Saturday, January 5, 2013

Bucatini and Meatballs

Perfection on a plate.

The start of a New Year brings new resolutions, like writing more in your food blog. Writing and cooking bring me a sense of accomplishment and calm. It must be something about working with your hands. So in 2013 I am trying to cook a new recipe a week, which will hopefully be followed by a blog post. 
Spaghetti? Nah, try the thicker, chewier Bucatini!

I started off the year sick and eating large quantities of soup, so I was craving something a little heartier for my first home cooked meal. Spaghetti and meatballs sounded perfect. I had never made meatballs before, nor was it something that we ate much of growing up. My mom always served a meat sauce or a simple marinara with our pasta. However, living in San Fran, AJ and I stumbled upon a quaint Italian restaurant, Emmy's Spaghetti Shack. The restaurant has a fun vibe that is anything but your typical Italian place (think panties on the wall kind of atypical). Their spaghetti and meatballs made me realize what all the hype was about. It was with Emmy's in mind that we went about making our own meatballs. A simple google search for the best meatballs served as the starting point.

Not just 1 kind of meat, but 3 kinds of meat (beef, pork, veal)!
We headed to the store and got 1/2 pound each of ground beef, pork, and veal (AJ said this was the secret ingredient). Meatballs are fairly easy to make, kind of like a meat loaf, but mini! You toss together meat, breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley, egg, garlic, and pepper. A few things we did differently - we went with a 6-serving size, used more meat, reduced the cheese (pecorino) to half a cup, omitted salt (the cheese was super salty), added pepper, and subbed panko for regular breadcrumbs. I read somewhere that panko makes for better meatballs. And instead of frying, we baked these at 425 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Is there sugar in that? Then yes! Sugar is the secret ingredient.
While the meatballs were cooking and the pasta water boiling, I started on a simple marinara. I heated 1/3 cup of olive oil on medium high, and sauteed 2 cloves of garlic, with a teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Then I added 1 tablespoon tomato paste and cooked that for a minute. Then I added a 32 oz can of crushed San Marzano tomatoes, a few spoonfuls of pasta water, and reduced the heat to medium. As I was tasting I felt the sauce needed a little balance to the salt and acidity. I added a tablespoon of sugar, which softened the flavors. Then I added ground pepper and chopped fresh oregano and parsley toward the end. 

We served our spaghetti over fresh bucatini instead of spaghetti. I really enjoyed the bucatini. It is thicker and chewier than spaghetti which really went well with the large meatballs. We used the leftover meatballs for subs the next day. Happy nomming and happy new year!


Raisin Canes said...

This dish was delicious! And I helped!

Ariel said...

You did an awesome job honey!

Mom/Mary said...

You guys are cooking up a storm! Another delicious Italian meal!