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"We do not earn or merit anything by taking refuge in God. Hiding in something makes no contribution to the hiding place. All it does is show that we regard ourselves as helpless and the hiding place as a place of rescue." John Piper

Monday, August 25, 2008

Real Food Recipes - The Best Pasta and Meatballs Ever

Since before my daughter's wedding I have intended to post this recipe. I am not quite back to posting a menu on Mondays, but I can at least share my recipe for this classic. This, if I may boast a little, is the best sauce and meatball recipe we (my husband and I) have had anywhere, ever. I tweaked a recipe by adding the bacon drippings, herbs and a few other ingredients. My husband tells me that it is the best for him also, and he is hard to please. To give you an idea, for the first five years of our marriage, he couldn't stop talking about his step-mother's spaghetti and meatballs. Since I introduced this recipe, he has ceased talking about her cooking altogether. I think I finally made the grade!

2 T. extra-virgin, cold-pressed olive oil
2 T. bacon drippings (from range-fed pigs raised with no growth-hormones, anti-biotics, and processed with no nitrites or nitrites)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Two 35-ounce cans Italian plum tomatoes, crushed (do not drain) (If you cannot find these, regular tomatoes will work fine.)
1 t. crushed hot red pepper flakes (optional)
1 t. crushed, dried basil leaf
2 bay leaves
Redmond Real Salt or real sea salt (is gray in color, not white), to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
*tomato paste (if necessary)

Directions: Heat oil and bacon drippings in a heavy 4 to 5-quart pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook and stir till onion is wilted, about 3 or 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook for one minute. Add tomatoes, pepper flakes, basil, and season lightly with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer, stirring frequently, for 30 minutes. *If sauce is too thin, add a little tomato paste to thicken, according to personal taste.

1/2 lb. ground pork
1/2 lb. ground beef
1 cup fine, dry sprouted bread crumbs
1/3 c. freshly grated Parmigiana-Reggiano cheese
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1/4 c. fresh Italian parsley (the flat-leaf variety)
1/2 t. each, dried crushed basil and dried crushed rosemary (or twice these amounts fresh, finely chopped)
1 t. salt (as mentioned above)
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
unbleached all-purpose flour for dredging
1/4 c. extra-virgin, cold-pressed olive oil
1/4 c. bacon drippings (as mentioned above)

Directions: Into a large mixing bowl, crumble pork and beef (do not mix yet). Add bread crumbs, grated cheese, garlic, egg, herbs and salt and pepper. Don your kitchen gloves and mix all ingredients until combined, but be careful not to over mix, as this makes the meatballs tough. Shape the mixture into 1 1/4-inch meatballs.

To dredge the meatballs, put flour into a one-gallon size zipper baggie. Add a few meatballs at a time, close bag and gently shake to coat meatballs. Repeat with remaining meatballs. Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add oil and fat to skillet, being careful that it does not smoke. Add meatballs to skillet without crowding so there is room to turn them. Brown, turning as necessary, until golden brown on all sides, about 6 or 7 minutes. Remove the meatballs to a platter and repeat process as necessary for remaining meatballs. Add browned meatball to the sauce, cooking gently for about 30 minutes.

1 lb. Tinkyada brand brown rice fettuccine or spaghetti
2/3 c. freshly grated Parmigiana-Reggiano cheese

Directions: Bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil in an 8-quart pot. Add pasta to water, making sure to stir 2 or three times to ensure that noodles do not stick together. Bring back to a boil and cook according to package directions. Drain pasta into a colander and rinse well with hot water, as brown rice pasta tends to stick to itself if not rinsed well.

Pile pasta on a large platter. Sprinkle with half of the grated cheese. Spoon sauce over pasta and top with meatballs and a sprinkling of remaining cheese.

Note: You can make the meatballs ahead of time and freeze them until you need them. They should last in the freezer for up to 6 months. Just follow the recipe for the meatballs only. After they have cooled on the platter, put them, in a single layer on a large baking sheet, leaving space in between them so they do no touch. Put the baking pan in the freezer for 3 or 4 hours. They should be frozen after this amount of time. Remove the meatballs from the pan and put into gallon zipper baggies and back into the freezer. When you plan to serve this meal, make the sauce and add in as many meatballs as you need (frozen). They will thaw out in the sauce. Just plan to add another 15-20 minutes to the cooking time for the sauce (and keep the flame on low). There! You've just cut your work load in half (or less) on the day you serve this recipe.

1 Comment:

Anonymous said...

Yea Sharon! I am sooooooo excited to finally get this receipe! Frankie and I heartily agree that it is the best sauce and meatballs we've ever tasted! When you made it for us you served it with penne pasta I believe. It was out of this world!
My Mouth is Watering Already,

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