Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Comfort Food: Spaghetti and Garlic Bread

In conjunction with Penn Appétit's comfort-food themed Fall 2012 magazine, we are featuring a few of our bloggers' favorite comfort foods, along with their cherished recipes.

Today's featured recipe:
Spaghetti with sausages and meatballs and a side of garlic bread

On a cold winter’s day, there may be nothing more comforting than indulging in a bowl (or plate, depending on your style) of hot spaghetti with sausages and meatballs. As a young girl, I remember the delight of watching my mom prepare the meal. She would effortlessly sprinkle spices into the pot, creating a rich sauce perfectly accented by the Italian seasonings and red wine. But, spaghetti nights were not completely filled with sheer enjoyment. For, I remember how disgusted I was with the prospect of touching raw meat to form the meatballs! Whenever I helped make this dish, my mom would always tease me while she prepared the meatballs, holding out her meat-encrusted hands with amusement. I, however, would focus on the chopping of ingredients or on the sautéing of the sausages or meatballs, desperately trying to avoid glancing at the meatball preparation. Yet now that I’m away from home, I’ve had quite a craving for my mom’s spaghetti and meatballs. If I can only get over my fear of forming the meatballs, I’ll be good to go! Below is my mom’s recipe for spaghetti with sausages and meatballs. The spaghetti normally lasts my family of four two days. I always think that the second day is the best, since the flavors of the sauce have been able to marinate together. So, even if you only have a little bit left after the first night, keep it! My mom also really likes spicy food, so this recipe can tend to be a little on the hot side. If you prefer less spicy spaghetti, use sweet sausage rather than hot Italian sausage (Andouille is particularly delicious!). You can also omit the red pepper. But, I highly recommend trying the spaghetti as is—sometimes, a bit of spice is rather nice! Also—we always have our spaghetti with garlic bread! I’ve included the recipe below as well.

-Katie Behrman

The Recipe

Ingredients (meatballs)

One package ground sirloin (between 1 and 1.5 lbs)
1 egg
2 garlic cloves, chopped, one to put in meatball mixture and one to sauté
½ c seasoned breadcrumbs
¼ c milk
1 carrot, chopped (optional)
½ med onion, chopped
½ tsp coarsely ground black pepper for meatball mixture + ¼ tsp coarsely ground black pepper to sauté
1/8 tsp kosher or sea salt ¼ tsp basil (dried)
¼ tsp oregano
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil to sauté

Directions (meatballs)

Mix ingredients together in a large bowl and form mixture into balls with bare hands(around 12-15).
Sauté 1 clove chopped garlic, 2 tbsp olive oil, and ¼ tsp black pepper in frying pan until fragrant. ADD meatballs and cook over med-low heat around twenty minutes (don’t handle the meatballs too much as they can easily break. I find it helpful to rotate the meatballs about every 5 minutes—when the side has been browned). The meatballs do not need to be fully cooked, as they’ll cook in the sauce.

Ingredients (spaghetti sauce)

Meatballs (see above)
One package Hot Italian Sausage (or sweet if you prefer)
2 29 oz cans tomato sauce (Hunt’s is good)
2 14.5 oz cans stewed tomatoes, Italian style
1 small can tomato paste
around 6 leaves fresh basil, torn
1 tsp red pepper, crushed
1 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
½-1 onion, chopped
one red and one green pepper, chopped (optional)
1 clove garlic, chopped
½ c – 1 c red wine (cabernet sauvignon) (optional)
1 bay leaf
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
sea or kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper to taste

Directions (spaghetti sauce)

Cook sausage in frying pan while cooking meatballs in another frying pan, around twenty minutes. After sausage is cooked, transfer to a plate with paper towels and dab away the grease. Then, slice sausage fairly thick.
Begin sauce. In a dutch-oven, sauté garlic, pepper (1/4 tsp) and onions in 2 Tbsp olive oil on medium heat until onions are translucent, around three minutes. Add peppers and cook an additional three – five minutes, if desired.
Add tomato sauce and stewed tomatoes, oregano, basil, bay leaf, red pepper, tomato paste and red wine to the dutch-oven. Season to taste with salt and pepper. ADD sausage and meatballs to the sauce.
Simmer covered on med-low heat around thirty minutes (the longer you simmer, the longer the flavors will have to blend together!).
Serve over thin spaghetti or vermicelli (cooked according to package directions).

Ingredients (garlic bread)

1 baguette
½-1 stick butter (softened)
1-2 cloves chopped garlic
Drizzle of olive oil
Fresh basil (optional, though encouraged)
Parmesan cheese (optional, though encouraged)

Directions (garlic bread)

Cut bread horizontally (so that there’s a top and a bottom).
Add garlic to softened butter and mix with fork.
Spread butter mixture onto bread.
Drizzle with olive oil.
Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
Sprinkle with fresh basil.
Bake at 350F or broil wrapped in tinfoil until golden brown.
*Note: You can never have too much butter, air on the side of decadence!

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