Lola and Finn's Mum

Lola and Finn's Mum

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Ultimate Meatballs? A bold claim, but they are quite good!

(With apologies for a distinct lack of step by step photos; I was busy being birthday mum and host whilst all this was going on!)

So, recently for Lola's birthday tea we had meatballs and tagliatelle, along with the aforementioned angel cake, and regular readers of this blog will know that my children have never met a meatball they didn't like. I was looking for something completely different when I happened across this recipe, but I was, like, goaded into cooking these because of the extraordinary claim: Ultimate meatballs? Seriously? Will I ever want another meatball recipe after this one? Well, actually they really are rather nice and whilst I will seek out other meatball recipes, it does not mean that I don't rate these. It just means that I am a curiously annoying and inquisitive cook.

This is a recipe adapted from the one by Tyler Florence who I know little about, save for him being an American chef. The success of this dish has encouraged me to seek out some of his others. My tweak was to put a little mozzarella into the centre of the meatball.

Ultimate Meatballs with Pomodoro Sauce and Tagliatelle, adapted from Ultimate Spaghetti and Meatballs by Tyler Florence

Serves Mum, Dad, Lola and Finn and four others.

(Measured in cups, as it is an American recipe)
For the Pomodoro Sauce:
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
4 tins chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the meatballs:

Extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, smashed
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 cup milk
4 thick slices firm white bread, crust removed
1 1/2 pounds ground beef (mince)
1 1/2 pounds ground pork (mince)
1 large egg (I used two medium ones)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
A ball of mozzarella cheese, cut into chunks
Leaves from 3 sprigs fresh basil or parsley

To serve:

1 pound spaghetti, or pasta of your choice.


Make your Pomodoro (tomato) sauce. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the vegetables are soft, 4 to 5 minutes.

Carefully add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the sauce is thick, about 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring for a few minutes with a wooden spoon to further break up any tomatoes. Reduce the heat and let simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Stir in the fresh basil and season again. Set aside until required.

Bring a big pot of salted water to a boil for the spaghetti.

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a frying pan over a medium heat.

Add the onion, and cook until it is soft but still translucent, about 10 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and let cool.

Pour enough milk over the bread in a bowl to moisten and let it soak while the onions are cooling. 

Combine the meats in a large bowl. Add the egg and Parmesan and season generously with salt and pepper. Use your hands to squeeze the excess milk out of the bread and add that to the bowl along with the cooled onion mixture. 

Gently combine all the ingredients with your hands or with a spoon until just mixed together. Don't overwork or the meatballs will be tough. Test for seasoning. I fry off a little of the mixture to check for seasoning before I begin to roll the meat into balls.

When you're happy with the seasoning, roll the meat into balls, placing a little piece of mozzarella into the centre of each ball.

Heat some olive oil in the frying pan over medium heat and brown the meatballs on all sides, until cooked through. This will depend on the size of your balls, as it were, but my walnut sized ones took about 10 - 15 mninutes.

When the meatballs are cooked, combine the meatballs and the sauce together. Keep warm.

Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti or whatever pasta you are using in the boiling water until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain and put it onto a large serving platter. Spoon the meatballs on top of the spaghetti and garnish with basil leaves if you like, or parsley. 

Serve immediately along with extra cheese and any sauce you have left over.

1 comment:

  1. Looks delish Stella! Very similar to mine...yummy!


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