Friday, April 20, 2012

Meatballs and Rigatoni

Another recipe from Pioneer Woman's second cookbook. In case you are wondering, no, I haven't become a food blogger ;-) Just review recipes from the new cookbook and trying to make myself get back into blogging a little more regularly.

This one took a little more effort than the last two, but still not terribly difficult. I again, made a few adjustments. I can't ever seem to follow a recipe to the T unless I'm baking. What does that say about me? Hmmm....
The first adjustment I made was the breadcrumbs for the meatballs. PW makes her own breadcrumbs with day old crusty bread, toasted and then blitzed in a food processor. I guess this is great if you find yourself without any breadcrumbs in your pantry and you're 30 minutes from a grocery store or you just simply don't want to go out. But I just don't find it necessary if you DO have breadcrumbs in your pantry. I did, and that's what I chose to use. I also don't have a food processor and I broke my blender a few months ago and haven't replaced it yet. So Panko breadcrumbs from Trader Joes it was.

Meatballs (with my adjustments):
aprox. 1/2 cup bread crumbs (unseasoned)
1 lb ground beef (PW uses 3/4 lb of beef and 3/4 lb of ground pork)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 egg beaten
1/4 cup fresh minced Italian parsley
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/24 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil for browning. 

Mix all the ingredients with your hands and then shape into balls. I used the medium cookie scoop from Pampered Chef to help make the balls. Place on a plate or a dish and then put them in the freezer for a few minutes to firm them up. 
In a heavy pot add the olive oil and heat on medium high heat. Brown the meatballs on all sides, working in batches to not crowd the pan. You don't have to cook them all the way through. When they're browned just put them on a plate and set aside til later. 
Start the sauce.

1 yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup red wine (I used white and this step is totally optional)
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
1 28oz can whole tomatoes
1/4 tsp salt
black pepper to taste
1 tsp sugar
1/4 minced parsley
12 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
I also added a dash of red pepper flakes to add a little kick.

After browning the meatballs, add in the onion and garlic and cook until the onion begins to soften. Add in the wine and cook for another minute. Add in tomatoes, salt, pepper, parsley and basil. Stir and cook for about 30 minutes.
Add the meatballs into the sauce and cook for another 30 minutes.
Serve over cooked rigatoni. 

I had 2 goods, one OK and one good, but too 'tomato-y'. Megan and I really liked it. But you can't really go off what Megan says because she pretty much likes everything. Jake liked it but prefers regular spaghetti always. Pete liked the meatballs but found the sauce too 'tomato-y' and watery. Pete is funny about tomatoes. He doesn't like any chunky tomato sauce. He won't eat a fresh tomato on anything. But he loves ketchup and spaghetti. The sauce just tasted like your basic tomato-basil sauce. I really liked it. But I like tomatoes. Pete just prefers a more thicker, heartier sauce. 
I'd definitely make the meatballs again. They were really yummy. But next time I'd probably use my regular sauce recipe or a jarred sauce to keep the boy happy. 


nicole said...

will definitely try these meatballs too!! (maybe for that sweet and sour meatball dish i mentioned on the quacamole post :)

Jude said...

i would use ready made bread crumbs too :) sounds yummy!!!