"Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time." Marthe Troly-Curtin

Friday, June 18, 2010

Spicy Lamb Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

These succulent meatballs can be served on little plates with plenty of bread for sopping up the rich tomato sauce or simply with toothpicks (and a napkin!). They are best served warm.
Makes 12 servings, 4 meatballs each
12 ounces ground lamb
12 ounces 93%-lean ground turkey
1 cup fresh whole-wheat breadcrumbs (see Tip)
1 large egg white
1 cup minced onion, divided
6 cloves garlic, minced, divided
4 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, divided
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup red wine
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
2. Combine lamb, turkey, breadcrumbs, egg white, 1/2 cup onion, half the garlic, 2 tablespoons mint, coriander, cumin and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Gently mix to combine. Shape into 48 little meatballs, about 1 tablespoon each. Place on the prepared baking sheet.
3. Bake the meatballs for 10 minutes. Set aside.
4. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the remaining 1/2 cup onion and cook, stirring, until golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining garlic, wine, cayenne and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Simmer over medium-low heat until the wine has reduced significantly, 3 to 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, return to a simmer, reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes.
5. Add the meatballs to the sauce and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. Garnish with the remaining 2 tablespoons mint.

NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per serving: 178 calories; 7 g fat (2 g sat, 3 g mono); 35 mg cholesterol; 14 g carbohydrate; 13 g protein; 2 g fiber; 275 mg sodium; 333 mg potassium.

Nutrition bonus: Vitamin C (15% daily value).

1 Carbohydrate Serving

Exchanges: 1/2 starch, 1 vegetable, 2 lean meat

TIP: Tip: To make fresh breadcrumbs, trim crusts from firm sandwich bread. Tear the bread into pieces and process in a food processor into coarse crumbs. One slice of bread makes about 1/3 cup crumbs.

MAKE AHEAD TIP: Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Just before serving, reheat over medium-low.
From EatingWell Magazine March/April 2007

Greek Baked Pasta

The moist and fragrant casserole pastitsio combines béchamel (a sauce of butter, flour and milk), pasta, ground lamb, tomato sauce, cheese, cinnamon and nutmeg. Instead of béchamel, Grace Parisi stirs a ricotta mixture into the pasta before baking it.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds lean ground lamb
1 onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of ground cloves
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 cups jarred marinara sauce
1 pound ziti or penne
3 cups fresh ricotta (1 1/2 pounds)
4 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1.. Preheat the oven to 350°. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the lamb, onion, oregano, cinnamon, cloves and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook over high heat, stirring frequently, until the lamb is no longer pink and any liquid has evaporated, about 8 minutes. Add the marinara sauce and bring to a boil. Boil over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has reduced slightly, about 5 minutes.
2.. Cook the pasta until barely al dente; drain and return to the pot. Meanwhile, in a blender, blend 2 cups of the ricotta with the yolks, nutmeg and 1/2 cup of the Parmigiano-Reggiano until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Pulse in the remaining ricotta.
3.. Add the lamb ragù to the pasta and toss. Transfer the pasta to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Pour the ricotta mixture on top and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Bake in the center of the oven for about 20 minutes, until heated through. Turn the broiler on and broil until the top is golden brown. Let stand for a few minutes before serving.

Make Ahead
The baked pasta can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Serve hot.

Recipe by Grace Parisi

Monday, June 14, 2010

Greek Sausage - Loukanika

1 lb ground pork
1/2 lb ground lamb
1/4 cup red wine
1 tsp dried marjoram
1 orange, peel only, grated
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf, ground
1/2 tsp ground coriander
salt, freshly ground black pepper and hot pepper flakes to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Refrigerate and allow to sit, covered, for 2-3 hours so the flavors will blend.

Roll the mixture in to little balls. Heat a saute pan over medium heat, add a little olive oil and sauté the Loukanika until they are browned. Serve as a Meze (appetizer) dish with lemon to squeeze over.

I have found many variations on the recipe for Loukanika, so there is no single way to make it. This is my personal favorite.

Note - this is "quick" Loukanika as normally this mixture would be put in to a sausage casing, poached, cooled, sometimes smoked and finally sliced and cooked as above. You can take the longer route if you wish, but this more direct method makes a delicious Loukanika.

Serves 20 as a Meze or 4 as a main course.