Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Italian meatballs

Spaghetti with meatballs is an American Italian classic. And, thanks to Lady and The Tramps, it's cemented its position as one of the most romantic dishes out there, too. Though for the life of me I don't know why.

I can't imagine igniting flames of passion by the slurping sound I made when sucking on those strands, nor the sight of me with half of the tomato sauce all over my face (and, inevitably, all over my white shirt). 

Then again, the said couple's concept of a perfectly acceptable dating etiquette without a doubt also included snooping around each others' pee and sniffing each other bums. So, go figure. 

Somehow still this is what we had on Valentine's Day. And yes, I wore white. Not a whole lot of bum-sniffing went on, though...

Serves 4-5

Italian meatballs:

500 gr mince (pork, beef or their mixture)

1/2 dl breadcrumbs
1/2 dl Parmesan, finely grated
1 generous dl milk
1/2 onion
3 large cloves of garlic
3/4 dl finely chopped sun-dried tomatos in basil oil, drained 
(use the oil for sautéing onion and garlic!)
3/4 dl finely chopped fresh basil leaves
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
salt, black pepper

Combine breadcrumbs and Parmesan with milk and leave to soak. You want the mixture to be soggy, so if they've soaked up too much of the liquid, add some more. Finely mince (or puré) the sun-dried tomatos.

Finely chop onion and garlic and sauté in oil (from sun-dried tomatos) until very soft and translucent. Add into the Parmesan mixture along with the rest of the seasoning. Work into the mince so you'll have a smooth mixture. Chill for half an hour and in the meanwhile get the tomato sauce going.

Tomato sauce:

1/2 onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 generous tbsp butter
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1 tbsp tomato pure
1 dl red wine
1 tbsp sugar
500 g passata (or 400 g tin finely crushed tomatos) 
salt, black pepper

to serve: fresh basil, fresh Parmesan

Finely chop onion and garlic and sauté in butter. Take your time and realy let them get soft. Then add chilliflakes, sugar and red wine. Bring to boil and cook for 5 minutes. Then add the remaining ingredients. Season and let simmer for half an hour. Check the taste and season as needed.

Cook a little tasting meatball to see if the seasoning's in check. Then roll the mixture into 25 meatballs. Drop into the tomato sauce and leave to cook for about 20 minutes. In the meanwhile cook the pasta.

Scatter some fresh basil leaves on top of the meatballs and serve with pasta and some freshly grated Parmesan. 

If you'be been following us for a while now, you've probably gpt the hang of our taste in wine and already guess, what's our wine pairing for this dish. Yep, you guessed it: Planeta Etna Rosso. The light, mineral acidity of the grape (Nerello Mascalese) and this - now those two are a real match made in heaven. Primitivo (or its American cousin Zinfandel) is another Italian that would go well with this. 




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