Posts Tagged ‘breadcrumbs’

Spaghetti with Sicilian Meatballs

January 13, 2013

IMG_9502When we were in Italy, what struck me most is that there truly isn’t “Italian” food. Rather, their food is identified by the region you are in. Spaghetti and clams in the Italian Riviera. Boar in Tuscany. Pizza in Naples. That is why I was so intrigued when I saw a recipe for Sicilian meatballs in Bon Appetit.

The food of Sicily has a Greek and sometimes African influence, making it have more olives, capers and currants than you would find in the “boot.” So when looking at the meatball recipe, at first glance it seemed very traditional. Sausage meat (which was an interesting twist on the typical beef, veal, pork combo), breadcrumbs in milk, garlic, onion, etc. Yet, then they add pine nuts and currants to make it have a bit of nutty sweetness. They are baked, and then smothered in a traditional Italian red sauce.

This dish has that same warm, comforting result as typical Italian meatballs, but they do have an interesting sweetness to them that makes them have a “hmm, what’s that?” factor. It is a great alternative to a typical bowl of spaghetti and meatballs, and will be making its way to our dinner table as a great Sicilian (not Italian!) dish!

SPAGHETTI WITH SICILIAN MEATBALLS
Serves 4-6

Sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes in juice
4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Meatballs:
2/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons milk
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 large egg
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound sweet Italian sausages, casings removed
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
2 tablespoons dried currants

1 pound spaghetti

For Sauce:
Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-low heat. Add onion; sauté until golden, about 10 minutes. Add garlic; stir 1 minute. Add tomatoes with juices and 2 tablespoons basil; bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer until sauce thickens, breaking up tomatoes with fork, about 1 hour. Mix in 2 tablespoons basil. Season with salt and pepper. Set sauce aside.

For Meatballs:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly oil baking sheet. Mix crumbs and milk in medium bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Mix in Parmesan, onion, basil, egg, garlic and pepper. Add sausage, pine nuts and currants; blend well. Using wet hands, form mixture into 1 1/4-inch balls. Place on baking sheet. Bake until meatballs are light brown and cooked through, about 30 minutes. Add to sauce.

Cook spaghetti in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Mound in dish. Bring sauce and meatballs to simmer. Mix with and spoon over spaghetti.

Chicken Milanese with Spring Greens and Parmesan-Browned Butter Orzo

May 4, 2010

So I have yet to find a person who doesn’t like something that is “chicken-fried.” Chicken-friend steak, chicken-fried pork, chicken-fried chicken. Because, let’s face it, anything that is fried is pretty darn good.

So it isn’t surprising that I love chicken milanese (or milanesa). It sounds fancier, but is basically a Latin-American version – same concept as wiener schnitzel or chicken fried chicken. You beat the chicken, dip it in egg, then in breadcrumb mixture, and then fry or bake until golden brown.

This is a good simple milanese recipe I got from Cooking Light. I figure if Cooking Light says I can have something fried, then it can’t be SO bad. I am sure there is a better recipe out there that has more butter, more oil, etc., but for a healthy recipe, this is a clear winner. I also suggest making the salad and orzo with it. The orzo is rich and creamy compared to the crunchy and juicy chicken, then the salad has a bit of tang and lightness to finish off the meal.

Enjoy!

CHICKEN MILANESE WITH SPRING GREENS
2 Servings

3/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon minced shallots
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
Dash of sugar
2 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/3 cup dry breadcrumbs (I recommend Panko)
2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
5 teaspoons olive oil, divided
2 cups packed spring mix salad greens
2 lemon wedges

Combine juice, vinegar, shallots, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and sugar; let stand 15 minutes.

Place chicken between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/2-inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet.

Combine breadcrumbs and cheese in a shallow dish. Place flour in a shallow dish. Place egg white in a shallow dish. Sprinkle chicken with 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Dredge chicken in flour; dip in egg white. Dredge in breadcrumb mixture. Place chicken on a wire rack; let stand 5 minutes.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 3 minutes. Turn chicken over; cook 2 minutes or until browned and done.

Add 2 teaspoons oil and 1/8 teaspoon pepper to shallot mixture; stir with a whisk. Add greens; toss gently. Place 1 chicken breast half and 1 cup salad on each of 2 plates. Serve with lemon wedges.

PARMESAN-BROWNED BUTTER ORZO
Serves 2

1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup orzo
2 tablespoons white wine
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon chopped chives

Cook 1 tablespoon butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat 4 minutes or until browned. Add 1/2 cup orzo; cook 1 minute. Add 2 tablespoons white wine; cook over medium-high heat 1 minute. Add 1 1/4 cups chicken broth. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 13 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan; cover and let stand 5 minutes. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon chives.

Pork Meatballs in Chipotle Sauce

October 5, 2009

CHIPOTLE MEATBALLSWhen the weather gets cold, I love a huge bowl of spaghetti and meatballs. So, when I saw this recipe on a PBS show (Everyday Food), I thought it was an interesting twist. I love the unique flavor the chipotles provide, and it gives the traditional spaghetti and meatballs a different personality.

I personally love to bake the meatballs vs. frying them in a skillet (I tend to get a better shape and overall cooking temperature). But, this recipe would work either way (it was originally written for pan frying). I also cut back on the onion (1/2 an onion vs. a full onion) because it seemed like a lot in comparison to the meat. But, feel free to add more!

PORK MEATBALLS IN CHIPOTLE SAUCE
Serves 4

1 1/2 pounds ground pork
1/2 medium onion, coarsely grated and squeezed firmly to remove excess liquid
1 small zucchini, coarsely grated and squeezed firmly to remove excess liquid
1 large egg
1/4 cup dried breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 to 2 chipotle chiles in adobo
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 (28 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes with juice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Cooked rice and chopped fresh cilantro, for serving (optional)

In a medium bowl, combine pork, onion, zucchini, egg, breadcrumbs, oregano, cumin, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; mix well with a fork. Form into 16 (2-inch) balls; transfer to a plate, and place in freezer until firm, 10 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine tomatoes and chiles in a blender; process until smooth, and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large, straight-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the meatballs; cook until brown, turning often, 4 to 5 minutes; transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining oil and meatballs. Or, preheat oven to 375-400 and place meatballs on jelly roll pan. Bake until cooked almost all the way through.

Add pureed sauce and return all meatballs to a skillet on medium low (the same skillet you cooked the meatballs in if you pan fried them). Cover; simmer, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes. Uncover, and simmer until sauce is thickened, 5 to 10 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper. Serve over rice, sprinkled with cilantro, as desired.


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