Braised Meatballs in Red Wine

The sauce for these meatballs is so simple and elegant. It is important to use the best ingredients--a good red wine you like to drink, a nice tomato paste (I use some fabulous organic tomato paste) and tasty beef broth or stock, preferably homemade. Resist any temptation you might have to add herbs or garlic to the sauce--you don't want to mess with this subtle simplicity. It makes for a nice contrast with the meatballs flavored with summer savory, parsley, parmesan, onion and pepper. :) I would also advise against adding garlic to this recipe--get your garlic kick with the spinach mashed potatoes....I'm telling you, this recipe as I made it last night is just too good to fuck with.

about 170 grams of a day-old baguette (depending on the size of the baguette, about 1/3 to 1/2 a loaf), crust left on, cut into slices
1 cup whole milk
1/2 kilo mixed ground beef and pork
2 eggs
about 1/2 to 1 cup grated parmesano reggiano
1 medium onion, minced
1/2 cup minced fresh Italian parsley
2 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1-2 Tbsp minced fresh summer savory

All purpose flour

2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cups dry red wine
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 cups beef broth

Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Put the bread and milk in a bowl and push the bread down to submerge it. Let it stand for 10 minutes to absorb the milk. Then squeeze most of the milk out of the slices and place them in a large bowl. Discard the milk. To the soggy bread add the ground meat, eggs, parmesan, onion, parsley, salt, pepper and savory. Mix well with your hands. Form mixture into meatballs. Place the meatballs in a baking dish and bake for 30 minutes. Let cool enough to handle.

Dust meatballs with flour; shake off excess. Melt the butter and oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the meatballs and sauté until brown on all sides. Return all the meatballs to skillet. Whisk wine and tomato paste together in a small bowl to blend. Add the wine mixture to meatballs and bring it to boil. Continue boiling, stirring frequently, until the wine thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Add broth, reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring frequently, until flavors blend and the gravy thickens, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve the meatballs and their sauce with the spinach mashed potatoes.

Spinach Mashed Potatoes

some potatoes
some milk
5 or so cloves garlic, crushed
some butter
salt and pepper to taste
some frozen spinach

Boil the potatoes in salted water until they are tender. Meanwhile heat milk, crushed garlic, salt, pepper and butter over medium-low in a small saucepan. Keep this at a bare simmer. When the potatoes are nearly done toss the spinach into the saucepan and stir until heated through (or use a big saucepan and use fresh spinach). Drain and mash the potatoes, then mash in the spinach mixture. Serve alongside the meatballs in red wine.

a photo of the leftovers I had for lunch today--I was in too much of a rush to get out of the house to take a photo last night. )


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