Monday, August 06, 2007

Lamb Meatballs with Basic Tomato Sauce

Copyright 2007 by Cooking With The Single Guy

1 lb. ground lamb
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 T Worcestershire sauce
2-3 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T fresh mint, finely chopped
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 egg
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

Combine lamb, pine nuts, Worcestershire sauce, olive oil, mint, bread crumbs, egg, and Parmesan cheese in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper (about a teaspoon of each) and blend well with your hands. Shape into meatballs with the palm of both hands in a circular motion (start with about a tablespoon size of meat). Place a thin layer of flour on a plate and then lightly roll each meatball in the flour to create light layer. (You might want to start by rolling on plate of flour, but then pick it up and toss in between both hands to get the flour dusted all over the meatball.)

In a skillet or saute pan, pour enough olive oil to coat the entire bottom of pan. Warm oil over medium high heat and then start pan-frying each meatball. Leave room between meatballs and rotate as they brown. (You'll have to cook your meatballs in batches because not all of them will fit in the pan. Add a bit more oil as you go if needed.) Remove and place in a plate lined with paper towels to remove any excess oil.

Makes about 2 dozen meatballs, depending on how big you make them. Serve with tomato sauce and pasta.

Basic Tomato Sauce

1 can (28 oz.) of San Marzano-style plum tomatoes
1 small onion or half sweet onion, diced
2 clove garlic, minced
1 T dried oregano
1/2 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced (chiffonade)
1 T sugar
1/4 cup red wine
2 T extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

In a saucepan, warm olive oil and then add onion and garlic. Saute for about a minute over medium high heat until translucent. Add plum tomatoes, wine, oregano and sugar and bring to boil then simmer for about 35 to 40 minutes until tomatoes breakdown and soften. (Occasionally stir and use a wooden spoon to squeeze the tomatoes to smaller pieces.) Add basil in the last five minutes before sauce is ready. Salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese and more basil.

Makes 2 to 3 servings of sauce. Serve with meatballs and spaghettini.

Pair with a glass of Chianti Classico.

TIP: When making the meatballs, be sure to pack the meat tightly so they don't fall apart when cooking. Also, with the meat, you don't have to worry about overcooking because it'll continue to cook while it's resting after you remove it from the pan. So be careful not to leave it in the pan too long or they may get too dry.

WHERE'S THE BEEF?: I used lamb, but you can easily make these meatballs with ground veal or beef, or a combination of any of the above. Go with the kind of meat you like.

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