Monday, December 20, 2010

Time Out!

Not the kid in the corner time-out, the mama is haggard and must take a breather time-out.  A simmering pot of goodness on the stove forces me to stop for a sec...really just because I have no choice when the most important ingredient to its success is patience.  The actual ingredients are mildly important too, but you know what I mean.   

Spaghetti with meatballs is a dish that warms you the whole way through, which is kind of convenient when it's 18 degrees outside.  After testing about a dozen variations of this combo over the years, I am pleased to report that I've found the keeper.  The meatballs have a wonderful texture and a delicious (and somehow subtle without being boring...does that make sense?) flavor.  I don't even recall from where I clipped the meatball recipe, and I've changed it a bit in my trials.  It's beautifully accompanied by Barefoot Contessa's sauce, which is rich and complex without being heavy. I am salivating as I type.  Here's the scoop:

Turkey Meatballs and Spaghetti

Combine the following ingredients in a large bowl:

1 1/4 lbs ground turkey (85/15 is totally what you need here)
1/3 cup grated Parmigiana Reggiano
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 extra large egg
16 saltine crackers, finely crushed

Shape the mixture into about 15 meatballs (1 1/2 inches or so each).  Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat, and cook the meatballs until browned on all sides. 

Meanwhile, heat a bit of olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan.  Add 1 cup of chopped vidalia onions, and cook until translucent, 8ish minutes.  Add 1 1/2 tsp of minced garlic, and cook for one minute more.  Add 1/2 cup red wine, and turn the heat to high.  Stir and cook until the liquid is almost entirely evaporated, about 3 minutes.  Stir in one 28-oz can of crushed tomatoes in puree, 1 Tbsp chopped fresh flat leaf parsley, 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt and 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper.

Add the meatballs to the sauce, and simmer on low for 30 minutes.  Serve with the al dente pasta of your choice, and don't hate on the Parm topping.

Not pictured but certainly not lacking (sorry for the double negative, Mom):  glorious garlic bread made by 1) slicing a ciabatta loaf lengthwise in half, 2) slathering it with butter, 3) adding a few dashes of garlic powder, a good dusting of an Italian dried herb blend, salt and pepper, and 4) toasting it until golden brown and crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.  I'll pretend this doesn't negate the health points I earned for using turkey in the meatballs.


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