Sunday, October 20, 2013

Meatballs with Orecchiette, Kale and Pine Nuts

I am not the only one who cooks in our family.  My beautiful wife, Clare, is also a great cook and a great baker.  Every once in a while, I ask my Angel to provide a guest blog post so that I can share some of the amazing and delicious things that she makes for family, friends and, of course, me.  She has already provided guest blog posts about Cuban Bread, Loyalist Bread, Salmon Burgers, Peach Cobbler and Parmesan Soufflé with White Wine Butter Sauce.   So, without further ado,

A Guest Blog Post by Clare ...

This dish -- Meatballs with Orecchiette, Kale and Pine Nuts -- was the second dish from our recent wine club dinner.  As Keith previously explained in connection with the first dish, Grilled Seafood with Romesco Sauce, we hosted a wine dinner based on the recipes of Chef Gordon Ramsay.  Keith has watched a lot of Gordon Ramsay's shows, like Hell's Kitchen and Master Chef; however, we did not want this dinner to be like either of those shows.  Instead, the recipes were chosen to reflect Gordon Ramsay's interest in various cuisines.

This recipe is a both a display of Southern Italian cuisine and a twist with the flavors.  Orecchiette is a traditional pasta from Apulia, a region in southern Italy.  In Apulia, this pasta may be served with broccoli, anchovies and chiles.  The twist comes from Chef Ramsay's substitution of meatballs, kale and pine nuts.   

We decided to add our own little twist to Chef Ramsay's recipe.  His recipe calls for the use of beef meatballs; however, I do not eat red meat.  So, Keith suggested that we substitute ground turkey for ground meat.  I do eat turkey, so that substitution worked well.

Both Keith and I really liked this dish; and, I think we will make this recipe again ... if at the very least to ensure that Keith gets enough greens in his diet. 

Recipe from Gordon Ramsay's Cookery Course
Serves 4

Ingredients (for the pasta):
2 cups of dried orecchiette pasta
2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
Slightly less than 1 cup of kale
4 tablespoons of pine nuts, toasted
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Ingredients (for the meatballs):
1 small onion, peeled and finely diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
Olive oil
1 teaspoon of dried chile flakes
1 pound of minced beef (or turkey)
1/3 cup of fresh breadcrumbs
3-4 tablespoons of milk
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

1.  Prepare the meatballs.  Saute the onion and garlic with seasoning in a hot oiled frying pan for about 5 minutes until soft and lightly colored, adding the chile flakes after a minute or two.  Place the mince in a large bowl and add seasoning.  Put the breadcrumbs in a separate bowl and moisten with the milk.  Add seasoning, then stir the breadcrumbs and onion mixture into the mince and combine well.  With wet hands, shape the mince mixture into small balls about 2 centimeters wide.  Transfer to a lightly greased plate or tray and chill for 30 minutes until firm. 

2.  Cook the pasta.  Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente, according to packet instructions.  

3.  Prepare the meatballs and kale.  Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat and add a little olive oil.  Brown the meatballs for 6 minutes until colored on all sides.   Add the garlic to the pan and cook for 2 minutes until tender, then add the kale and season.  Sweat the kale over medium heat for 5 minutes with a couple of tablespoons of the cooking water from the pasta.  Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessarty, then stir in the pine nuts.

4.  Finish the dish.  Drain the pasta, reserving a few tablespoons of the cooking water.  Tip the pasta into the pan with the meatballs and stir over a medium-low heat until well mixed.  Add a good handful of finely grated Parmesan, and mix well with a little cooking water to help coat the pasta.  Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.  Serve garnished with another grating of Parmesan.

And, as Keith says ...


1 comment:

Molly said...

I love it when Clare guest blogs! This looks delicious; I will take a stab at recreating it.

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