Monday, February 28, 2011

Big Italian Dinner!

I feel like spaghetti and meatballs is always a dish that you compare to your parents (or grandparents!) so I was nervous to make this for the Lawyer but he loved it! And it wasn't a boyfriend lie! I first had this meatball recipe when Grandma Nancy made it for me and even better, it's a Wegman's recipe (♥!)! Grandma made the meatballs according the recipe, the first time I made them I used asiago cheese and they were still amazing. This time I followed the recipe and used pecorino romano. I would change nothing about this recipe unless you wanted to experiment with the cheese, which I completely approve of. The panko breadcrumbs are essential (and we all know what a sucker I am for panko!) These are my go to meatballs!

Wegman’s Meatballs!

(Wegmans obviously)
1 cup Panko Breadcrumbs
2 large eggs
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano Cheese
2 tsp minced Garlic
2 Tbsp minced fresh Italian parsley
1 tsp McCormick Italian Seasoning (or a dash of oregano/basil)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 lb Wegmans 80% Lean Ground Beef
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
1. Add panko, eggs, water, cheese, garlic, parsley, seasoning, salt, and pepper to large bowl; stir to combine. Add beef; mix by hand until just combined (use the claw! overmixing will toughen meatballs). 

2. Scoop up about 3 Tbsp meat mixture to form balls; smooth by rolling in cupped hands. Arrange meatballs on baking sheet, about 1 1/2-inches apart. 

3. Bake 15-17 min or until internal temp reaches 160 degrees.

I also tried a new sauce recipe out. It was pretty good although the name was misleading. I could taste the spicy but not the basil (except for the torn basil we put on top, from my very own basil plant!) I also simmer the meatballs in the sauce for a while after they come out of the oven. Supposedly the pine nuts add a creaminess to the sauce but I'm sure it would be fine without them because 1/4 cup pines nuts is equal to one month of my rent, just kidding! (except not really, those nuts are expensive!) While I'm not as in love with recipe as I am my Wegman meatballs I would make it again, but I would also experiment with new recipes. I did omit the fennel seeds because of my intense (and unfounded?!) hatred of fennel seeds. I like fennel bulb but for some reason I just cringe when I find fennel seeds in my pizza or spaghetti sauce.
Spicy Tomato-Basil Sauce 
(Bon Appétit) 
4 1/2 cups canned crushed tomatoes with added puree (from two 28-ounce cans), divided
1/4 cup pine nuts
4 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon fennel seeds (finely crushed in plastic bag)  or not.
3/8 teaspoon (or more) dried crushed red pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Place 1 cup crushed tomatoes in blender. Add pine nuts and blend until very smooth, about 1 minute. 2. Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-low heat. Add onion, garlic, fennel seeds, and 3/8 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper. Sauté until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. 
3. Add remaining crushed tomatoes, 2 tablespoons chopped basil, wine, and oregano. 
4. Scrape in tomato mixture from blender and stir to combine. 
5. Simmer sauce until flavors blend, 5 to 6 minutes. 
6. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more dried crushed red pepper (I did add more red pepper)
7. Add your meatballs!

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