Our biggest snow of the year and it’s the first week of spring – oh well, may as well do some serious cooking!
Pork Meatballs in Marinara
Pork Meatballs ala Alexandra Guarnaschelli
2 pounds ground pork (I used some very fatty stuff – maybe shoulder – that my man brought home from a co-worker who owns some pigs)
2 teaspoons chili flakes
1 tablespoon ground thyme
Healthy grating of nutmeg – maybe a teaspoon or so
2 eggs whisked
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 cup bread crumbs, toasted
1/4 to 1/2 cup vegetable oil, plus 1 tablespoon for testing
Marinara Sauce, recipe follows
Spread the meat out in a large bowl, season with salt, chili flakes, thyme & nutmeg. Add the remaining ingredients leaving the bread crumbs until last. Mix until all the ingredients are combined. Create a small patty to test for seasoning – fry it up in 1 tablespoon of oil. When browned on both sides, taste and re-season the meat mixture, if needed. Roll the mixture into about 20 large balls that are about 2 inches in diameter.
Don’t squeeze them too much, you want nice soft balls
Heat a pan with oil until hot then begin frying your meat balls. If you turn the heat down low before putting the balls in the pan you will get less splattering. Arrange the meat balls in a single layer and spread them somewhat apart so they have a chance to brown instead of steam. You may need to do this in batches. Brown the meatballs, over high heat, turning them so they brown all around.
Don’t crowd them or they will steam instead of crisping up
Treat them like hamburgers and cook them until they are medium-rare, about 3 to 5 minutes. Touch them to make sure they are still tender in the center. Use a slotted spoon or spatula to remove them from the pan to a cooling rack on a tray and cook off the remaining balls, if needed.
I had some pretty fatty ground pork so I drained them on a rack for awhile
Add the meatballs to the hot tomato sauce and allow them to bubble slightly and simmer over very low heat for a few minutes. Shut off the heat and allow the mixture to rest for a few additional minutes before serving.
Stir gently, they are delicate and break apart easily
Alex’s recipe called for fennel seeds in the pork mixture, I did not have any, and substituted the thyme and nutmeg – excellent substitution if I say so myself!
Did I mention it is the first week of Spring? or that Easter is next Sunday! This little Welly boot bouquet is one of our Easter/Spring/Snowday offerings at Walter Knoll Florist. Cute, huh!
Oh Yeah, I guess you might want a Marinara Sauce recipe!
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium white onions, diced
10 cloves garlic, cut into thin slices
2 to 3 teaspoons red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
4 medium carrots, peeled and grated
2 stems of celery, grated
1 (35-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
4 cups water, divided, plus more as needed
1/2 cup saki or other white wine
Freshly grated nutmeg
Freshly grated Parmesan
NOTE I used a food processor to grate the carrots and the onions (separately). Drain and discard the onion juice from the onions before adding to the hot oil.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, the garlic, red pepper flakes, and sugar and season with salt, to taste. Stir in the carrots and re-season with salt. Cook for about 2 minutes, and then add the Saki or wine. Bring to a boil, cook on high for 2 or 3 minutes to reduce the wine, then add the canned tomatoes. Use a wooden spoon to break up some of the whole tomatoes and cook over medium heat, stirring from time to time, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add half of the water to prevent the veggies from getting too dry and continue cooking another 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning. The tomatoes should be fairly broken down and the flavors coming together. Add remaining water, as needed, and cook for an additional 10 minutes. The sauce cooks about as long as it takes to make the meatballs from start to finish, about 45 minutes. Just before adding the drained cooked meatballs, stir in about 1/4 cup Parmesan.