There was a lot cooking around the house today. We made bread, dessert and the main course. I've chosen to give you my favourite meatball recipe for today's What's Cooking Wednesday because my bread today didn't turn out as it usually does and frankly, I'm still eating the dessert while I type.
If I'm making meatballs, these are the ones I'm making. The recipe was taken from my favourite Canadian-Italian celebrity chef (we all have one, don't we?), David Rocco. I love their simplicity. You'll love their yum factor and how easy they are. David Rocco is a Canadian of Italian descent who lives and produces his show in Florence. His recipes are dead simple but look delicious and I think that comes from the simple local ingredients he uses. Pretty much the basis of all great Italian cooking. His titles are always in Italian. I think this might mean Peppe's meatballs but I'll leave it to Michelle to do the true translations for us.
Polpette di Peppe
1/2 cup pinenuts
1/2 cup raisins
1.1 lb ground beef (500 g)
1.1 lb ground pork (500 g) (I used 1 kg ground chicken tonight instead of pork/beef)
bunch Italian parsley, finely chopped
basil leaves thinly sliced (however many you like although he says 4)
80 g Italian bread, crust removed
1 cup milk
1 cup freshly grated parmigiano cheese
sald and pepper to taste
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
4 cups tomato puree (not prepared tomato sauce - you definitely need pure pureed tomatoes)
1 cup red wine
1. In mixing bowl, add meat, raisins, pine nuts, parsley, basil, cheese, salt and pepper.
2. Soak bread in milk and remove excess milk by squeezing the bread with your hands.
3. Break up bread into small pieces and add to mixing bowl. Add eggs and mix until ingredients are evenly distributed. With your hands, shape the meatballs into the size of golf balls. I love this part of making meatballs. Reminds me of making mud pies or outdoor soups when I was a kid. Just to give you an idea, I've included a picture of my mixture at this point. Don't you just want to squish it with your hands right now?
4. In large pot, heat extra virgin olive oil and cook onions until they're translucent.
5. Add red wine, tomato puree and bring it to a boil.
6. Add uncooked meatballs to the pot and let cook on medium heat for 30 minutes.
I served it on spaghetti. I know for many Italians this is a dish on it's own without pasta, but I just love meatballs on spaghetti, or any pasta for that matter. Also note that unlike most North American meatballs recipes, these aren't browned first or baked in the oven. Instead the meatballs are simmered in this beautifully simple sauce and end up being soft and tender and full of the wine and tomato flavour. Oh so good.