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Simply Reem

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Spaghetti and Meatballs in Spinach and Tomato Sauce

I know you all must be thinking that i don't have anything else to do, all I do is cook, eat and post about it and of course before eating I click the photographs of my creations. Well yes I am doing this everyday but I was cooking and eating before too the only addition to my daily routine is photography and writing. And I am having a blast, but trust me this is not all what i do. Cooking is not only a hobby for me its my profession too yes I am a Chef and a mom of 2 toddlers and a wife of major foodie hubby and friends of all the wonderful people including you all my readers. So my life is pretty busy as you can see but this blog is becoming major love of my life, I love the way I can share things here by being myself and write my heart out without living in fear of being judge. I wait for comments as they encourage me to carry on, what else can be more satisfying tell me. And all this is possible because of you all my wonderful readers, Thank you all so much.And Thanks for being such a great listener (reader) to me.

Lets get back to food, today i was craving a complete food. Yes i wanted it to be tasty and also healthy, comforting and also quick. I wanted my meat but also wanted my greens . Not difficult combination but somehow our palate has become such that satisfying all these demands in one dish sound little difficult. So i decided to add a little twist on my favorite food " Meatballs and Spaghetti".

Spicy Herb'ed Meatballs in Spinach and Tomato Sauce, meat, greens and pasta all together now thats what is called WOW. Spinach is not only a very healthy vegetable but also an excellent source of Folate and other vitamins and minerals.It is very tasty and versatile, I add spinach to many of my dishes, it really blends well with meat, poultry, vegetables, fish and lentils/beans. As a puree or sauce its flavors come out to a different level. I used only beef for meatballs and added fresh chopped herbs and spices. I also added a slice of white bread which was soaked in milk to make the meatballs more tender and juicy( I got this trick from Tyler Florence show, he is such an amazing cook, an absolute charmer). All in all the dish came out really well, the sauce which is tomato and spinach puree cooked with spices in olive oil is delicate but has so much layers of texture. I added boiled spaghetti and my kids loved it an ate without that face which they make for veges, I am sure u all know that face.Try it it wont be a disappointment.
Ingredients- servings 4-6

Meatballs -- Makes 16-18 Meatballs

Minced beef ( I use 90% lean) 1 lbs
Garlic 1/2 tsp fine paste
Ginger 1/2 tsp fine paste
Jalapeño 1 medium( optional )
Cilantro 2 Tbsp finely chopped
Parsley 2 Tbsp finely chopped
Spring onions 2 both green and white part finely diced
Cumin powder 1/4 tsp
Coriander powder 1/2 tsp
Paprika powder 1/2 tsp
Salt 1/2 tsp or as per taste
Eggs 2
White bread 1 slice soaked in milk for 5-6 minutes
Oil for frying meatballs 2-3 TBSP

Spinach 4 cups loosely packed
Tomatoes 2 medium size
Garlic 3 cloves
Tomato paste 1 TBSP
Bay leaf 1 leaf
Cinnamon 1 inch piece
Paprika 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder 1/2 tsp
Black pepper powder 1/4 tsp
Ketchup 1 TBSP
Sugar 1 TBSP
Salt 1/2 tsp or as per taste
Finely chopped Cilantro and Parsley 2 TBSP
Olive oil 2-3 TBSP ( can be drizzled over sauce more once sauce is made )

Spaghetti 1/2 packet ( will make 4 servings) cooked as per instruction on box

Finely chopped Cilantro and Parsley 2 TBSP
Parmesan cheese some sprinkle
Red pepper flakes again as per choice


  • Mix all the ingredients for meatballs except bread and eggs. soak the bread in milk, beat the egg in separate bowl and mix it with the meat mixture. Now take the slice of bread out from the milk and slightly press it between palms to take out excess milk and add it to the meat mixture. Mix everything throughly cover and refrigerate for minimum 15- 20 mins to let everything blend together. Refrigerating will also help the meat in absorbing all the flavors.We can make meat mixture ahead and refrigerate it for day also. Let it sit in room temperature for 5-10 minutes before frying it. Never leave it in room temperature for more than 30 mins, remember it has raw egg and beef, we don't want nasty Salmonella, E Coli or any other bad bad food borne disease getting us.
  • Now we can get started with the sauce.
  1. Boil water in a large stock pot add spinach and cook it only for 3-4 minute we just need to blanch them. Take them out in a colander and rinse throughly with cold tap water just to stop cooking process. Add them to the blender and puree them and keep them aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a sauce pot and add diced tomatoes, garlic and tomato paste, cook it on medium high till the tomatoes are tender.Add them to blender and puree them too.Add little water if needed when pureeing the tomatoes
  3. Add little drizzle of oil to the same sauce pan in which we cooked tomato and add bay leaf, cinnamon,tomato puree, spinach puree, paprika, coriander powder, black pepper powder, ketchup, sugar, salt, 1/2 cup of water and let it cook on low simmer for 15-20 mins.
  4. Check for the seasoning and once the sauce is done to required consistency adjust the flame to minimum heat and let it slowly simmer.Its an old saying the longer the simmer the tastier the sauce.
  • Getting back to meatballs make around 16-18 meatballs and heat around 2-3 tbsp in a pan and shallow fry these meatballs. Keep shaking the pan slowly while the meatballs are frying to prevent them from getting too dark on one side. It will will take approx. 10-15 mins for the meat balls to get get throughly cooked in 2-3 batches. These meatballs will also simmer in the sauce for 10-15 minutes, so they will be cooked throughly.
  • Once the meatballs are fried add them to the simmering sauce and let it simmer in sauce for another 10-15 mins, add water if the sauce is too thick but only so the sauce get to desired consistency.
  • Add the cooked spaghetti to the simmering pot of meatballs and sauce. You can add little bit pasta water just a spoon full if only the sauce is thick and also drizzle olive oil if u prefer. Before anything check the seasoning, Yummooo right. Shave some Parmesan and sprinkle chopped cilantro and parsley and some red pepper flakes.Serve hot and Enjoy


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