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Monday, August 10, 2015

Closest To "The Boulevard Recipe" That I Have.

Ingredients
Meatballs
  • 1 lightly packed cup of sliced white sandwich bread, torn into small pieces, crusts removed (Note 1)
  • ½ cup grated onion (brown, white or yellow)
  • 14 oz / 400 g ground beef (beef mince)
  • 3 oz / 100g ground pork (mince) or substitute with ground beef (beef mince) (Note 2)
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped (Note 3)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano (or parmesan), freshly grated
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1½ tbsp olive oil
Sauce
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ¾ cup onion, finely chopped (white, brown or yellow)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 24 oz / 700 g tomato passata (known as Tomato Sauce in America - Note 4)
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tsp red pepper (chili) flakes
  • 3 tsp dried Italian herb mix (parsley, basil, thyme, oregano)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Black pepper
To Serve
  • Pasta of choice (I like spaghetti and twirls!)
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano (or parmesan), freshly grated
  • Parsley, finely chopped (optional)
Instructions
  1. Place the bread and onion in a large bowl. Mix to combine so the onion juice soaks the bread.
  2. Add all the remaining Meatball ingredients except the olive oil. Use you hands to mix well.
  3. Measure out a heaped tablespoon and roll lightly to form a ball. Repeat with remaining mixture. (Note 5)
  4. Heat 1½ tbsp olive oil in a large non stick fry pan over medium high heat. Add the meatballs and brown all over - about 5 minutes. I prefer to shake the pan gently to roll the meatballs around, rather than using a spoon (they hold their shape better).
  5. When they are browned but NOT cooked through, carefully transfer them onto a plate.
  6. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil into the fry pan. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes until translucent. Add the remaining Sauce ingredients. Bring to a simmer, then turn down to medium low so it bubbles gently rather than splattering everywhere.
  7. Carefully transfer the meatballs and any juices that have pooled on the plate into the Sauce.
  8. Cook the meatballs for 10 minutes, turning and stirring occasionally. Adjust Sauce salt and pepper to taste.
  9. While the meatballs are cooking, cook your pasta of choice.
  10. Serve the meatballs on pasta, garnished with extra Parmigiano-Reggiano and parsley if using.
Notes
1. Plain white sandwich bread is best for this, but you can substitute with other breads. Tear them into small pieces with your hands, and do not include the crust. You can use slightly stale bread.

If you prefer, you can substitute with ½ cup breadcrumbs - preferably panko. But the meatballs won't be as soft!

2. Pork is slightly fattier than beef so it helps make these extra juicy. I only use 3½ oz / 100 g because pork has less flavour than beef and I don't want to dilute the flavour. This isn't hugely critical though and you should feel free to just use 1 lb / 500 g beef mince which is what I do on ordinary nights. :)

3. You can substitute with 1½ tbsp dried parsley, or a mix of equal amounts of dried oregano, thyme, basil and parsley. You could also use an Italian herb mix if you wanted to.

4. Tomato passata is just pureed tinned tomatoes. Nowadays it is readily available in supermarkets, usually alongside pasta sauces. It costs just a tiny bit more, sometimes the same, as canned tomatoes. If you can't find it, puree canned tomatoes or use crushed canned tomatoes. It's great because you don't need to cook it as long as crushed tomatoes in order for it to break down into a thick tomato sauce.

5. Here's how I roll meatballs - measure out heaped tablepoons of mixture and pop them onto a plate with the flick of your wrist. Repeat with all the mixture. THEN wet your hands slightly and roll them one by one. I find this faster than measuring and rolling each one separately. :) Don't over roll them! They will become tough!

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