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What you’re looking for

By Ann | January 17, 2012

I try to hide it, but the truth is this: I’m kind of a techno-phobe. But recently, with the help of web consultant extraordinaire, Jenny Beaumont, I updated a few things on this blog — and made an interesting discovery. Do you know what the number one web search query is that leads people to this blog?



Not “France,” “Paris,” or even “Chinese food.” Meatballs.

I’ve only written about meatballs once, back in 2007 when this blog had barely cut teeth.

But, I do make meatballs all the time — I just don’t write about them. Meatballs are my husband’s favorite food. If I even think about meatballs, he starts grating Parmesan. I make them to celebrate his birthday, promotions at work, or simply life itself. Because life without meatballs is not a life worth living (according to him). I make them so often, it never even occurred to me to share the recipe.

Apparently, you know what I’m cooking better than I do.

Here, then, chers amis, is my recipe for meatballs. They take longer to prepare than your average weeknight meal — an hour and a half, or so — so I usually make them on Sunday nights. We eat half with spaghetti, and the other half the following night with polenta. Now you know all my secrets.

Spaghetti and meatballs

Inspired by Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen by Lidia Bastianich

For the sauce:
Two large cans of whole tomatoes
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
Crushed red pepper
2 bay leaves and/or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
Chunk of parmesan rind

For the meatballs:
1 lb ground chicken breast (but you can use turkey, beef, pork, or any combination of the three — the fattier the meat, the more tender the meatballs)
1 cup fine, dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup Parmagiano-Reggiano, grated
Handful of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped fine
2 egg whites (or 1 egg, beaten — if you don’t have morbid fears of clogged arteries like me)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Olive oil for frying the meatballs

In a large pot (I use Le Creuset), heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil and wilt the onions. Crush the canned tomatoes by hand and add them to the pan along with their juice, the crushed red pepper, bay leaf, oregano and parmesan rind. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, covered.

Meanwhile, combine the chicken, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, parsley, garlic, egg whites, salt and pepper in a bowl. Mix gently but thoroughly with your hands. Shape the mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls. You should have about 30 walnut-sized meatballs.

In a large skillet, heat 1-2 tablespoons of oil over high heat. Place as many meatballs as will fit into the skillet (about half) and brown them on all sides. After they’ve finished browning, add them to the gently bubbling tomato sauce. Simmer the meatballs in the sauce for 30 minutes, or until they’re thoroughly cooked. Season the sauce to taste. Serve with spaghetti (toss the sauce thoroughly with the pasta), or polenta and broccoli with garlic and chili.

Topics: Recettes | 10 Comments »

10 Responses to “What you’re looking for”

  1. Bear With a Wooden Spoon Says:
    January 17th, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    Yum!! I LOVE meatballs – just looking at this photo is making me lick my lips – but I never seem to make them. You’ve inspired me to change all that and these are going on the menu at Bear Towers this week!

  2. Ann Says:
    January 17th, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    Bear, The light is so beautiful today, it could make anything look appetizing. I saved the meatballs I just photographed for dinner, which took some serious self control! I hope you enjoy yours!

  3. Lindy Says:
    January 17th, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    Ann they look utterly gorgeous. I never knew the recipe called for so much care and so many ingredients.

    But what is it with husbands and texture-less food? And the combo of meat and tomatoes and garlic? I’m sitting in my kitchen working and the aroma of tonight’s chilli con carne pervades. The only way I can make it fun is to simmer it for at least five hours. It’s good. (But who’s chilli isn’t?) But give me crunch any day.

  4. Lindsey Says:
    January 17th, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    You know, growing up I hated meatballs. Could be because everyone in my immediate family is a vegetarian and therefore didn’t quite know how to make them, but whenever I had the opportunity to have them, I turned my nose. Now, the mere sight of those meatballs up top make me want to run into the kitchen (or come over for dinner). They look SO good. Love that they’re CK’s favorite food, you don’t hear that very often !

  5. Michel Says:
    January 17th, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    I think I have all of Lidia’s cookbook’s and have made many of her recipes. I have not made the meatballs but your chicken meatballs look so tasty that I will be making some very soon.

  6. Lynde Says:
    January 17th, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    Yum. I’m writing down the ingredients and will head to the grocery store prompto. Perfect for our nasty Pacific NW cold and rainy weather.

  7. CK Says:
    January 18th, 2012 at 7:41 am

    By the way, Chinese dumplings — steamed, boiled or fried — are a very close second. And Lindy, the fried variety do involve crunch!

  8. Katia Says:
    January 18th, 2012 at 9:25 am

    Ooooh what fun! I never ever ever cook or eat meatballs, but I may have to change that, looking at this delightful recipe!

  9. Sweet Freak Says:
    January 22nd, 2012 at 1:01 am

    That is hilarious about the “meatball” search! I love that these meatballs are made with chicken… sounds delicious!

  10. Bob Says:
    January 24th, 2012 at 6:58 am

    Come to think of it, I’ve never had your meatballs! Now we’ll have to have them by making them ourselves until we get a chance to try the “real thing” … which looks so delicious and appetizing!

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