pasta bowls garnished with parmesan (to taste) and parsley. Top with the meatballs.

Simple sautéed spinach
12 oz. baby spinach
2 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp unsalted butter
a few pinches each of powdered garlic and onion
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil and butter. Add spinach. Toss while it wilts. Season with onion and garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste. What could be simpler?


Chris said...

Ummmm your meatball fell off the table and broke my foot! (ha ha)

That is a huge meatball! When I made Wolfgang Puck's recipe, it had ones that size too.

Jenn said...

No that's a big meatball!! :) I love meatballs, angel hair and meatballs found its way on our table quite a bit when I was a kid.
The souffle looks like it turned out perfectly!! Congrats to Peter!

Andrea the Kitchen Witch said...

Impressive meat ball Stephen! Sounds quite good indeed.

PS I finally got to Savory Spice shop today, what a find!! I loved it there and will be back again, thanks for the tip :)

Yenta Mary said...

Spinach just doesn't need anything more than to just shine on its own, does it??? And you're right -- it's the soaked bread that absolutely makes the tenderest meatballs!

Mary said...

Your meatball looks large but lovely :-). I use a pureed rice mixture to form mine. It works well too, but it is more work than yours. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

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