Tuesday 13 January 2015

Rachel Ray's Baked Meatballs with what else but...Spaghetti!!

I am not even making excuses this time....its been weeks since my last post but I have decided to take it slow, relax and breathe easy. I realized there is no race I have to win in life so enjoy each moment thoroughly as it is handed to you, whether it is in a pot of gold or a clay pot, it is upto you to make the most of it.
I guess I am enjoying my pace of life too much. Its quiet and slow yet the day disappears quickly like smoke from fire. Its tiring yet somehow you feel a sense of achievement at the end of day. I guess that's what dignity of work does to you. I would have never thought a life bereft of maids, cook, car cleaners, my dhobi, presswala, the home delivery grocery store - life just didn't seem to be possible without them....and all of a sudden you are all of them!! And Hey you realize it's not all that bad. Life is going on pretty smooth and strong...and as they say on my own terms and time, no longer a prisoner to the whims and fancies of the merciless maid brigade.
The move to the United States has been a huge transition for all of husband with kickstarting a new project in a foreign country, my son adjusting to a totally new environment, especially having studied in the same school back in India for 9 years, then coming here and trying to keep pace in class as he unfortunately missed the initial 90 days of school. But I guess, rather I hope he has finally been able to find a footing for himself in his new school and will soon make good friends. 
And that's not the end, with my daughter starting college here next week, she too would have to go through her phase of adjusting and adapting to a totally different culture. Fingers crossed the move here was well worth  the trouble and hope it's a fun ride for all of us.
As for me for the time being, I am enjoying familiarizing myself with the different supermarkets (what an enjoyable way to spend your time) and treating myself and, it goes without saying my family to my new experiments in the kitchen, out of which some are hits and quiet a few are misses, some are documented, many devoured without a wait. 
But keep a look out guys, I have quiet a few fabulous recipes lined up which hopefully will see the light of day soon on this blog. Till then enjoy yourself with this extremely light and flavorful recipe of baked meatballs and spaghetti which has been adapted from Rachel Ray's original recipe. Its easy and quick and makes you feel healthier as the meatballs are baked. The baked meatballs to my surprise turned out quite juicy and soft and good enough to eat on their own. The only thing I changed in her recipe is to reduce the worcestershire sauce to half and substituted the canned tomatoes with fresh ones. Someone anything canned always leaves a slight aftertaste in my mouth, infact it kind of reminds me of the horrid iron tablets I used to eat during pregnancy. Yucks!! Fresh is anyday healthier and tastier too!!
I also added a few slices of dried salami to up the flavor in the sauce. that's optional of course.
So that's about it. I hope you enjoy making this recipe as much as I enjoyed eating it. I'm telling you this one is a keeper.

1 pound spaghetti
Salt for pasta water
To make the Meatballs:
11/4 pounds ground sirloin
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce, eyeball it (I found 1 tsp was enough for me)
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs, a couple of handfuls
1/4 grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt and pepper
To make the Sauce:
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp  crushed chilli flakes
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 cup beef stock
1 can(28 ounce) crushed tomatoes (I used 6-7 fresh tomatoes, boiled them, de-skinned and then blended them in a mixer for a fresher taste)
A handful chopped flat leaf parsley
10 leaves fresh basil leaves or 11/2 tsp dried basil
Grated Cheese such as Parmigiano- Reggiano or Romano for sprinkling on top.
To make the meatballs:-
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Mix beef and Worcestershire, egg, breadcrumbs, cheese, garlic, salt and pepper. Roll meat into 11/2 inch medium sized meatballs and place on a nonstick cookie sheet or a greased cookie sheet with extra virgin olive oil. Bake the meatballs 10 to 12 minutes till no longer pink. Keep aside.
Place a large pot of water on to boil for spaghetti. When it boils, add salt and pasta and cook to al dente. Drain. run under cold water and keep aside.
To make the sauce: Heat a deep skillet or medium pot over moderate heat. Add oil, crushed pepper, garlic and finely chopped onion. Saute 5 to 7 minutes, until onion is a bit soft and transparent. Add beef stock, crushed tomatoes and herbs. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 10- 12 minutes. Add in the meatballs and cook for further 3-4 minutes so that the meatballs absorb some of the flavor from the sauce. 
Toss the drained pasta with a few ladles of the sauce. Serve with the grated cheese on top.

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