Sunday 29 November 2015

Dinner Post #5 Italian Herby Pork Meatballs with Tomato and Red Wine Sauce

It is no secret that Italian food is my ultimate love. It's delicious, and when cooked properly, Italian recipes can really provide a healthy and wholesome meal, with undeniable flavour. There is no denying that spaghetti and meatballs is a traditional staple of Italian cooking, though traditionally beef or veal is used, or more typically of northern Italian cooking, a mixture of both pork and beef. Through experimentation, I have tested turkey, beef, pork and a mixture of both pork and beef. The pig comes out on top. Why? Because it carries herby flavours so well and has enough fat content to create tender melt in the mouth delights.

 Turkey, for me, is at the bottom of the table. Dieters and health advisors love it, because it is virtually fat free and full of protein. That is all well and good, BUT why are we all so terrified of fat? In a non complex explanation, fat is INCREDIBLE at filling you up.

 It increases and maintains satiety levels more efficiently than carbohydrates, keeping you fuller for longer. It is also fantastic for increasing metabolism. Humans require fat in their diet to survive, and therefore when a fat free diet is implemented, the metabolism slows down because you haven't given it enough to work off. Humans have always consumed animal fat, and our bodies are wired to accept that fat content. Obviously eating copious amounts of saturated fats, and processed fats can be dangerous to health, but it is not unhealthy to consume fats in moderation.

All hail the lard! Don't be scared of fats, ironically, in moderation, they won't make you fat.

So, back to the balls. I have used pork mince because it makes the softest, crumbliest balls you could hope for.

Ingredients makes (6-8 balls)

for the meatballs:

1 pack of pork mince 
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed 
1 tbsp smoked paprika 
1 tbsp tomato ketchup 
1 tbsp oregano 
6 sprigs of rosemary, 3 with leaves removed and finely chopped, and 3 broken in half 
salt and pepper 
2 large handfuls of breadcrumbs 
1 egg yolk 
2 tsp dried, mixed herbs 

for the tomato sauce:

1 tin chopped tomatoes 
120ml red wine 
1 onion, finely chopped
handful of fresh basil, chopped 
2 tsp of oregano
200 ml red wine 
2 coves of garlic, peeled and chopped 
2 tsp sugar 
1 tbsp tomato puree
50ml water 


For the meatballs:

1) Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Grease a baking tray with olive oil.
2) In a bowl add all of the ingredients, apart from the rosemary which is left as sprigs. 
3) Mix everything together thoroughly with your hands until combined. Add salt and pepper.
4) Roll the mince into balls, there should be between 6 and 8 depending on how big you want them, and place on the baking tray. 
5) Using the remaining sprigs of rosemary, spike each of the meatballs with a rosemary, as shown in the photo above. 
7) Place in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are golden.

For the sauce:

1) Whilst the meatballs are in the oven, heat a glug of olive oil in a frying pan on a medium heat.
2) Add the onion and sweat for a couple of minutes until soft. 
3) Pour in the wine, and allow to reduce for round 2 minutes. Once the wine has reduced, add the rest of the ingredients other than the basil. Add salt and pepper and stir together.
4) Let the sauce simmer, until the meatballs are cooked. 
5) When the meatballs are ready, carefully add them into the same pan as the tomato sauce, and let everything cook together for 5 minutes. Add in the basil a the last minute and stir through the sauce. 
6) Serve the meatballs with good quality spaghetti or linguine and a sprinkling of Parmesan if you wish. 

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