When I'm away from my kitchen for too long, I start to feel a little bit un-centered. I mean, I cooked in my parent's house and in Greg's parent's house during the past 2 weeks, but sometimes working in another person's kitchen can feel a bit like trying to run through water. In my kitchen I know where everything is, I know what sort of things that I keep stocked in my pantry, and I have my own cookbooks in easy reach on my own kitchen bookshelf. All of this to say, it was with GREAT RELIEF when I finally got back to my own kitchen. It's amazing just how FAST I can cook when I know where everything is!
One of the last dinners I made before we left on our trip was Spaghetti and Meatballs from Pioneer Woman's recipe. They were so good, that the memory of it stayed with me for the next two weeks, and by the time that we were driving home, I began daydreaming of meatballs... (let's not assign any Freudian theories to that business...)
On Monday I hit my kitchen with a fury, baking our usual Honey Whole Wheat Bread, a batch of Artisan Bread In Five Minutes A Day dough, and forming meatballs. Using the Artisan dough, I formed rolls and set them to rise, then followed Pioneer Woman's recipe/idea for making buttered rosemary rolls, using some beautiful fresh rosemary trimmed from a neighbors hedge (the people next door to us have an entire hedge of rosemary. Seriously.)
I've always liked meatballs OK, but I've never LOVED them until this recipe. I'm guessing it has to do with the moist combination of pork and beef, and the fact that they are browned in a generous dose of olive oil before starting the sauce. Another major turn-on of this dish is in the great big glug of red wine that's added to simmer with the tomatoes. I almost hesitate to say this next part, because if any of my siblings read this, I will be killed dead, but...instead of crushed tomatoes, I used one can of whole diced tomatoes, and one can of generic tomato sauce. Also, the red wine that I used was the "burgundy" out of a cheap screw-top jug. But shhhh, let's keep that on the down-low, shall we? Anyway, the browned meatballs are then added to the sauce to simmer even further and the entire thing is infused with meatiness and delicious, richly flavored tomatoey goodness until the meatballs are cooked through.
And it was delicious! And I would serve it to company! And I will make this often!
The rolls turned out even better than I'd expected -- brushing the dough with butter and then baking them in the cast-iron pan gave the crust a crispness, and the butter seemed to infuse it all through. Greg thought for a moment that they were biscuits. I just thought that they were OHMYGOSHGOOD.
I had roasted 2 heads of garlic and mashed them with extra virgin olive oil and salt to serve with the rolls, but they didn't end up needing anything extra at all. They were just THAT TASTY. Oh yeah baby. Did I mention that I am completely addicted to carbs? No? Then let us not speak of it. (Don't cry for the roasted garlic spread though -- I've been smearing it on everything except the breakfast cereal. It tastes like garlic butter, but even better!)
Hurrah for breadiness!