Monday, August 6, 2012

Spaghetti with Spicy Buffalo Meatballs

Spaghetti and meatballs. Comfort food at its best. I still crave spaghetti like I did when I was young. Big huge heaps of starch, gobs of tomatoes, huge savory meatballs. Om nom nom. 

I used to buy meatballs and canned tomato sauce. But now I'm all about making my meatballs and sauce. It's a little bit more work, but really, not that much more. And it gives me to freedom to play with my balls. Yup, you heard me, I play with my balls. 

This time around, we had some ground bison meat in the fridge and so I decided that they would work well for the balls. I used some of the basics, bread soaked in milk, oregano etc. But I also decided to throw in a secret little ingredient. Sriracha. And let me tell you, it worked out fantastically. It gives the meatballs a bit of a kick, but nothing too overwhelming. And if you don't want the spicy? Easy omission. Just leave it out and they'll still be as delectable as usual. 

For the sauce, I stuck with the basics. Onions, garlic, mushrooms, basil, tomatoes, etc. This was a quick cook sauce, although I usually prefer to let the sauce simmer for a couple hours to marry the flavors better. But, we had someone coming over for dinner and it was a week day. Worked out just fine. 
I've also decided to try something out when recommending recipes. We're big wine drinkers in our house. No, we don't let Cody drink, but Brett and I enjoy wine. So I'll let you know what pairs well with the dinner, if we have wine. Not every post will have wine, because we don't drink every night. 

In this case, the dinner was paired with a 2005 Ruffino Chianti and a 2001 Aglieta Brunello di Montalcino. 

Second caveat, we did not buy these wine. No, we didn't steal them. We have a very dear friend who is a total wine connoisseur. He collects wine, knows more about every vintage and varietal than I will ever know. And at least once a month Brett and I have dinner with him. The arrangement is I cook, he brings wine. It's a pretty awesome arrangement. Our dinners are also always really fun. 

Anywho, off to the recipe!

Ingredients

Meatballs
1 piece of white bread
1 C whole milk
1 egg
1 C grated parmesan
1 T Sriracha
1T oregano
1/2T black pepper
1 lb bison meat

Sauce
2 T olive oil
1 onion
1 C mushrooms (I used an organic mix from Whole Foods, but any will do)
8 cloves garlic, chopped
3 T oregano
1 T dried basil
1 T black pepper
1 T crushed red pepper
1 tomato, crushed
1 28 oz can of tomato purée - preferably San Marzano
1 C fresh basil

Spaghetti
1/2 package of whole wheat pasta

Preheat the oven to 400°. 

Soak the piece of bread in the milk. Soak for about a minute or two, but just to wet it. 

Grate the parm.

Crumble the bread in the milk, add to the parm and add the ingredients through the black pepper.

Add the bison meat and combine. Don't combine too thoroughly. You don't want to pack it too tightly.

Form about 2" balls with the meat. Put on a baking rack on a baking sheet. If you don't have a rack, you can just use a lined baking sheet. No harm.

Cook in the oven for 25 minutes and then turn them and cook for another 15 minutes.


Heat up the olive oil in a large deep skillet on medium heat. Slice the onions and mushrooms. Add to the pan and sauté until the onions are soft, about 10 minutes.


Add the oregano through the black pepper. Combine well and cook for another 5 minutes.

Add the remaining ingredients and turn the heat to medium-low. Let cook for at least 25 minutes.

While the sauce cooks, cook the spaghetti according to the instructions on the package.

Remove the meatballs from the oven and add to the sauce.

Combine the meatballs, sauce and spaghetti. Let sit together for at least 5 minutes. Serve immediately and enjoy!

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