Monday, September 15, 2008

Gorgeous Fresh Marinara Sauce
Meatballs Optional

In our home, food goes a long way to ease an aching heart. I guess some would call that a problem… but we don’t see it that way. Our family (and extended family) just really loves savory aromas, the process of cooking a delicious meal and sitting down a table together to share our dining experience. Perhaps it is the companionship, conversation or togetherness time that gives us these warm feelings about food. Either way, some favorite dishes rise above the rest in terms of the comfort and satisfaction they bring after a long weary day.

Spaghetti with meatballs is definitely one of those meals that seem to leave my husband and children smiling and relaxed. It’s a fairly straightforward dish, easy to make and mercifully difficult to mess up. Many of our vegetarian friends love my recipe for its marinara sauce alone... but if you’re looking for a walk on the wilder side of meat, try coupling it with these mouth-watering meatballs made from ground buffalo... the leaner, lower-cholesterol cousin of ground beef.

Gorgeous Fresh Marinara Sauce, Meatballs Optional

What You’ll Need:

For the Marinara Sauce...

6 fresh basil leaves, finely minced
5 – 7 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 large onion, chopped
6 large fresh tomatoes (preferably home grown!)
24 oz Muir Glen tomato sauce
1 tsp oregano
½ tsp Italian seasoning
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 dash Old Bay Seasoning
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
½ tsp sea salt
1 bay leaf
¼ cup and 1 large dash extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup dry white wine
1 small hunk of Parmesan cheese rind

For the optional Buffalo Meatballs...

10 oz ground buffalo meat
1 dried red chile, finely ground with food processor
¼ tsp nutmeg
4 garlic cloves, minced
½ to 1 tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp sea salt
1 egg
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Zest of two small limes
A touch of cinnamon


1 lb rice spaghetti or angel hair pasta (I use Tinkyada)

How It Works:

In a food processor, combine your basil leaves and fresh tomatoes and puree them until they are the lovely scent and consistency of cold gazpacho. Set aside. Next, finely mince your garlic and about 1/3 of your large onion in the same food processor until they are mostly liquid. Pour a large dash (more like a glug) of olive oil into a 3 quart pot and heat at medium temperature until warm but not smoking. Add the garlic/onion liquid and stir it with a wooden spoon until it becomes fragrant. Add all spices and seasonings except the Bay leaf and Parmesan rind, and continue to stir. Pour in the rest of your chopped onions, and sauté them in the seasoning mixture until they turn translucent.

Pour your puree of fresh tomatoes and basil into the pot and combine it well by stirring. Add the tomato sauce, white wine and ¼ cup olive oil. Stir well and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer partially covered for 60 – 90 minutes. (Add your Parmesan rind and Bay leaf at this juncture, as you begin to simmer the sauce.) The longer you simmer it, the more delicious it will taste.

Remove the Bay Leaf and Parmesan rind before serving.

Serves 4 comfortably.

Buffalo meatballs....

Although I’ve made a few clear adaptations here (buffalo meat, lime zest) this is basically Jamie Oliver’s meatball recipe. Please click here to learn how to make his absolutely fabulous Ragu of Tiny Meatballs to accompany my original marinara sauce.

Surprisingly delicious... and much more nutritious than ground beef!

Who knew spicy buffalo meatballs = modern art?

Sizzle, yum!


rachel marie said...

Yummers, this looks delish! Tinkyada pasta is my favorite, I make it for dinner guests all the time and no one can ever tell it's a GF pasta.

The Organized Dreamer said...

Your tomato sauce looks delicious! I've considered pureeing first or simmering for so long. Love the ideas! Thanks Andrea!