Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Recipe Spotlight: Spaghetti and Meatballs... That's Amore!

Spaghetti and meatballs is my favorite food. Period. There is just something about a pile of hot spaghetti smothered in thick garlicky red sauce with freshly grated Parmesan cheese that makes my mouth water. Add a couple meatballs oozing with more cheese and garlic and I'm in heaven. It really doesn't get any better than this!

Spaghetti and Meatballs
Meaty, cheesy, noodley perfection for the Godfather in you! 
Serves 4

For the meatballs
3/4 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 lb. bulk Italian sausage (or 3 links removed from casing)
1/2 c. Italian seasoned dried breadcrumbs
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
2 tblsp. fresh parsley, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tblsp. minced red onion (optional) 
1 tblsp. dried oregano
1 tblsp. extra virgin olive oil (in meatballs)
4 tbslp. extra virgin olive oil (for cooking)
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper

For the spaghetti
1 lb. spaghetti
1 jar marinara sauce
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 tblsp. extra virgin olive oil 
1 tblsp. fresh parsley, chopped (optional)
Parmesan cheese, grated, for topping

To prepare meatballs: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat large skillet with 4 tbslp. extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Combine all meatball ingredients in a large bowl. Work with your hands until ingredients are mixed. Do not over mix. If mixture seems dry add another egg. If mixture seems too wet add more breadcrumbs. Form into evenly sized meatballs (in between a golf ball and tennis ball size is perfect.) Once the meatballs are formed place them in large skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes per side on all four sides. Once the outside is lightly and evenly browned place in casserole dish coated with non-stick spray. (Reserve skillet with meatball juices.) Cook meatballs in oven for 20-25 minutes until cooked through. Remove from oven. (You will add them to pasta sauce, see below.)

To prepare spaghetti: Boil noodles in large pasta pot according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat meatball skillet with juices over medium heat and add onion, green pepper and garlic. Saute until soft, about 8 minutes. Add jar of pasta sauce, stir to heat, and then turn heat to low. Add meatballs to pasta sauce and cook together for a few minutes while noodles are finishing cooking. Drain noodles and place on four plates. Top each pile of noodles with sauce and a few meatballs. Finish with grated Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley. THAT'S AMORE!!!

Recipe author: Sarah Saubert

Wine of the Night
There is no better wine to pair with my favorite Italian meal than my favorite Italian wine- Chianti. I drank Chianti frequently while living in Italy, and it is the wine that made me fall in love with wine. When I stick my nose in a glass of Chianti and breathe in the rich, earthy aromas I am transported back to Tuscany- to lazy afternoons on piazzas, to boisterous pizzerias with flirty pizza-makers, to carefree strolls in the Etruscan hills- to happiness. The Chianti of the night was Gabbiano, and I saw this wine everywhere in Florence. It was a frequent "house wine" offering at neighborhood restaurants and was incredibly affordable. Thankfully, it's easy to find and affordable here in the States too. Ahhhh grazie alla Italia!

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