atsa spicy meatball!

I’m not telling you anything you don’t know when I say that in the winter, most animals have the urge to hibernate.  Those animals could be bears, raccoons, or, well, humans.  We wrap ourselves in layer upon layer of clothes and blankets, opt for the warm indoors as opposed to the frigid outdoors, and we (often) crave foods that will fill our bellies and defrost our souls.

This need for warmth brings me to just a few days ago, when I flipped through the pages of Paula Deen’s cooking magazine and stumbled across her recipe for meatballs.  This recipe jumped out at me due to the use of not one, but two different meats (pork and beef) and the inclusion of fresh-grated Parmesan in the meatballs.  Hello heaven! Better still, these meatballs are pulled together in just one bowl and need only 20 minutes in a 400 degrees oven to be cooked and ready for prime time.

We didn’t have panko on hand for these puppies, so we used Parmesan bread crumbs instead.  We also used dried parsley in lieu of the fresh stuff because, frankly, we plumb forgot to pick it up from Harris Teeter.  I can guarantee you, though, that the results weren’t altered at all by our changes. The meatballs were moist and huge (3 inches wide), and we each only needed a few to fill up.

Instead of making Paula’s homemade pasta sauce (blasphemy, I know), Nate and I picked up a few jars of marinara sauce and simmered the meatballs in that.  We dished them up with generous helpings of linguine, and couldn’t have been more impressed or happy with the results.  For such a small time/energy commitment, you’re left with a hearty, happy-making meal that can be eaten for lunch, dinner, or at midnight after watching hours of old Simpsons episodes.

Spaghetti and Meatballs
From Cooking with Paula Deen, volume 6, issue 1
(Makes 2 servings plus leftovers)*

1/2 pound ground chuck
1/2 pound ground pork
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 TBSP chopped fresh parsley
1 TBSP olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1 large egg
1 package linguine, cooked according to the package directions

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Place a rack inside baking sheet.  Spray rack with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine ground chuck, ground pork, onion, bread crumbs, cheese, parsley, oil, garlic, salt, and egg; stir gently to combine.  Form mixture into 3-inch meatballs.  Place meatballs on prepared rack in baking sheet.  Bake for 20 minutes.

Add meatballs to spaghetti sauce; simmer for 20 minutes.  Serve over hot cooked pasta.

*Nate and I doubled this recipe and made about 24 meatballs.  Yum!

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