Thursday, January 22, 2009

Big Beef Meatballs with Bucatini

Cook Time: 25 min
Level: Easy
Yield : 4 servings


* 1 1/2 pounds ground sirloin
* 2 small to medium yellow onion, 1 grated and 1 finely chopped
* 6 cloves garlic, chopped, divided
* 1 egg
* 1/2 to 2/3 cup Italian bread crumbs, a couple of overflowing handfuls
* 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus some to pass at table
* 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice or nutmeg
* 3 tablespoons capers, drained and chopped
* 2 tablespoons chopped sage leaves, 4 to 6 sprigs
* A couple generous handfuls flat-leaf parsley, chopped, divided
* Salt and pepper
* 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus some for drizzling
* 1 pound bucatini (thick, hollow spaghetti)
* 1/4 pound pancetta, chopped
* 12 baby portobello caps, (crimini mushrooms), chopped
* 1/2 cup dry red wine, eyeball it
* 1 cup, (8 ounces), beef stock
* 1 (28-ounce), can crushed tomatoes, San Marzano if available


Preheat 400 degrees F. Place a large pot of water over high heat and
bring to a boil.

Mix meat with the grated onion, 3 cloves chopped garlic, egg, bread
crumbs, cheese, allspice, capers, sage, a handful of the chopped
parsley, salt and pepper and a healthy drizzle of extra-virgin olive
oil. Mix meat, score the meat into 4 sections and make 3 very large
balls from each section. Arrange the 12 balls on a nonstick cookie
sheet and roast 15 minutes until firm but not hard.

Drop bucatini in salted boiling water to cook off. Drain.

Add another tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil to the skillet and
the pancetta. Cook 3 to 4 minutes then add the remaining garlic and
mushrooms to the pan and cook 5 minutes. Season the mushrooms with
salt and pepper. Add remaining chopped onion and deglaze the pan with
wine, cook off 1 minute, add in stock and whisk up remaining
drippings. Stir in the tomatoes and season sauce with salt and pepper,
if necessary. Stir in parsley. Simmer 5 minutes.

Toss pasta with half the sauce. Remove balls from oven and add to
remaining sauce and turn to coat. Serve large balls, 3 per person,
along side pasta. Spoon any remaining sauce over the pasta. Pass extra
cheese at the tables.


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