Meatballs & Spaghetti
So the Top Chef finale was last night, and for those of you who watch it, were you as sad as I was that Carla didn’t win? Ah well, I suppose that’s the way the cookie crumbles (or, in the case of the finale, the way the souffle curdles). I’d still eat anything Carla made; as much as she sometimes got panned for it, I loved how she so obviously put love and soul into her cooking and had a likable quirky personality, to boot.
Anyhow, see that big bowl of spaghetti and meatballs up there? I made a big batch of Ina’s meatballs, and some homemade spaghetti, last weekend because of something I’d been thinking about recently related to Top Chef. Earlier in the season, one of the elimination challenges asked each of the chefs to cook a “Last Supper” for a celebrity chef or foodie — each of whom had told the contestants what they would want their last meal to be. (There’s also a book out along this vein, called “My Last Supper: 50 Great Chefs and Their Final Meals,” appropriately enough.) What I thought was interesting is that even though these were all very accomplished, skilled and experienced chefs, their meal choices were all fairly simple, classic flavors. No haute cuisine, no molecular gastronomy (in fact, Wylie Dufresne requested Eggs Benedict.) Lidia Bastianich wanted roast chicken, Jacques Pepin wanted squab and peas. So this got me to thinking — what would I want for my last meal?
The answer, actually, came to me pretty quickly. And yep, you guessed it: spaghetti and meatballs. It’s homey, comforting, and I don’t know…just one of my favorite meals. I don’t even make it that often; usually only about twice a year, but when I do make it I loooooooooove it. It’s not particularly seasonal, but I do usually make it in the colder months when I’m craving a warm bowl of noodles and sauce to slurp down (the meatballs don’t hurt, either.)
I actually had been looking for a good meatball recipe for a long time, and when I saw Deb’s post over on smitten kitchen, I knew I would have to try Ina’s. And they are GOOD. Really tender, flavorful, and their lightness belies their larger size. This recipe’s a keeper!
The sauce comes together easily, but I doubled the amounts because I like my spaghetti on the saucy side. Oh, and instead of all crushed tomatoes I used a combination of crushed and diced but — next time — I think I’d go crushed all the way.
And then there’s the homemade spaghetti. Which, I am so sorry to say, I am going to save for another post — I want to do it justice. Suffice it to say, it was tender, luscious, delicious, and slurp-worthy.
Since I followed Ina’s recipe to a “T,” I’ll just send you directly to the source. The only thing I’d recommend — if you like your pasta saucy like me — is to double the amount of ingredients in the sauce.
What about you? What would you pick for your “last supper?” (Ugh, and I don’t mean that in a morbid way, more just — if you had to pick your favorite meal, what would it be?)