Delicious recipes for the curious cook!
For a very long time, my fiance and I wanted to take a cooking class to learn more techniques, further our skills in the kitchen and just indulge in some really good quality food. We finally had the chance last month when I surprised him with cooking classes at a local cooking school. Thanks to a happy accident, the class we originally registered for was cancelled and we were able to join a Venetian Nights themed cooking class, and we were so happy we did!
I’m a firm believer of the thought that you can always know more and that was proven true during this class. I realized I’ve been slicing onions and garlic incorrectly for my entire life, learned some insider tips regarding dessert ingredients and what to use to form the best shaped meatballs. At the end of the night, our bellies were full and satisfied thanks to a wonderful, entirely hands-on cooked-by-us meal of Venetian favorites.
I’ll be sharing one recipe from the class each week. First up are meatballs in a pancetta tomato sauce. Trust me, they’re good. So good, in fact, that I temporarily broke from my no red-meat rule to try them and I didn’t regret it one bit.
MEATBALLS WITH PANCETTA TOMATO SAUCE
Yield: About 2 dozen meatballs
Active time: 30 minutes
Start to finish: 45 minutes
For the meatballs:
1/2 pound ground chuck
1/2 pound ground pork
1 egg, well beaten
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, rough chopped
1/3 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and pepper to taste
For the sauce:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 pound pancetta, small dice
1/2 onion, medium dice
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 cup red wine
One 28-ounce can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons fresh basil, leaves torn
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of granulated sugar, if desired
Preheat the oven to 375° and line a sheet tray with parchment paper.
2. In a medium-size bowl, gently mix together the ground meat, egg, breadcrumbs, oregano, chili
flakes, parsley, ricotta, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Form the mixture into 1-inch
meatballs, and set them on the prepared tray.
3. Bake the meatballs until slightly firm and browned on the bottoms, about 15 minutes.
4. While the meatballs are baking, prepare the sauce. Heat a wide, heavy pan over medium-low
heat, and add the olive oil. Gently sauté the pancetta until just crispy.
5. Stir in the onion and sauté until lightly caramelized around the edges, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the
garlic and cook an additional minute, or until aromatic.
6. Deglaze the pan with the red wine, and reduce until almost dry.
Recipe courtesy of The Chopping Block.