Wednesday, 29 September 2010

spinach and parmesan meatballs recipe

A bit like the peach, mozzarella and parma ham salad recently caught the zeitgeist, I've suddenly been inundated for requests for the spinach and parmesan meatballs recipe. I say inundated...

So for Kendra, Angela Hazel White, Hanne and I'm guessing Sarah (who asked aaaaaages ago), here it is.

Spinach and Parmesan Meatballs in a rich ragu
It's based on Angela Boggiano's family recipe from November 2007's edition of Delicious, I've just increased the portion control and added some other ingredients

Serves 4, plus a couple of milo-sized portions depending on your meatball size
Ready in 1 hour (upwards of)
2 tbsp olive oil (although I have been known to use the left-over sunflower oil from jars of roasted peppers)
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1-2 red peppers, cubed
100g mushrooms, cubed
couple of ice cubes of frozen red wine, or just red wine
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
Big bag of spinach, washed
600g minced beef
50g stale breadcrumbs
25g grated parmesan, plus extra to serve
Large pinch of chilli flakes
Large bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 medium egg

1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan - I favour a large diameter, lowish height pan. Add carrot, celery, onion, garlic, mushrooms and peppers, and cook gently for about 4-5 minutes until beginning to soften. Add the wine if you're using, stir in the tomatoes, rinse out the cans with water and add to the pan. Season to taste, bring to a gentle simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes.
2. Whilst it's simmering away, put the spinach in a colander and pour over about 2 kettles of boiling water to wilt it down. Cool it down with cold water, and then squeeze out all the liquid. Make sure it's cool though, otherwise you'll burn your hands. Once you've squeezed it out you'll be left with about a tenth of the spinach, probably no more than a handful of squashed leaves. Finely chop.
3. Put the meat, parsley, spinach, parmesan, egg, chilli flakes and some seasoning into a bowl, and mix together with your hands until completely combined. It should be firm and not too sticky.
4. Roll the mixture into small, walnut-sized balls - you should get between 25 and 30 balls out of the mixture. Drop them into the ragu pan, and shake them down. Don't stir them because it'll break the meatballs up. Cook for 45-50 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked and the sauce has thickened.
5. Serve with spaghetti, vino tinto and extra parmesan.

spinach and parmesan meatballs in a rich ragu - Angela Boggiano, Delicious 2007, p46

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