Dearest Ava recommended this Jamie Oliver’s Meatballs and Pasta recipe after she made it and posted her photograph to The Food Network Site. Considering she is Italian and said that this recipe tasted like the real deal, I just had to try it.
The meatballs were not difficult or super time consuming. I did have to crush up some of my own saltine crackers but that was no big deal. In a bowl you put some fresh chopped rosemary, the cracker crumbs, dijon mustard, ground beef, oregano, an egg and some salt and pepper. This makes 24 meatballs. I made them ahead of time and then threw them in the fridge until I was ready to make the sauce.
In some oil you saute the meatballs on all sides until they brown. Jamie says they will be done in 8-10 minutes. I knew that was not going to be the case, it never is. So instead of cooking them after I started working on the sauce I made them first and then put them in a 325F oven to cook through while I made the sauce.
I used shallots instead of onion and sauteed for a few minutes. Then I added garlic and red pepper flakes since chilies are too hot for me.
I threw in some fresh chopped basil, drizzled in balsamic vinegar and added a 28 oz can of diced tomatoes. This is where my heart sank. It was looking really watery and those tomatoes were really firm, they were not going to soften up by the time the pasta was done.
I put the meatballs into the “sauce” and cooked everything hard while I made the pasta.
The results? My husband put it best. “I think I would like this better… if it had a sauce!”
There was no sauce to speak of. Not really. Just a bunch of tomatoes on top and this watery broth. Now the meatballs were fantastic! Soft, light, easy to cut with a fork. I loved those. This recipe is hard to review. I would give the sauce one spoon out of five and the meatballs five out of five, therefore, I give this recipe three out of five wooden spoons.
I have made four homemade spaghetti sauces in the last month or so and I will be honest, they all disappointed me. I guess people do not make sauces with crushed tomatoes and tomato paste anymore. They are all too light and thin for me. That is not a sauce!
Thankfully I had a lot of leftover meatballs so I will make this again for dinner tonight but with Prego. It is one of the few packaged foods that tastes better than homemade. I bet with these meatballs dinner is going to be out of this world.
Sorry Ava! I really wish I liked the whole dish. That said, those meatballs are fantastic and I will be making them again. Thank you so much for the inspiration.