Tuesday, August 6, 2013

I made food: Meatballs and tomato sauce

The other day I made one of my favorite foods, thanks to my sister providing me with her recipe...

(Sorry about the random objects in the background--I haven't really gotten my photography space set up yet. I do have a real camera finally though! With a macro setting and everything! It's a hand-me-down from my dad.)

Turns out meatballs and tomato sauce are incredibly easy to make (not to mention DELICIOUS), and one recipe makes a whole ton of sauce. I hope my sister won't mind if I reproduce her recipe here; it's pretty loose, so you can change it up however you like. (Her notes say "all quantities guesstimated", so really just experiment until you hit on your favorite concoction.)

Ingredients for the meatballs:
1-2 lbs. ground meat of whatever kind(s) you want (I used 1.5 lbs. of beef and got 14 medium-size meatballs)
1 egg
1/2 tbsp. each dried basil and oregano
chili powder to taste, if you want
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 tbsp. grated parmesan (I omitted this because my husband keeps kosher)
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup flour

Ingredients for the sauce:
about 1 cup each of celery, onions, and carrots, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup red wine
1 box (32 oz.) beef stock
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
3 tomatoes, diced (or you can use a large can of tomatoes, like I did)
a bay leaf

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Combine all the meatball ingredients in a bowl (use your hands! It's like delicious-smelling Play Doh), then form into balls. In a cast iron skillet or Dutch oven, heat some olive oil on medium heat, and brown the meatballs on all sides (this prevents them from falling apart, as I discovered...). Remove the meatballs and set them aside, and add a little more olive oil. Saute the veggies and garlic until softened.

Put the meatballs back in the skillet, add the wine and increase the heat to high. Let the alcohol boil off for a minute or so. Add the beef stock, tomatoes, tomato paste and bay leaf. Bring everything to a boil and stir to break up the tomato paste, then cover the skillet and put it in the oven for 90 minutes. (I actually left the lid of my Dutch oven slightly ajar to encourage the sauce to reduce.)

If you want the sauce to be smooth, you can take the meatballs out and blend the sauce--I used the immersion blender we got for our wedding. (Just don't blend the bay leaf!) But I've also left the sauce chunky, and that's fine too. Add salt and pepper to taste, and you're done! All you need is some pasta...

Seriously guys, this stuff is so good. Not overly sweet like some tomato sauces, lots of good vegetable flavor, and really moist meatballs!

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