Friday, May 13, 2005

Neapolitan Meatballs

Neapolitan Meatballs (Adapted from Eating Well)

1/2 cup bulgur, rinsed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 28 ounce cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
4 cups diced plum tomatoes
2 cups cubed whole-wheat bread
1 large egg
1 large egg white
16 ounces ground sirloin
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar, if desired

In a medium bowl, add bulgur and add enough hot water to cover by about an inch. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes. Drain well, pressing on the grain to remove excess liquid.

Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-low. Stir in garlic, oregano and crushed red pepper - cook until fragrant and softened, about 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes - increase heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer - reduce heat to low, partially cover and let simmer while you continue on making the meatballs.

In a medium bowl, add bread cubes - cover with cold water and let soak for about 5 minutes. Drain away the water and squeeze the bread with your hands to remove excess water.

In a large bowl, whisk together egg and egg white. Add drained bulgur, the bread, sirloin, Parmesan, cinnamon, pepper and salt. Mix until combined and then form into 24 meatballs.

In a large skillet, heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Place half the meatballs in the skillet - cook, turning occasionally, until browned all over, about 3 to 5 minutes. Move meatballs to a paper towel-lined plate. Add the remaining meatballs to the pan and repeat the process.

With a potato masher, press down the simmering tomato sauce to break down any large chunks. Add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer over low heat, partially covered, for 50 minutes.

Before serving, be sure to taste the sauce - if it seems a little tart, go ahead and add the sugar, if desired. Season with additional fresh ground black pepper to taste.

Makes about 8 servings of 3 meatballs each.

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