tomato sauce

Classic Meatballs

by Anne Maxfield on January 21, 2019

Accidental Locavore Spaghetti and MeatballsEvery now and then you need a meatball fix.

And every now and then you just want the comfort of spaghetti and meatballs.

With a winter storm about to hit, it seemed like the perfect time to whip up a batch of my favorite classic meatballs.

This recipe on the Food52 site from Rao’s had to be pretty much the standard. It makes about 24 meatballs.

Classic Meatballs

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground veal
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
  • 1/2 small clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups fresh bread crumbs
  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • Olive oil, for cooking, about 1 cup

Combine beef, veal, and pork in a large bowl. Add the eggs, cheese, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper. Using your hands, blend ingredients together. Blend bread crumbs into meat mixture. Slowly add water, 1 cup at a time, until the mixture is quite moist. Shape into 2 ½” balls.

Accidental Locavore Frying MeatballsHeat about 1/4” oil in a large sauté pan. When oil is very hot but not smoking, fry meatballs in batches. When the bottom half of the meatball is very brown and slightly crisp, turn and cook top half. Remove from heat and drain on paper towels.

After browning them, if you want to cook them in sauce, use your favorite sauce and add the meatballs into the simmering sauce and cook for 15 minutes. Serve alone or with pasta and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Finished MeatballsMy verdict: About as good as they get!

It’s going to seem weird to be adding water when you’re making them, but it does get absorbed and the meatballs always come out great!

The amount of olive oil you’ll need will depend on the size of your pan and be sure not to crowd the meatballs or they’ll never brown. Better off to do them in batches.

What’s your go-to meatball recipe?

 

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A Simpler Eggplant Parmesan

by Anne Maxfield on September 3, 2015

Accidental Locavore Grilled Eggplant ParmAlthough it’s not a terribly difficult dish, the Accidental Locavore was experimenting with a simpler eggplant parm. Instead of breading and frying the eggplant, I opted for peeling it, slicing it thinly and grilling it. It’s still not a low-calorie dish, but slightly less of a fat delivery system…This makes about 4 servings:Accidental Locavore Grated Mozzarella

  • 2 medium-sized Italian eggplants, peeled and sliced ¼” thick
  • 1/3 cup olive oil, plus more for greasing the pan
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 small ball fresh mozzarella, grated (about ½ pound)
  • Grated Parmesan
  • 2 cups of your favorite tomato sauce
  • Fresh basil

 

Accidental Locavore Grilled Eggplant SlicesHeat a grill (or grill pan) to medium-high heat. Put the olive oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl, add the eggplant and toss gently until well-coated. Grill the eggplant for about 2-3 minutes a side, until it’s browned and tender.

Accidental Locavore Finished Eggplant ParmPreheat the oven to 350°. Lightly grease a gratin pan with the olive oil. Coat the bottom of the pan with tomato sauce. Add a layer of eggplant and top with mozzarella. Sprinkle with Parmesan and 4-5 basil leaves. Repeat with the tomato sauce, eggplant, mozzarella, Parmesan and basil. You should get 2-3 layers depending on the size of your pan. Top with more tomato sauce, mozzarella, Parmesan and your best-looking basil leaves. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the cheese is melted and starting to brown and the eggplant is warmed through. Serve and enjoy!

My verdict: A really good version of eggplant parm! While the sauce seemed a little thinner than normal, it may just have been that batch of sauce. I’m not sure if breading the eggplant would act as a thickener on the sauce, but it wasn’t a huge difference and certainly didn’t take away from the flavor or the cheesy goodness. What was different was that I wasn’t frying eggplant forever (and then cleaning up afterwards) – just popped it all on the grill. Doing this also gave me a chance to take all the peelers I’ve been collecting for a test run, so stay tuned for the results – kind of surprising.

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