Saturday, February 6, 2010

Roasted Tomato Sauce and Meatballs

My friend Jamie gave me a terrific cookbook for Christmas—Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller (of French Laundry fame). This 350-page book is filled with tons of yummy-sounding family-style recipes. We had some friends over for dinner tonight and I served Roasted Tomato Sauce and Meatballs over extra-wide eggs noodles, instead of the called-for pappardelle pasta (I couldn't find this type of pasta). This tomato sauce has a very concentrated flavor, almost like tomato paste, and I love it. This will now be my signature tomato sauce. In my opinion, the original recipe didn't make enough sauce, so I added an additional 14.5-ounce can of diced tomatoes. Next time I will use four 28-ounce cans. It takes a lot of time to make this sauce (allow an afternoon), but it's totally worth it. The egg noodles worked perfectly. Enjoy!

Roasted Tomato Sauce
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 fennel bulb, chopped
1 leek, chopped (white and light green parts only)
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
4 cans whole tomatoes (The original recipe calls for 2 (28-oz.) cans.)
1 Sachet

1. Combine oil and next 4 ingredients in a baking dish, and sprinkle with salt.
2. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes. Remove from oven, and stir in brown sugar and vinegar. Bake for 20 more minutes. Remove from oven.
3. Drain tomatoes. Coarsely chop half of tomatoes; puree remaining half with an immersion blender. Add tomatoes to baking dish, season with salt and pepper to taste. Add Sachet. Return to oven, and bake for 1 1/2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes. Discard Sachet, and serve with meatballs and hot cooked egg noodles.

Combine 10 peppercorns, 3 thyme sprigs, and 1 bay leaf in a square of cheesecloth. Tie with kitchen string.

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 lb. ground sirloin
1 lb. ground pork
1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 16 cubes

1. Sauté onions and garlic in hot oil over medium-low heat for 20 minutes. Stir in salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
2. Combine ground sirloin, ground pork, and next 3 ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in sautéed vegetables and salt and pepper.
3. Shape meat mixture into balls (yield should be 15 or 16 meatballs); place a mozzarella cube in center of meatball. Place meatballs on an oven-safe rack in a baking sheet.
4. Bake at 450° for 15 to 20 minutes or until done. Serve with Roasted Tomato Sauce.

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