Sunday, February 5, 2012

Spaghetti with Meatballs


I have no idea why, but ever since I started cooking meat, I've been thinking about making spaghetti with meatballs. This became almost an obsession after I had an amazing version of the dish up in the Popup@Elgin.st restaurant around New Year's Day. All things considered, then, I have no idea why I've delayed making them until now.


This recipe is a bit of an adaptation of Fabio Viviani's; even though he says that you cannot have an Italian meatball without ricotta, there was no way I was going to put in a bazillion kilos of (fairly pricey) cheese into mine, especially considering that all this food and lack of exercise in my schedule is making me grow horizontally. I do really recommend the Japanese breadcrumbs (Panko) though. It adds a crispier flavour to the meatballs, but also helps to bind them together nicely.


All in all, from the creamy meatballs to the concentrated tomato and basil sauce, it was probably one of my best attempts at cooking. And they even tasted better than those at Popup@Elgin.st! ;-)

Tomato and Basil Sauce

Ease of Cooking Yummy Factor Apprx. Cost
HK$30 (US$4)
Ingredients (Serves 2)
1 can plum tomatoes in natural juice
4 cloves garlic, crushed
3tbsp concentrated tomato puree
3tbsp olive oil
Handful of basil
Salt and pepper

Directions
Fry garlic in 2tbsp oil on medium heat until golden brown.
Add canned tomatoes, tomato puree, and 1/2 cup of water into the pan. Stir.
Add a generous helping of basil, salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Heat for 10 minutes until it reaches a thick consistency.
All another tablespoon of olive oil. and heat for a couple more minutes.

Meatballs

Ease of Cooking Yummy Factor Apprx. Cost
HK$75 (US$10)
Ingredients (11 meatballs)
300g ground beef
60g parmesan reggiano, grated
1/3 cup parsley
1 egg
1 cup panko Japanese breadcrumbs
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 small red onion
1tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt ad freshly ground pepper

Directions
Mix all ingredients together until they're combined well and the mixture is nice and tight. Try not to knead the mixture to keep the texture of the ground beef.
Form golf ball sized meatballs with the mixture.
Place the meatballs in the tomato and basil sauce (above). Add about half a cup of water and simmer for 15 minutes.
Turn the meatballs, add another half a cup of water and simmer for another 15 minutes until they are cooked through. Add more water if sauce becomes too thick.
Serve with spaghetti!

Side dish: garlic bread

Note to self: The quantity is way more than we need for 2 people; cut down the beef to 100g and breadcrumbs to less than 1/2 cup. Adjust remaining ingredients accordingly.