Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

Meatballs in Tomato SauceI hate Stelios, who was one of my husband’s high school classmates in Greece and he is still a good friend of my husband. Stelios is very pleasant to be with and I am always happy to see and talk to him. However, I have a reason to hate him.

When I was still living in New York City, Stelios visited my husband in Louisiana. During that time, he cooked spaghetti for my husband.
“It was mindboggling, “ my husband said.
“He boiled the spaghetti for nearly 20 minutes and it became just like the one I used to have when I was in Greece. It was so good!” He congratulated Stelios for his spaghetti. Since then he calls overcooked spaghetti, the “Stelios’ spaghetti.” This has impressed my husband very much but has made my life so difficult.

Long time ago, one of my Italian friends taught me how to boil spaghetti. First, boil plenty of water in a big pot. Add a pinch of salt. Then, coil a bunch of spaghetti and release them at once in the pot. In order to boil them the spaghetti evenly, stir them from time to time and cook for about 10 minutes or until it is “al dente” (which is Italian for having it a little bit hard on the inside). I thought this was the Mediterranean standard to boil spaghetti for a long time and more importantly, I like the “al dente” spaghetti very much.

Since Stelios made spaghetti, my spaghetti preparation became very complicated. I have to take out half of the spaghetti what I boil after about 10 minutes, and them continue to cook the rest for my husband for more than 10 minutes.

Meatballs in tomato sauce are excellent with spaghetti. However, since cooking spaghetti for my husband and myself gives me a lot of work, one day I served them with steamed rice. It went very well with meatballs in tomato sauce. Also pilaf (butter fried rice) goes well with them.

Maybe I should appreciate Stelios instead of hating him. He was the one who gave me an incredible opportunity for me to try steamed rice and pilaf with meatballs in tomato sauce, which are excellent combinations after all!

Meatballs in Tomato SauceIngredients:
Olive oil for frying

Meatballs (about 20 to 25 meatballs):
1 lb ground beef
½ cup panko (bread crumbs)
1 finely chopped onion2 cloves of garlic
¼ cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
¼ cup finely chopped mint
1 egg
½ cup red wine
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
A pinch of cumin and cinnamon
Lemon juice
½ cup all-purpose flour

Tomato Sauce:
3 cups chopped ripe tomatoes
1 finely chopped onion
3 cloves of chopped garlic
2 tbsp tomato paste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Meatballs in Tomato SauceDirections:
1. Place all of the ingredients except all-purpose flour for meatballs in a large bowl. Mix them well. Leave the mixture for 10 to 15 minutes in room temperature.
2. Break off pieces of the mixture and make small meatballs. Coat the meatballs with the all-purpose flour.
3. Heat the olive oil in a fry pan and fry the meatballs until they are well done. Take out the meatballs from the pan.
4. Using the same pan, heat the olive oil and fry the chopped onion and garlic for tomato sauce till the onion becomes translucent.
5. Add the chopped tomato and tomato paste. Season with salt and black pepper. Occasionally stir and cook them for 5 to 10 minutes.
6. Add the meatballs and continuously cook for 20 to 30 minutes.
7. Serve over rice/pilaf or pasta!


  1. Yes, it is. Remind you of Greek Islands in summer? ;)