What a rollercoaster two months! My sister moved back from three years abroad, work returned to its dizzying pace and I shopped myself into a retail coma three times over.
That said, it’s high time I get back into the swing of things. I have been busy taking photos of everything I have been making and will do my best to update them here with more effort than I was able to put forth last year. Promise!
It has been snowing here in Vancouver, which is fairly unusual and very exciting, so I have been making a lot of cozy meals. This one for meatballs in a simple roasted tomato sauce is a new favourite. If you are looking for a good family friendly crowd-pleaser, I seriously recommend rallying the troops and getting busy in the kitchen. Make a mess! It’s only half the fun (besides eating), right?
1 package linguine, fettucine or spaghetti
For the sauce:
6-8 roma tomatoes, quartered and seeded
4 tbsp. olive oil, divided
salt & pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
2-3 tbsp. red wine, whatever you have on hand
8 oz. can tomato sauce (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
3 tbsp. fresh basil, finely chopped
For the meatballs:
½ pound or 225 g. lean ground beef
½ pound or 225 g. ground pork
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/4 cup panko flakes
1 tbsp. sriracha sauce
½ cup finely grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
3 tbsp. Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 slices white bread, torn into small pieces (1 cup packed)
1/4 cup whole milk
Extra-virgin olive oil, for frying (about 3 tablespoons)
For the sauce:
- Preheat oven to 450ºF.
- Drizzle tomatoes on a baking sheet with 2 tbsp. olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20-25 minutes, until the bottoms have browned. Roughly chop into pieces and set aside.
- Begin making meatballs: Mix together beef and pork using your hands. Stir in garlic, cheese, parsley, eggs, panko, sriracha, and 1 1/4 tsp. salt; season with pepper. Soak bread in milk for 5 minutes, and then stir into meat mixture.
- Lightly dampen hands, and roll mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls, transferring to a rimmed baking sheet as you work. Refrigerate for 1 hour, or until your sauce is cooked (next step).
- Heat remaining olive oil in the pasta pot. Add garlic and crushed red pepper, stirring and cooking for 1 minute. Add tomato sauce, tomatoes, and red wine and bring to boil.
- Keep sauce at a gentle simmer in a medium pot. Meanwhile, heat oil in a heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, fry meatballs, shaking skillet occasionally, until brown all over, about 6 minutes, and transfer to sauce. Simmer until meatballs are cooked through, about 10 minutes. (Test doneness by cutting 1 meatball open.)
- Cook pasta in boiling, salted water according to package directions. Add pasta and toss, season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle cheese and basil over the pasta and serve.