Monday, February 13, 2012

Meatballs in a Bread Bowl

My timing is a little off, but today's post and Wednesday's post are meant to be a Valentine's Day dinner sequence for a special guy in your life.  The "Dried Cranberry and Walnut Encrusted Fish" recipe I developed for Very Good Recipes is a great quick, easy, light Valentine's Day meal.  But, if you are looking for something heartier, today's post is a little more labor intensive and is a meaty-carb fest.
The Meatball recipe comes from Tyler’s Ultimate.  I decreased the amount of meat, substituted a red onion for a white one, added arugula and red pepper flakes, added an extra egg, and substituted feta for mozzarella.  Below is also a red sauce recipe that incorporates the arugula.   

Because I did this on Sunday, I made my own bread bowls (three parts white; one part wheat flour) by using the Tassajara Bread Book recipe I normally use.  After the second rising, I divided the dough into four equal parts and baked them for about 30 minutes.  For this step, you can easily purchase large rolls in the store. 

Extra-virgin olive oil
½ red onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove., diced
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
½ cup arugula, chopped
1 cup milk
4 slices of stale bread, crumbled up in small pieces
1 lb ground pork
1 lb ground beef
2 large eggs
½ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
½ cup of feta
1 tsp salt
½ tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup red wine 

olive oil
½ red onion, finely diced 
Any leftover meatballs that broke apart during browning
2 tablespoon parsley
½ cup shredded arugula 
½ cup red wine 
1 28-oz can of plum tomatoes in liquid 
2 tbls. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
pinch cayenne pepper

  • Drizzle some olive oil into a medium-sized pan over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic and saute for a couple of minutes.   Then, add the arugula and parsley, sauteing until the greens are wilted.  Set aside to cool. 
  • While the mixture is cooling, put the milk and stale bread in a bowl to let the bread soak. 
  • In a large bowl, mix together pork, beef, eggs, cheeses, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. When cool, add the onion and arugula mixture.  Then, with your hand, squeeze the milk out of the stale bread.  Add the bread to the meat.  Blend everything together with a spoon or your hands to get all the ingredients distributed. 
  • With an ice-cream scoop, scoop the meat into round balls.  Set the molded meatballs on plate.  
  • Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large skillet.  Add half of the meatballs and brown.  This will take a couple of minutes on each side.  When the meatballs are brown, remove to an ovenproof dish.  Brown the second batch and add to the ovenproof pan.
  • Add 1/2 cup wine to the meatballs to give them some liquid to cook in.  Then, place the pan of meatballs in a 350°F oven and cook for about 15-20 minutes. 
  • While the meatballs are baking, in a medium pot over medium-high heat drizzle some olive oil.  Saute the onions until brown. Then, add any meat from meatballs that broke apart (I was using a cast iron skillet, so I lost about three meatballs to sticking).  Cook the meat until brown.  Next, toss in parsley and arugula and cook until wilted. 
  • Pour in the red wine to de-glaze the brown bits from the bottom of the pot.  Once you have all the brown bits up, add the tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper flakes.  
  • When the mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cover with the lid.  Cook until the meatballs are finished baking in the oven.  Then, with a hand wand, puree the tomatoes. Turn off the heat under the sauce. 
  • Add the meatballs into the tomato sauce.  Let set a couple of minutes, then spoon meatballs and sauce into the hollowed out bread bowls. 


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