Sunday, February 10, 2013

Fresh & Saucy

Back in the late summer I had a few ripe tomatoes that were at their peak. I needed to use them or lose them. Fresh Tomato Sauce came to mind. I love the simplicity of base flavor, leaving the beauty of its natural essence shining. I keep it simple as often as possible to reduce the prepared and processed influence on quality and taste.

My favorite pot is green and French 
Onion and Green Bell Pepper bathing in a sweet drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sauté onion and pepper until softened.
I'm happily stirring with my handcrafted Black Walnut spoon made by my friend, Don.

French bread soaking in 1/2 cup milk. 
This is a step that softens the bread and adds texture, binding and flavor to the meatballs.

Glorious orbs in hot water.
After a minute or so, plunge them into cold water.

The peeling just falls away when using this method.

I'm chopping tomatoes to add to the onion/pepper sauté.

I could put this in a sandwich and eat it.

As you can see, the liquid from the onion and pepper are creating  'fond' on the bottom of the pot. A happy result adding delicious flavor.

The tomatoes will also release liquid, however, I add dry white wine and chicken stock to develop the sauce. This de-glazes the pot and adds tons of flavor. Season with salt to taste and a sprinkling of crushed red pepper. Cook for about 30 minutes adding liquid as needed.
Now for the meatballs.

Meatball mixture

 1/2 pound ground round
1/2 pound ground pork
Fresh chopped garlic
Fresh chopped basil
Finely grated hard cheese
(such as Parmesan or Romano)
French bread soaked in milk
(squeeze to remove liquid)
1 egg
Black pepper
(add very sparingly)

Mix all the ingredients well and roll into golf ball sized meatballs.  Give them a chill in the fridge to firm them up. Pour a bit of extra virgin olive oil into skillet, heat to medium-high and add the meatballs, but do not overcrowd the pan. Simply brown each one and finish the cooking process in the fresh sauce.

After the meatballs have browned on all sides, nestle them into the pool of fresh tomato goodness. This will add more flavor to the sauce while the meatballs cook completely. 

Serve this luscious fresh sauce and delicious meatballs over linguine (my choice) or your favorite pasta.

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