I can’t find a better way to mark my return to the blogosphere than sharing my favourite Italian dish of pasta and meatballs.
But first thing first, I apologise about the post drought on my blog.
It has been a crazy past couple of months from house hunting to moving house. Being in awe with the walk-in closet and the semi-new interior of the house we’ve just moved into, we missed the obvious – the phone line. The house didn’t come with a phone line. Since the move we have been surviving on wireless internet which for some reason, the reception is pretty crap. Apparently it has something to do with the fact that the roof is made of tin and not tile. This house is definitely not ADSL friendly. As I couldn’t leave my blog unattended any longer, I will be juggling between preparing blog posts offline at home and uploaded at work until a knight in a shining armour i.e my phone company technician come to my rescue.
Anyway back to my Italian fix.
Whilst Bolognese is my go-to Italian fix on week days, meatball pasta is my weekend treat. The key of good meatball pasta is obviously the sauce. It requires patience and time to ensure the flavours from the meatballs develops in the tomato sauce over slow heat. It’s definitely not something you can rush and get over and done with. Don’t you agree?
Fettuccine with Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
(Serves 4-6 people)
- 1kg ground beef
- 3 small onions (or about 2 large onions), peeled and roughly diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled
- ½ cup of fresh breadcrumbs (or one of the first slices of bread in a loaf)
- ½ cup parmesan, grated
- About 1.5 tbsp Masterfoods Italian Herbs or any dried mixed Italian herbs of your choice
- Freshly grind black pepper (about 5-6 times)
- Salt to taste (approximately a tbsp)
- 3 X 400g canned chopped tomatoes
- 4-6 servings worth of fettuccine or any long pasta of your choice (I’ve used about 750g/26 oz of San Remo Fettuccine)
- Additional grated parmesan for garnish
- Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
(To ease the preparation work for this recipe, I use a small food processor.)
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius (392 F).
2. To make fresh breadcrumbs, process a slice of fresh bread. Set aside in a bowl. Skip this step if you already have pre-made ones.
Note – If you don’t like the first and last slices of bread in a loaf or the bread crusts like myself, instead of throwing them away, I will save them up (kept in the fridge, of course) and use them for making fresh breadcrumbs.
3. In the same food processor, process garlic and onions until becomes fine particles.
4. In a large mixing bowl, combine ground beef, half of the onion-garlic mixture, 1 tbsp dried oregano, ½ cup grated parmesan, breadcrumbs, black pepper and salt until it forms meat dough. I used my hands for this step.
5. Then form tablespoonfuls of mixture into balls and place them on an aluminium/baking paper lined tray. Bake for 15 minutes or until well browned. Please note that the meatballs that didn’t make it to the tray I decided to pan fry them in step 6.
Feel free to pan fry the whole batch of meatballs instead of baking them. For me to stand through the whole process of pan frying a tray of meatballs is a bit arduous. Hence the ones which couldn’t fit onto the baking tray will be pan fried in order to get the flavour bits in the olive oil that will enhance the sauce.
6. Heat some olive oil in a large pot over high heat. When the oil is hot, add meatballs and cook, turning occasional until the meatballs are slightly browned on all sides. Remove from pot and set aside.
7. In the same pot, (while it is still hot and flamin’) add the remaining onion-garlic mixture and sauté over high heat until the onion is translucent. Lower the heat to low-medium, add ½ tbsp of dried oregano and tomato sauce.
8. Cook the sauce over medium – high heat until it starts to boil. Then turn the heat to the minimum and simmer for 1 hour. Get ready a glass of water beside the pot. Check and gently stir every so often and add more water when the consistency becomes too thick (or begins to stick on the bottom of the pot).
9. An hour later, the sauce is ready. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste. In the meantime, cook fettuccine in a separate large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and set aside.
10. To serve: Using a cooking tong or large serving fork, place some fettuccine on to a place and ladle some meatball sauce over it. Scatter some grated parmesan and chopped parsley.