I am always on the lookout for a good deal when it comes to grocery shopping. If I can get a bargain that we can get a few meals out of that is even better and I am willing to drive a little bit if I have to get there. That is why I buy a lot of my meat and produce from Adam’s Farms, which is a good 20 mile drive for me but well worth it. I had also forgotten that we have a Fresh Market that is about the same distance away from here and I always found good stuff when I would go there when visiting my family in North Carolina so I signed up to get their emails and see what kinds of deals they might have. It turns out on Thursdays they do a store special called the Little Big Deal where you get the ingredients for a dinner to feed a family of f our all for the cost of twenty dollars. The run the special every Thursday and this month’s special was a spaghetti and meatballs dinner, where they included a pound of whole wheat pasta, a pound of lean ground sirloin or ground turkey or a beef-free substitute, a jar of tomato sauce, a bag of salad and a family size fruit tub all for twenty dollars. It seemed like a good deal and I had been playing to make a new spaghetti and meatballs recipe I got from Geoffrey Zakarian so I thought I would adapt these ingredients from Fresh Market into the recipe and see what I came out with.
Geoffrey Zakarian’s Spaghetti and Meatballs
5 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs, finely processed
6 ounces heavy cream (as needed to soak the breadcrumbs)
1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
1/2 cup diced onions
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
8 ounces ground pork
8 ounces sweet pork sausage, no casing
8 ounces ground veal
5 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup finely minced fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
Basic Tomato Sauce recipe, to follow
1 pound spaghetti
Freshly cracked black pepper
For the Basic Tomato Sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 leaves fresh basil
1 clove garlic, chopped
Pinch red pepper flakes
One 32-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes, drained and processed in a food mill or food processor
Soak the breadcrumbs in the heavy cream in a medium bowl. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat and add the oil. Saute the onions and the garlic until the onions are translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the rosemary, remove the pan from the heat and then chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, about 30 minutes.
Combine the breadcrumb mixture, the onion mixture, pork, sausage, veal, Parmesan cheese, parsley and the egg in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer on low-speed, mix until all of the ingredients are well incorporated, about 1 to 2 minutes. Alternatively, mix all the ingredients by hand until everything is well incorporated, then add some salt for seasoning.
Heat a small saute pan to cook a sample of the mixture. Taste the mixture for seasoning and make any necessary adjustments. Form the meatballs into the desired size and shape and place them on a wire rack placed inside a rimmed baking sheet. Chill the meatballs for about 1 hour so they have a chance to set.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Bake the meatballs until they are browned, about 20 to 25 minutes. Bring the Basic Tomato Sauce to a simmer in a large pot or Dutch oven. Transfer the meatballs to the pot with the tomato sauce and allow the mixture to simmer until the meatballs are tender and cooked through, about 30 minutes.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the spaghetti until al dente per the package instructions. transfer the cooked spaghetti to the sauce with the meatballs and toss. Add some black pepper, garnish with Parmesan cheese and parsley and serve.
To make the Basic Tomato Sauce, heat a saucepan over medium heat. Add the olive oil, basil, garlic and the red pepper flakes and cook until the garlic begins to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 1 minute. Use the sauce right away or chill the sauce until you are ready to use it.
Okay, I did make a couple of changes to fit some of the ingredients I had from the Fresh Market. First, for the meatballs I used a mix of meatloaf mix and he ground sirloin I had on hand instead of just pork and veal. For the tomato sauce, I did a mix of making the basic sauce and using the jar of sauce I had purchased, which was an organic tomato and basil sauce, so it all worked out very well. I have to say I was a little concerned about the meatballs because I didn’t think they would have much flavor and it looked like a lot of breadcrumbs in the mix that had set with the heavy cream, but I was pleasantly surprised. the meatballs turned out to be very tender and had great flavor to them. Michelle even commented that she thought they were the best meatballs she had ever had, so that was pretty high praise. We even had enough leftover so we will get another meal or some lunches out of it, so that twenty dollars is going to go pretty far. We served the meal with the salad that came with the deal (it was a Caesar salad and quite tasty) and I had made a baguette so it was a nice meal and the fruit was a great way to top it all off. Both the recipe and the deal from Fresh Market are definitely worth checking out.
That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!