Tuesday, June 15, 2010


found a package of pork sausage in the freezer, and decided to check out a recipe from my williams-sonoma cookbook that i hadn't tried before.  it was excellent.  while eating i found myself reminiscing about our trip to italy last august (yeah, it was that good!)  even john agreed, and reminded me of that fabulous dinner we had for his birthday at this little hole in the wall restaurant in rome.  that meal culminated in the most amazing dessert to ever touch my lips: flawless tiramasu.  anyway, i'm getting all distracted; you can find the recipe here.  for convenience's sake, i've reproduced it for you.

Spaghetti with Meatballs

Ingredients:  (my adaptations appear after the asterisks)

  • 1/4 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs (*i used dry, store bought)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 lb. pork sausage, casings removed
  • 3/4 lb. ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 large shallot, minced (*did not use; the little bean is not a fan of onions or garlic)
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • Fresh marjoram leaves, chopped, plus whole  (*i used dried marjoram)
      sprigs for garnish
  • 3 garlic cloves (*did not use)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil, as needed
  • 1 yellow onion, diced (*did not use)
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 large can (35 oz.) plus 1 small can (12 oz.)
      plum tomatoes, chopped, with juices
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 lb. spaghetti


To make the meatballs, in a large bowl, combine the bread crumbs and milk and mix well. Add the sausage, beef, egg, ricotta, one-third of the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, the shallot, nutmeg, cloves, a good sprinkling of marjoram and 1 garlic clove, minced. Mix briefly with your hands just until the ingredients are well distributed. Season well with salt and pepper. Form the mixture into small balls 1/2 to 1 inch in diameter.

In a large fry pan over medium heat, pour in the olive oil to a depth of 1/4 inch. When it is hot, add the meatballs (in batches, if necessary) and brown well on all sides. Transfer to a paper towel-lined tray to drain.

Discard the oil in the fry pan and wipe out any burned bits. In the pan over medium heat, warm 3 Tbs. olive oil, add the onion and sauté until soft and lightly golden, about 4 minutes. Slice and add the remaining 2 garlic cloves and sauté about 1 minute more. Add the wine and simmer until it is almost completely evaporated. Add the tomatoes and juices. Then add the broth and bay leaf and season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Add the meatballs, reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the meatballs are cooked through, 5 to 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Generously salt the boiling water, add the pasta and cook until al dente (tender but firm to the bite), 7 to 9 minutes. Drain the pasta well and put it in a warmed large, shallow bowl. Add a sprinkling of chopped marjoram to the sauce, remove the bay leaf and pour the sauce over the pasta. Drizzle with olive oil and toss gently. Garnish with the marjoram sprigs and serve immediately. Pass the remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese at the table.
Serves 4.
bon appetit!

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