The desire to cook a meal for the team came up again, thanks to the suggestion of my colleague. Following the theme on using Spaghetti like in our last cookout (and wanting to use that last packet of dry noodles!), we decided that Spaghetti Meatball would be a lovely refreshing lunch in sunny Langkawi.
So this is how we did it.
Spaghetti Meatball A-la Razee.
Ingredients, for 15 pax easy,
- Ground Beef, 1 kgs
- Onion, fine diced and sauteed in oil to soften
- Garlic, 2 pips, diced and sauteed in oil with onions
- Jacob's Plain Cream Crackers, 10 pcs, crushed to be used as 'breadcrumbs'
- Eggs, 1 or 2 depending on how 'wet' the ground beef is
- Dried Chilli Flakes, 1 tbsp
- Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce, 3 tbsp
- Salt & White Pepper, to taste.
Mix the raw ground beef with everything except the eggs. Test the consistency of the raw mix when shaped into balls. Add 1 or 2 eggs only if the mixture seems too firm. Remember that meat will firm up further upon cooking. We wish to have meatballs with a bit of bite to it, not rubber ball hard and certainly not gloopy squishy meatballs too. Taste a bit of the raw mix to test for saltiness. It should be perfectly seasoned.
Once happy with the flavour, shape up the mix into small balls about the size of a large Kalamata Olive or Cherry Tomato. You can go larger if you so wish, but it will larger sizes take longer to cook through.
Heat up some normal cooking oil (corn or palm oil is fine), enough to coat bottom of pan. Cook meatballs on medium high heat to caramelised. Set aside.
Pour the frying oil into the Tomato Sauce pot. All that oil has been infused with the powerful flavour and aroma of beef. Waste this not!
- Onions, about 400gm, roughly chopped into 1 cm cubes (i like em chunky!)
- Fresh tomatoes, about 1 Kgs, chopped into cubes, skin, seeds and all.
- Garlic, 2 whole cloves, chopped
- Prego Italian style Tomato Sauce, 4 small cans
- Tomato Paste, 4 tbsp (the thick, sour kind)
- Bird's Eye Chillies, 10 units, sliced or chopped (remove seed for less Fiyah!)
- Whole Black peppercorn, 1 tbsp, cracked
- Dried Chili Flakes, 1 tbsp, crumbled into sauce
- Dried Oregano, 1 tbsp
- Chili Sauce, 2 tbsp
- Salt & White Pepper, to taste.
Saute chopped onions in a large pot until soft, add in the whole lot of chopped tomatoes and sweat until nice and cooked through. This will take a good 5 minutes at least. Do not rush this by cranking up the heat. We want the onions and tomatoes to sweat not catch.
Add in garlic and give the pot a stir or two. Add all of the canned pasta sauce as well as the tomato paste. Leave to simmer. Stirring once or twice to prevent scorching (the high sugar content of the sauces can burn). Simmer for about 5 minutes for the flavours to amalgamate.
Stir in the chopped chillies, dried chili flakes, and chili sauce. What I am after here is the layering effect of spiciness on top of the sharp sour tang of the sauce. Simmer for another 5 minutes or so. If sauce appears to thick, add in a half or 1 cup of pasta cooking water (or more, to your liking). Throw in the dried oregano (or whatever pasta herb you happen to have, this recipe is sufficiently robust to take on even strong herb-y additions).
Adjust the seasoning to taste. Ideally, this Pasta sauce should be sharply sourish (this is a Tomato based pasta sauce tip I learnt from the Palladinos, a wonderful Italian couple in Australia during my flying days), merged with a Malaysian desire for a smouldering heat of chillies in the background. When ready to serve, tip in the shallow fried meatballs into the sauce and reheat once over. Do not over stir.
|The long slow cooking coaxes the multiple flavours into a cohesive yet layered one.|
The addition of the pasta cooking liquid apart from thinning it down also adds a wonderful shine.
- San Remo Spaghetti, 2 packs, cooked to al-dente, drain,
- Garlic, 3 pips, sauteed in 3 tbsp oil
Cook pasta according to manufacturer's instruction and drain. Set aside in a large bowl/plate. Reserve some of the starchy cooking liquid to thin Tomato sauce. While pasta is still hot, speedily saute the chopped garlic in the oil. Add in salt & pepper into the oil and while still hot, pour it all onto the drained hot cooked spaghetti. Stir the garlicky oil through the pasta. Ready to serve.
This is a cheat method to sauteing the whole pot of cooked pasta. It will prevent stray noodles all over your stove top. You know what a bitch it is like to clean grungy pasta off a hot stove hob right?
- French Loaf, sliced and spread with garlic butter and toasted till crisp (easy enough right?).
- Grated Parmesan cheese, to taste.
To enjoy, simply scoop up a portion of garlic 'sauteed' pasta onto a plate. Ladle on the thick Tomato Meatball sauce on top. Slap on a piece of Garlic Toast and sprinkle on some grated cheese.
|Have it your way!|