Saturday, September 24, 2011

Spaghetti with Spicy Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

               I know it’s kind of embarrassing to admit, but this was the 1st time I ever made meatballs. Even as an avid cook, there are some “traditional” recipes I have yet to attempt. Included in this shameful list are chicken soup, meatloaf, an entire roasted turkey, etc… know, like the food that most of us grew up on that our grandmothers could recite in their sleep. I think that’s the reason why I haven’t dabbled in these tried and true home-style meals; my Mom and Grandma do one heck of a job cranking them out of their kitchen!  Recently though,  I felt the need to take on one of these meals, that being spaghetti and meatballs. I had an idea of how I would go about it, I first envisioned my mother making them…..stale bread, a trio of ground meat, egg, Parmesan cheese, and definitely some diced onion and garlic. Then, I looked in my fridge and noticed I had only bought ground beef, not veal, pork, and beef, and there weren’t any onions in sight. A huge block of mozz suddenly caught my attention and I had an “ah-ha” moment- cheese stuffed meatballs! Alright that was great and all but I still only had my mother’s recipe in my head and few ideas lurking in mine…..What did I do next you ask? Grab my idol chef, Giada De Laurentiis’s cookbook and see how she makes her meatballs. And can you believe that when I looked up meatballs in the index, it read “Meatballs, Spicy Smoked Mozzarella, Bucatini all’Amatriciana with”!?! Her recipe was cheese stuffed too! Wow, now I really know she’s my idol! Anyway, I did have to tweak her recipe a bit because although I apparently think like her, I don’t have a well-stocked and supplied pantry like her. The result- AMAZING! Just amazing I tell you. The meatballs were moist, full of flavor, and oozing with creamy mozzarella. They weren’t “my mom’s” or exactly “Giada’s”, but they were somewhere in between and pretty dang good if you ask me!

Spaghetti with Spicy Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs
Adapted from Giada At Home
Serves: 6-8
OBJ: TCW be able to finally make meatballs while following the guidelines of her idol, GiadaJ

1 small shallot, grated
1 TBS dried parsley
2/3 C plus ¼ C Parmesan cheese
1/3 C Italian-style seasoned bread crumbs
1 large egg
2 TBS ketchup
3 garlic cloves, minced
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
S & P: salt and pepper
16 ounces lean ground beef
2 ounces mozzarella cheese, cut into 14 (1/2 inch) cubes
¾ lb spaghetti
2 – 3 C marinara sauce

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, lower oven rack to the lower third of oven
2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper
3. In a large bowl, combine the shallot, parsley, 2/3 C Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, egg, ketchup, garlic, red pepper flakes, and a generous pinch S & P
4. Add beef, then using your hands mix well to combine
5. Shape the mixture into about 14, 1 ½ inch diameter meatballs and place on the prepared baking sheet
6. Press a deep indentation into the center of each meatball, and place a cube of mozz inside
7. Re-form the meatball so that the mozz is completely covered with the meat mixture
8. Bake the meatballs for 15-18 minutes, or until cooked through
9. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and make pasta according to box directions
10. Heat marinara sauce on a large, deep sauté pan over medium heat, add meatballs to sauce and let simmer for 5 minutes, stirring a few times
11. Add drained spaghetti to sauté pan with meatballs, toss well to incorporate
12. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese and a pinch S & P, serve!

No comments:

Post a Comment