Saturday, November 13, 2010

Spaghetti and Bocce Meatball with Tomato Basil Sauce

Awesome!  This is the "super size" meatball!
     When I first started working in Italian restaurants, we used to serve a huge meatball with spaghetti as a special du jour occasionally.  This meatball weighs over one pound!  This dish was meant to be shared by two at a table.  Customers would look at this meatball being carried by a waiter to a table in the dining room and their jaws would drop in shock!  This bocce ball sized meatball is a real attention getter.  Sharing this dish is a lover's fun pleasure.  The spicy aroma of this meatball is Italian heaven!
     Salsa di Pomodoro con Basilico Recipe (Tomato Basil Sauce): 
     Heat some olive oil in a sauce pot over medium heat.  (The proportion of olive oil to the tomatoes should be about one part olive oil to five parts of tomato.)
     Add 5 very finely chopped garlic cloves and a small handful of minced onion to the hot oil.
     Let the garlic sizzle till it turns a light golden color.
     Add one 28oz can of imported Italian plum tomato puree.
     Place a 28oz can of imported Italian peeled plum tomatoes packed in their own juices into a mixing bowl.
     Hand crush the tomatoes in the bowl and then add them to the sauce.
     Stir the sauce often as it reaches a simmering temperature.
     Pluck the leaves off of an entire large bunch of basil.
     Add the basil leaves to the sauce.  (It may seem like a lot of basil but the leaves will wilt into the sauce.)
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     When the sauce starts to bubble and simmer, reduce the heat to medium low.
     Stir the olive oil that separates from the tomatoes back into the sauce occasionally.
     The rule of thumb is to stir a tomato sauce once every five minutes.  The olive oil will become part of the sauce after the sauce is done cooking.  Without enough olive oil, a tomato sauce may end up looking like stewed tomatoes instead of glistening perfect Italian tomato sauce.
     Simmer this sauce very slowly over low heat for about one hour.
     Set the sauce aside.
     Giant Bocce Meatball Recipe: 
     Place about a pound of ground beef in a mixing bowl.
     Add a small handful of finely minced garlic.
     Add a small handful of finely minced onion.
     Add one whisked egg.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add a few generous pinches each of:  oregano, basil and chopped Italian parsley.
     Add a small handful of grated parmesan cheese.
     Add a handful of bread crumbs.
     Add a handful of water soaked Italian bread pith.  (Squeeze the water out of the pith before adding.) 
     Mix the ingredients together just like kneading bread dough.
     Roll the meat mixture into a very large meat ball shape.
     Wrap the meatball with plastic wrap.
     Then wrap the meatball with aluminum foil.
     Next, you will need a soup bowl or a small mixing bowl to use as a mold.  The bowl must fit the meatball's size and shape.
     Place the wrapped meat in the bowl mold.
     Set the bowl and the wrapped meatball on a baking pan.
     Bake in a 350 degree oven for one hour.  Take the meatball in the bowl out of the oven and let it cool off for a little bit so it is easier to handle.
     Handle the meatball carefully because it is still not cooked in the center!
     Dump the meatball out of the bowl onto a plate gently!
     Remove the aluminum foil and plastic wrap.
     The outside of the meatball should be cooked firm enough so that the meatball doesn't lose its shape when baked a second time.
     Place the meatball back into the bowl mold on a baking pan and bake again in a 350 degree oven for at least one hour.
     You must take the pan out of the oven occasionally and tilt the bowl mold with the meatball in it so the excess grease will drain off.
     The meatball is done baking when is turns a brown color and it is cooked firm.
     Use a meat thermometer if you need to.  170 degrees ensures a fully cooked meatball.
     Drain the grease from the meatball and gently roll the meatball out of the mold onto a plate and set it aside.
     Assembly:  Heat some of the tomato basil sauce in a saute pan over medium heat.
     Add some al dente cooked thin spaghetti to the sauce, then toss the sauce and pasta together.
     Set the pasta on a plate.
     Set the meatball in the saute pan and coat the meatball with a little bit of tomato basil sauce.
     Set the meatball on top of the spaghetti.
     Sprinkle some grated parmesan cheese over the meatball and pasta.
     Garnish with a parsley sprig.  Serve with grilled garlic bread.
     This is the king of the meatballs!  The aroma of this giant meatball when it is baking will fill the house with a great Italian bouquet.  The flavor of this big, juicy meatball is so very delicious with the tomato basil sauce.
     This giant meatball pasta was enough for three meals for me.  LOL  Yum!  Ciao Baby! ...  Shawna

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