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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Pasta with Meatballs

This a fantastic and classic dish! The meatballs have a wonderful flavor, thanks to freshly grated nutmeg. 

Serves 4-6

For the sauce:
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
a handful of fresh basil, leaved picked off and stalks chopped
1 fresh red chili, pierced with the tip of a knife
2 x 14 1/2 oz (400g) cans chopped tomatoes
a dash of red wine vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the meatballs:
1 lb. (450g) lean ground beef
1/4 teaspoon dried red chili pepper
a pinch of ground cinnamon
1/2 a fresh nutmeg, grated
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon fresly ground black pepper
1 large egg
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
zest of 1/2 lemon (optional)

16 oz (450 grams) dried pappardelle or tagliatelle pasta
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

For the sauce, add the olive oil to a large pan over medium-high heat. Gently saute the garlic, basil stalks and the whole chili until fragrant.  Add the tomatoes and red wine vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper and gently simmer for half an hour.

Combine all the meatball ingredients together and form large marble-sized meatballs.  When rolling the meatballs, run your hands periodically under cold water - this will help make them dense and hold their shape.

Heat up a little olive oil in a frying pan and add the meatballs.  Cook until they have a nice brown color and then add them to the tomato sauce. Continue to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Salt the water, add the pasta and cook according to the package instructions, until al dente.  Drain the pasta in a colander, reserving a little of the cooking water for later use. 

Add the pasta to the meatball sauce and toss until the pasta is coated.  Add a handful of parmesan cheese and tear over the chopped basil leaves.  Add some of the cooking water to loosen the sauce if needed. 

Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

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