Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Juicy Italian Meatballs and Umami Spring Angel Hair Pasta

I had a lot of ground beef and ground pork in the freezer.  I decided to use half for italian meatballs and use half for swedish meatballs.  I'll get to the swedish meatballs in another post.  For now, I'll just share my recipe for italian meatballs.  The milk soaked breadcrumbs really kept the meatballs moist and helped hold their shape.

Italian Meatballs
1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground pork
1 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup minced onions
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten
3 tbsp oregano
3 tbsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tbsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp pepper

Soak the breadcrumbs in milk.   Saute onions until soft and translucent.  Set aside to cool.
Mix together ground beef, pork, soaked breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, egg, oregano, salt and pepper.  Once onions are cool to the touch, combine onions with meat mixture.
2 heaping tablespoons at a time, form the meatballs by lightly patting with the palms of your hands.
Heat a large frying pan w/ enough oil to just cover the surface.  Pan-fry the meatballs over med-low heat until brown on all sides, carefully turning once on each side, about 1 1/2 min each side.

I didn't feel like a saucy pasta dish, so decided to do a light spring angel hair pasta dish and topped it with a few meatballs.  The umami flavor of the pasta was sensational.

Umami Spring Angel Hair Pasta
16 oz. dried angel hair pasta
1/2 cup reserved pasta water
2 anchovy fillets
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in halves
2 cups baby spinach
2 cups parsley leaves
1/4 cup onion, thinly sliced
3 tbsp garlic, minced
Any other vegetables you have around, julienned
Freshly grated parmesan cheese, to taste
White pepper, to taste

Cook pasta in boiling salted water until al dente (see package instructions).  Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water and set aside.  In a large saute pan (I used the meatball pan with all the pan drippings), saute the anchovy fillets and onions over med-low heat.  Cook until fillets are melted and onions are translucent.
Add garlic to onion mixture.  Stir for 30 seconds.
Add parsley, spinach, tomatoes and other vegetables.  Cook until spinach and parsley are just wilted.
Take pan off heat and toss in pasta.  Stir in reserved pasta water 2 tablespoons at a time to make a light sauce.  Be careful not to add too much, the sauce should not be too watery.
Mix in parmesan cheese and pepper to taste.  I strongly advise tasting before adding the cheese.  The anchovy fillets make up half the salt element in this dish.
Serve with meatballs.


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