italian style lamb meatballs

1/3 lb of delicious meaty tastinessI like big meatballs.

I don’t want tiny meatballs that sit, dwarfed, atop a pile of spaghetti. I want meatballs that stand on their own—that don’t need a base of spaghetti to fill you up. I don’t even want spaghetti with my meatballs—that means that I’m just eating filler.

So, without further dramatization, I present my recipe for big meatballs. This time I made them with lamb, but they’re pretty much the same with any meat. The main difference is the spices, and even then not much…

I use dried herbs. Purists will probably insist on fresh. Fresh is fine if you get excited about mincing herbs and go through them before they go bad. Otherwise: dried is close enough.

I cook these in a tasty tomato sauce, so you get a bonus recipe here: zesty tomato sauce!

We need to make the tomato sauce first.

Tomato Sauce:

  • 2tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (14.5oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (6oz) tomato paste
  • 1/2cup veggie/chicken/whatever stock (or water)
  • 2tbsp each: dried oregano, dried parsley
  • 1/2tbsp dried thyme
  • 1tsp sugar
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 lemon
  • 1tbsp Tabasco-type sauce

Step 1: Fry the garlic for about a minute in the nice, hot EV Olive Oil.

Step 2: Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste and stock.

Step 3: Add the herbs, sugar, salt and pepper.

Step 4: Squeeze all that tasty juice out of the lemon and into the sauce.

Step 5: Add the Tabasco. You could also add dried chili flakes or something else spicy. We’re really just doing this to give the sauce one last kick in the pants.

Step 6: Stir it all up. (I hope you felt inclined to stir as you added things, but it should be OK either way.) Set it to simmer while you prep the meatballs.

Meatballs:

  • 1lb of ground lamb
  • 1 egg
  • 8 Ritz-style crackers, crushed up into tiny bits
  • 2tbsp dried basil
  • 1tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2tsp curry powder (yes, really: curry powder)
  • salt
  • pepper

Step 1: Put it all in a big bowl and get dirty mixing it up with your hands!

Step 2: Fashion 3 MASSIVE 1/3lb meatballs. I said I like them big and I meant it. They may be just as tasty small, if you are so inclined.

Step 3: Place these meatballs gingerly in the tomato sauce, which should be slightly bubbly by now. If the sauce doesn’t cover the meatballs, add some water so that it does. Stir things up a little bit, but be careful not to destroy your works of art.

Step 4: Put a lid on the pan, and let it all simmer 20 minutes.

Step 5: EAT YOUR MEATBALLS. Make sure to ladle copious amounts of sauce on them. I had green beans (you just heat them…) on the side and creamy leek soup as an appetizer with my meatballs.

This should feed 3 hungry people, or 1 massive beast of a hungry person.

crema di porri–creamy leek soup

creamy and leekyThis is an Italian recipe for leek soup. I’ll be honest, I got it off another website and didn’t change it much. But my recipe has a picture and much more lively text.

Ingredients:

  • 3 average, ordinary, whatever your grocer sells, leeks
  • 2tbsp Olive Oil (Extra Virgin or Pure)
  • 2tbsp flour
  • 1 box (32oz) of veggie stock—if you get broth don’t add any more salt!
  • 1tbsp ground cumin
  • salt
  • 2c milk (I like 2%)
  • parsley, chopped (a nice sized pile)
  • parmesan cheese (don’t get pre-shredded—it shreds fast and easy and tastes better when you buy a wedge)

Step 1: Clean and chop the leeks. Leeks are somewhat annoying to clean. They are grown by piling sand/dirt up around them so they tend to have lots of dirt in the leaves. The easiest way is to cut the tops off about 1/2 inch below where the leaves all join together and then cut about 1/2 inch off the bottom (that’s just to get rid of the roots). Then cut some slits through about 12 of the remaining leek from the middle to the greener end. Open it up and you should see the dirt. Wash the crap out of these things. In fact, if you can, soak these for a while before proceeding. It’s worth it not to get yummy sand in your soup.

Chopping these things is easy. I just slice them. Since we quartered the thing earlier when cleaning it, it works out nicely.

Step 2: Heat up the Olive Oil in a big pot. (OK, maybe a medium pot works, but my pot is big.)

Step 3: When the Olive Oil is nice and hot (if it’s smoking it’s too hot) add the chopped leeks and fry them for a minute or two—just long enough to show those leeks you mean business.

Step 4: Add the flour and stir it up really good. You want the leeks to be thoroughly coated with flour so that it won’t make clumps when you…

veggie stock--it's unsaltedStep 5: Add the veggie stock. Stir while you add it to prevent flour clumps. I use this stuff:

Step 6: Wait 20-30 minutes. Stir occasionally. You want a simmer here. NO BOILING!

Step 7: Remove the pot from the heat and add the milk. Stir while you do this.

Step 8: If you want to blend it, this is where you would do it. I’m lazy, so I didn’t.

Step 9: Put the pot back on the heat for 5 minutes. Remember: Simmer.

Step 10: While simmering, add the chopped parsley and a bunch of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Step 11: Scoop it out into bowls and eat up!

This can serve 5 or 6 as a first course and 3ish as a main.

abbacchio brodettato

Abbacchio Brodettato is a Roman recipe for lamb. I made this the week after Easter. It was fantastic, and rather easy to cook. I got the recipe from about.com. In fact, I pretty much followed the recipe closely enough that it’s not really worth me rewriting it here. Instead, I present pictures of the process.

I also made some potatoes. They were pretty simple: quarter a bunch of potatoes, put them in a bowl. Put some Olive Oil in the bowl. Chop up some herbs (Rosemary, Thyme, anything savory really) and put them in too. After mixing it all together, put them in an aluminum foil packet and bake it for 20-30 minutes.

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