Friday, 6 November 2009

Pasta with Meatballs with an Asian Twist!

What's a food blog without pasta? I had all the ingredients to make it and so I decided to make pasta with meatballs. It would have probably looked better with spaghetti but heck, I make do with what pasta I have.




Pasta with Meatballs with an Asian Twist

Ingredients:

A bowl of            pasta (preferably a large soup bowl)

Meatballs:
250gms                mince meat - should be a combination of pork and beef
1 whole                red onion - cut roughly
1 tbsp                  chilli flakes
1 tbsp                  sesame oil
1 tsp                    corn starch
1 tsp                    freshly ground black pepper
A dash of            salt

Sauce:
A bottle of          chopped tomatoes (a can of the same is fine as well)
1 whole              yellow onion - diced
2 whole              peppers - diced
10 - 20 whole    cherry tomatoes - halved
3 stalks of          red chillies
1 tsp                  dried oregano (or to taste)
bunch of             fresh basil leaves - thinly sliced
                          salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. First, combine ingredients to make meatballs in a food processor. If you are taking meat out of the freezer, make sure you defrost the meat before adding it to the food processor. Blitz it till everything is combined. Roll the meat mixture into balls as above.
  2. Next start the fire and place a pot over with some olive oil. Add in diced yellow onions and salt. Stir until onions are sweaty and fragrant. Sweaty you say? Yes...it looks translucent and it looks like water is coming out of it. That's what sweaty means in terms of onions. Then add in the sliced red chillies, halved cherry tomatoes before adding in the meatballs. 
  3. Stir for a bit before adding in the chopped tomatoes and its juices into the pot. Add in the oregano and sliced basil leaves and stir in the mixture. Wait till it boils and then the fire down to let it simmer. Cover the pot and wait for the sauce to combine its flavours with the meat and tomatoes. Let is simmer for about 10 to 20 minutes.
  4. Whilst sauce is simmering, prepare a separate pot with water to bring to boil. Add in salt and some olive oil. Once water is boiling, add in pasta of choice and let it cook. I normally test the density of the pasta by having a bite. The best is always al dente, and that means crunchy to the bite but not soft to a point that it looks like a pile of starch. Follow the instructions of the pasta packet if you don't know what al dente tastes and you'll be on your way to edible pasta. Drain the hot water and run the cooked pasta through cold water to stop the cooking process. Place the cooled down pasta back into the pot.
  5. Add in freshly grounded black pepper and chopped peppers into sauce and stir it in. Add in salt should it not be salty enough.
  6. Once pasta sauce is to taste, scoop a portion of pasta sauce onto pasta. Stir in pot first before serving it up. 
A normal bolognese sauce takes more than 4 hours to cook. Mine is the express version and takes about 30 to 45 minutes in total. It still gives me the same kick and this sauce has many variations from meatballs to beef slices. But, to appease my Italian friends I will have to state that in the world of pasta, except for Pasta Carbonara, there is no such thing as meat with pasta. It is normally served up plain like the aglio olio or with seafood. You would not find a pasta dish in Italy that contains meat. It is the concoction of other countries that gave birth to pasta with meat. Even with Pasta Carbonara, it only contains bits of bacon or pancetta, and even then they use it sparingly unlike us folk :)

And so, such pasta is best served piping hot with slices of french bread on the side of which I did not have. But in any case you are still welcome to serve it up however you may like it. The vegetables are interchangeable with courgettes, carrots and even celery to add some crunch to it. Omit the chillies if you're not a spice fan like me.

Hope it brings a smile to your face,
The Innovative Baker


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