Ok...I can hear all my Italian peeps, GASPING... loudly, LOL...
Good thing this recipe is so delicious that even they can't resist. Like all things American, this dish goes big...on size and taste. It delivers and doesn't disappoint. Italians wouldn't get so upset if they just let this go for what it is, Italian-American. That's it, end of story. It is freakin' delicious, say that with your best New York Italian accent, lol. As October is in full swing, all I want is a big bowl full of this comforting goodness. Pasta and meatballs all loved up with a rich tomato sauce and covered in cheese...Heaven. Now who can argue with that? Below is the link to my favourite pasta sauce.
Spaghetti and My Famous Giant Meatballs
Serves 6-8 about (2-3 meatballs per person)
Makes 20 "slightly larger than a golf ball" size meatballs
Serve with spaghetti and your favourite tomato sauce. Store bought or homemade, I won't tell ;)
Here's my favourite
To start: Will be added to meat mixture after cooking.
1 Medium carrot, finely chopped
1 Medium onion, finely chopped
3 Peppers, 1/2 each of red, yellow and green, finely chopped
90 ml. Extra virgin olive oil, plus more to sauté later
For the meatballs:
850 g. Beef mince, or mix of beef and pork
250 g. Extra fine bread crumbs
75 g. Grated Grana Padano cheese, plus more to serve
3 Eggs, beaten
90 ml. Milk, (full fat, semi skim or skim)
60 ml. Red wine vinegar
1 tbsp. Sweet paprika, pimentón dulce
2 tbsp. Tomato paste
2 tbsp. Dried oregano
2 tbsp. Garlic powder
1 tbsp. Fine Sea salt/ kosher salt (not table salt)
Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
Handful of fresh flat leaf parsley , chopped
To serve and finish:
1 kg. Spaghetti , cooked according to package instructions for "al dente".
Your favourite tomato sauce, feel free to use jarred.
(you will need about 4 (500 g.) jars
15-20 Cherry tomatoes, to serve, optional (feel free to sauté these in a little extra virgin olive oil if you wish)
Fresh torn basil, optional to serve
Crushed red chilli flakes, optional
Grana Padano cheese to serve
1. In a small saucepan on medium heat add olive oil, onions, peppers and carrot. Sauté gently for a few minutes, until onion is soft and translucent. Set aside. In a saucepan, gently heat your tomato sauce on low heat and keep warm, until ready to serve.
2. In a large bowl, add all ingredients for meatballs, including reserved onion, pepper and carrot sauté. Mix to combine well. Take handfulls of meat mixture and form small balls with your hands. I make mine a bit bigger than a golf ball. Place on clean plate as you make them all up.
Tip: As you can't taste raw beef, I like to take a tiny amount and quickly fry it in the non-stick pan in step 4. You do not even need any oil, it is to check salt and adjust raw beef mixture accordingly.
3. Pre-heat oven to 180°c/ 350°f. Add a few ladles of tomato sauce to bottom of a large baking dish.
4. In a non-stick frying pan, add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and heat to high. Add a few meatballs at a time and brown on all sides. You are not cooking them through at this point. Once they are all nicely browned, tranfer to baking dish you've prepared with tomato sauce.
Continue browning meatballs and adding to baking dish until all are browned.
5. Cover meatballs with more tomato sauce. Just enough to coat, but not completely submerge them.
Place in pre-heated oven and bake for 40 minutes.
6. During last 15 minutes of baking, heat a large pot of generously salted water for spaghetti. Cook according to package directions for 'al dente', about 12 minutes.
7. Turn off oven, but leave meatballs in until ready to serve.
8. Drain pasta and return to pot. Add tomato sauce to pasta and stir to coat. Add as little or as much as you'd like. Divide pasta among serving bowls. Top with meatballs, tomatoes, torn basil, chilli flakes and grated cheese.
Take a little bit of the mixture and pan fry it to taste for salt. Add more salt to mixture if needed.