My first attempt at Meatballs or anything Italian

My first attempt at Meatballs or anything Italian

Updated Feb, 11th 2013

This was the first attempt at cooking anything Italian for me and was a great learning experience.

The first hurdle was to find a substitute for the ground beef used in the instructional video since I do not eat beef or pork. I wanted to use ground lamb, but chicken was the easiest available with the time I had. (I hope to try a recipe with ground lamb within the next two weeks!)

My recipe for the meatballs:

1 lb Ground Chicken
1/4 Tsp Cumin
2 Cloves garlic (finely chopped)
1/4th Onion (finely chopped)
1/2 Bunch Parsley
1 Slice Wheat Bread (finely chopped)
1 Egg
1/3 cup freshly grated Mozzarella
Salt and Pepper to taste

I mixed all the above ingredients and portioned into ~2 oz meatballs and placed into the oven at 425F for about 19 minutes. 

The Meatballs turned out great except for the amount of moisture in the chicken was too much. I rinsed the freshly grounded meat, and it seems I did not fully drain the water from the meat. This caused the meatballs to flatten out during the cooking process and because more of meat discs rather than balls.

Next up my recipe for the Marinara Sauce:

1/2 Onion - Large size - chopped
4 Roma Tomatoes - medium size - chopped
3 Cloves Garlic (finely chopped)
1/4 Tsp Chilli Flakes
1 Bay Leaf
3 Sprigs Oregano
3 Springs of Basil (chopped)
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
White Wine

I followed the recipe shown in the video for the class for the most part except for the tomato portion. I did not have tomato paste / canned tomato, and I like using fresh ingredients so I used 4 roma tomatoes, cut into larger chunks. Another change from the class recipe was using white wine instead of water to add to the sauce - I have seen this used in a few different recipes Ive read online, and decided to give it a shot. The end result was a marinara with a sweeter taste from the tomato and the wine, but still leaves the slight taste of heat from the chilli flakes in the end.

I was not sure how to get the thick marinara that I see out in restaurants etc, but I think that is from using the canned tomato rather than only fresh. My sauce turned out a bit more chunky with the tomatoes. 

Overall a great experience with my first attempt, and I think the second try would yield much better results since I know where I can make adjustmets.

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