Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Frankly, with all the complaining some of us did about the heat this summer, we were asking for it. The first weekend after Labor Day was cold in these parts. On Sunday we had the added bonus of a steady drizzle. Honestly, I couldn't have been happier. What better way to while away the day than curl up on the sofa and watch football while tomato sauce burbles away on the stove. This absolutely satisfied my meatball cravings.
Speaking of which, can we talk about my meatball cravings? Point of fact: as a child I did not like meatballs. Not even a little. I don't mean to cast aspersions on my mother's cooking skills, it was just the meatball itself. They just always seemed so squishy. And I did not like certain kinds of squishy. (Who are we kidding, I still don't. See: bananas, eggplant and rare hamburger.) But at some point, I outgrew this. Not only did I outgrow it, I just kept on heading in the other direction. Currently, there are three meatball recipes on this website. This makes four. I swear I'm not obsessed.
adapted from For the Love of Cooking
NB: THIS TAKES ABOUT 3 HOURS TO MAKE. I wasn't kidding about the football game and the rainy day.
for the sauce (PS - this is what takes so long, so if you want to speed things up, buy sauce!)
2 tsp oil
1/2 of a medium onion
6 oz of mushroom (I used baby bellas)- basically this is an 8oz pack with 6-7 mushrooms pulled out
3-4 cloves of garlic
42 oz of crushed tomatoes (this is about a 28oz can and a half)
1 T balsamic
1 t oregano
1 t sugar
at least 1 t red pepper flakes, but more if you like it on the spicier side.
for the meatballs/penne
1 box of penne
enough sauce (see above) - otherwise, I bet you'd need at least a full jar.
1 lb ground turkey (or beef)
6-7 mushrooms (what was left from the sauce)
1/4 C of onion
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 C bread crumbs
1/2 C Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese - 1/4C for the meatballs, 1/4 C for the topping
1 t salt
1 - 2 C shredded mozzarella cheese
for the sauce
Using a food processor, chop the onion, mushroom and garlic until it is a large dice. In a large pot, heat up your oil to medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, mushroom mixture and cook until soft 2-3 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients. Simmer covered for 2 hours (although I tasted mine after one, and it was really good, so you could probably quit there).
for the rest
Preheat your oven to 350F. Cook the penne according to the directions on the box. In a large bowl, mix together the bread crumbs and egg. Let this stand while you prepare the other ingredients. Blend the mushrooms, garlic and onion in the food processor until finely chopped, but not a paste. Mix this into the bread crumb and egg mixture. Add the 1/4 C of parm, plus the salt and pepper. Finally add the ground turkey and mix gently. Form into small meatballs. In a large skillet, cover the bottom with a thin layer of oil and heat to medium high. Add the meatballs and cook until they are browned on all sides, maybe 15-20 minutes. When they are done, set them aside. Mix the penne in with the sauce. Then VERY gently, stir in the meatballs, you do not want them to break. Then even more gently stir in about half of the mozzarella cheese. Carefully spoon into a large baking dish (I used my lasagna pan). Top with the remaining mozzarella and the final 1/4 C of parm. Cook for 20-30 minutes, but don't overcook or the cheese will dry out a bit.