Homemade Meatballs and Vodka Sauce
I had my good friend Scott over the other day for a home cooked meal. I asked him what he wanted. He said Italian. I provide a list of potential dishes with various level of complication required in producing them. He picked one of the easiest choices: Spaghetti and Meatballs. I always like to look for recipe inspiration. I have a great recipe for meatballs from my dad but wanted to experiment with adding cheese - I found a great recipe on "It's All Delicious" for Pork and Veal Meatballs with Ricotta. My only change: use 2 lbs of meat (1/3 pork, 1/3 beef, 1/3 veal). Most grocery stores sell this mix of ground meat pre-packaged, so it's more convenient and also tastier to use this ratio. Instead of the tomato sauce suggested in the recipe, I wanted to make a vodka sauce since Scott and I both prefer that type - more on that later! Let's focus on the balls now, because, you know you want to say the word BALLS (ok, are we over it now?). The recipe said it yielded around 15-17 meatballs - I prefer mine smaller (insert joke here), so it made about 25. Size doesn't matter, just make sure they are similar so they cook evenly.
While the meatballs were baking the oven, I got to work on the sauce. Even though I JUST made Vodka Sauce, I knew I could improve on what I made. I love the Pioneer Woman (Ree Drummond) and I liked her version of Pasta all Vodka. My only changes to her recipe: let the alcohol cook off more (or simply use less vodka, 1/2 cup is likely more than enough), use a 28 oz can of tomato puree (I couldn't even find a 14 oz can), add some herbs (basil, oregano, whatever you like) and garlic salt to add more flavor!
After the meatballs were done baking, I dunked them in the sauce. This allowed the flavors to marry and for the sauce to taste even MORE yummy!
To add some veggies to the meal, I steamed some broccoli and served it with a sprinkle of kosher salt. The meal was FANTASTIC!
I do love cooking in my small kitchen - if only I had a larger apartment to entertain in...then I could invite all of you over for a dinner party!