Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Foodie Files

I usually employ the "if it's not broke, don't fix it" rule when it comes to the classics, but curiosity got the best of me this week and I decided to try a few new techniques in regards to my ol' faithful meatball recipe.  The results were astonishingly positive.  Sometimes you've just gotta switch things up, you know?  I like to try new, potentially risky recipes when I'm all by my takes an enormous amount of pressure off and I'm less likely to try and play it safe.  This particular recipe turned out so well I'm tempted to keep all the leftovers for myself!

For the meatballs-
16 oz ground pork
16 oz Italian sausage, removed from casing
1 1/4 cups breadcrumbs
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1 tsp thyme, chopped
2/3 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
3 eggs, lightly beaten
Salt and pepper to taste

For the sauce-
4 shallots, diced
3 garlic cloves, diced
3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
1 28oz can peeled tomatoes (San Marzano if you can find them!)
1 15oz can plain tomato sauce
1 6oz can tomato paste
4 bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large sauce pan heat extra virgin olive oil over a low flame, then add shallots and garlic.  

In a large mixing bowl add pork, Italian sausage, bread crumbs, parsley, thyme, salt and pepper.  Using your hands, mix the ingredients until evenly distributed (but not over worked).

Whisk beaten eggs, ricotta and parmesan together in a separate bowl until there are no large clumps.  Pour into meat mixture and mix until just incorporated.

Form meatballs in your hand, about 1 1/2-inches in diameter, using about 3 TBS of the mixture to form each meatball.  Pack tightly to avoid breakage.  Turn up your flame to medium and brown meatballs in shallots, garlic and oil mixture.

The garlic and shallots should caramelize a bit but keep an eye on them to ensure they don't burn.  Once all sides are browned, add tomato paste.  Allow 5-10 minutes for the tomato paste to develop some flavor, mixing occasionally (I read an article about this the other day and saw a big difference in my sauce).  Add tomatoes, sauce and bay leaves and simmer for about 2 hours.  Remove bay leaves (make sure you got them all!) and add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve alone or with pasta and top with parmesan cheese.


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