Tuesday, February 03, 2009

On Top of Spaghetti

On top of spaghetti
All covered with cheese,
I lost my poor meatball
When somebody sneezed.

It had been eons since I'd made meatballs, but reading yet another rave about Sellwood food cart Garden State's meatball sandwiches had me craving some of those orbs of meaty perfection smothered in marinara and served with spaghetti. And since my meat-loving brother and his bride were coming for dinner, it made a perfect excuse to whip up a batch.

I'd seen a recipe for meatballs from winemaker Athena Pappas of Boedecker Cellars in a recent issue of MIX magazine, so I pulled it out. Hers used cooked potato as the binder rather than bread crumbs and were all beef, whereas I tend to like a half meat-half sausage mix for the extra moisture and flavor the pork fat delivers.

So with that in mind, I made a batch of my Basic Marinara Sauce, plopped in the browned (but not cooked through) meatballs and simmered them for a half hour or so in the sauce, then served them over spaghetti. The meat juices added that just-right touch of meatiness to the sauce, pulling the whole dish together.

It's definitely not going to be another eon before I make these again, and the recipe could easily be tweaked with different ground meats, or tilted to other cuisines (like Indian, Mexican or Moroccan) by adjusting the spicing. Delicious!

Mama's Meatballs
From Friday Night Dinner Party, by Athena Pappas, MIX magazine, Oct.-Nov. '08

Makes about 42 1" meatballs

1 medium russet potato, peeled and quartered
2 tsp. olive oil
1 large onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 lbs. lean ground beef [I used a pound each of Italian pork sausage and beef - KAB]
1 egg, beaten
¼ c. grated parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
¼ c. roughly chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil, for frying

In a small saucepan, boil the potato in generously salted water until soft, about 20 minutes. Drain, mash and set aside. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more.

In a large bowl, add the mashed potato, the onion-garlic mixture, ground beef, egg, parmesan cheese, oregano, parsley, salt and pepper. Mix together thoroughly with your hands. Moisten your hands lightly with water and form rounded tablespoons of the meat mixture into small ovals.

Heat a thin layer of oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Fry the meatballs until cooked all the way through, turning to brown them evenly, a total of about 6 to 8 minutes. Serve immediately.

Adapted from Fifi Thomas Psihogios, in “Flavor It Greek!” by Philoptochos Society of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church.


Anonymous said...

Hey Kathleen. I'm a new food blogger in Corvallis. I love the "Blog for Food" idea. How do I put the banner on my site?

Thanks! Laura

Kathleen Bauer said...

Either e-mail me or Tami (at the Pacific NW Cheese Project) and we'll send you the materials. Good luck with your blog, and thanks for asking!

bb said...

Those meatballs for my taste were perfect! Love the pic, too. Very attractive how you laid out each strand of spaghetti one at a time!

Kathleen Bauer said...

Aw, you're just too easy...dangle a little meat on a string and you leap, right? Seriously, though, it's always fun to cook for an appreciative audience!