Friday, May 20, 2011

Spaghetti, Meatballs and Really Pretty Pictures

The genius at work

Meet Holly. She is a graphic-designing, photo-shooting, half-marathon running, all-around rockstar. She is also quickly becoming co-pilot of Project Cookbook.

Tonight marks the first official complete recipe for Project Cookbook. And thank goodness, the photos were taken by someone much more skilled than myself. Check these out!

Spring Greens Salad with Strawberries and Walnuts (also wine)

But the salad is nowhere near impressive as the main dish. 

The spaghetti and meatballs is based on my mom's recipes for the dish which, I believe, are based on recipes that originated from the Hilltop Inn in St. Louis, Missouri (Or Missura, if you're my mama).  These recipes aren't what my sisters and I grew up on, only because it's much more practical to crack open a jar of Prego and brown some hamburger than make sauce and meatballs from scratch when you chase after three (kinda bratty) daughters for a living. Once we got to a place where we not only appreciated my dear mother's cooking, but wanted something more than a jar of sauce over cooked up pasta, this is what she came up with.

The meatballs can be changed to suit your personal preferences. If you like meatballs with lots of textures and diverse flavors, I'd recommend finely chopping the ingredients that go into them. If you want them to be one texture and blended flavor throughout, finely puree in a food processor. If you (like me) enjoy them somewhere in the middle, pulse in a food processor until well combined, but not pulverized. Feel free to add some crushed red pepper to the spice mixture to heat these up.

The sauce can be customized in a similar way. If you prefer a chunky sauce, start with tomatoes and onions diced to a size you want in the finished product. If you want a smooth end product, it doesn't matter what kind of dicing you start with because it'll end up blended together. An immersion blender is super handy for this, but a traditional blender will work just fine. Be sure to allow the sauce to cool off a bit before and be very cautious pouring it (pointed away from you!) into the blender.

35 minutes (25 minutes unattended), Servings

  • 1 egg
  • 1 slice of bread
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese, coarsely grated
  • ½ small onion
  • 2 tbsp parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp. rosemary
  • ½ tsp. thyme
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • ¾ lb. ground beef
  • ¼ lb. ground turkey
1.         Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil and place a cooling rack over the pan
2.         In a food processor, combine egg, bread, parmesan cheese, onion, parsley, and garlic. Process until just combined.
3.         In a large bowl, combine the processed mixture, spices, and meats. Form into meatballs approx. 1” to 1 ½” in diameter and place onto a baking sheet.
4.         Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Marinara Sauce
40 minutes (30 minutes unattended), Serves 6

  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 28 oz. can of chopped tomatoes
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. oregano
  • ½ tsp. thyme
  • ¼ tsp. rosemary
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup snipped fresh basil1-2 Tbsp. sugar

1.         Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is tender.
2.         Stir in tomatoes, wine, salt, and spices. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 25-30 minutes.
3.         Stir in basil and sugar. Cover and cook for 5 additional minutes.
4.         Use an immersion blender or transfer to a traditional blender to smooth sauce, if desired.

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