Saturday, February 13, 2010


Returning home after a long trip to the frozen tundra that is New York in February, I dove right into my comfort food recipes of choice from the Barefoot Contessa Family Style.  This is my favorite of her books, and I have had more success from this one book than any other at making delicious food for friends and loved ones.  Time to get cozy.

Spaghetti & Meatballs
(recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa Family Style)
serves 6... but I like to make extra for sandwiches during the week

For the meatballs:
1/2 pound ground veal
1/2 pound ground pork
1 pound ground beef
1 cup fresh white breadcrumbs
1/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
a dash of cinnamon
1 extra large egg, beaten
vegetable oil
olive oil

Place the ground meats, bread crumbs, parsley, cheese, salt, pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, egg and 3/4 cup of warm water in a bowl.  Combine carefully with your hands.  Form mixture into 2 inch diameter balls.

Pour equal amounts vegetable and olive oil into a large skillet, to a depth of 1/4".  Heat the oil.  Very carefully, in batches of 4 or 5, place the meatballs in the oil and brown on all sides.  This is a bit tricky, and you have to pay close attention to keep the balls from sticking to the pan bottom.  Remove from the oil and put on a tray with paper towels to absorb the excess oil.  Discard the oil but do not clean the pan.

For the spaghetti and sauce:
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1-1/2 teaspoon  minced garlic
1/2 cup good red wine
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1-1/2 pounds spaghetti

Heat the olive oil in the meatball pan.  Add the onions and saute over medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for one more minute.  Add the wine and cook on high heat, scraping up all the brown bits from the pan until most of the liquid evaporates.  Stir in tomatoes, parsley, salt, and pepper.  Return the meatballs to the sauce, cover and simmer on lowest heat for 25 to 30 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through.  Serve hot with the cooked spaghetti and grated Parmesan cheese.

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