The Newbie Cook
- 18,638 forkfuls since 16.Oct.10
Making everything for the first time
Remember the pasta recipe where I used IKEA meatballs? Chris kind of made fun of me because I didn’t know how to make my own meatballs considering that they were (allegedly) easy to make. Dad told me that he wanted spaghetti but he was too sleepy and lazy to cook. (Don’t let this statement mislead you, Dad cooks way more often than I do.) Considering that I had a couple of hours before he wakes up, I decided to try making meatballs from scratch.
The first thing I thought was: “$h1*, I don’t have breadcrumbs! ” Google saved me again and informed me that oats would be a healthier substitute for breadcrumbs in meatballs.
For the sauce, I used a variation of Bitch&Bake’s Three Ingredient Tomato Sauce. I wondered if butter is considered unhealthy but when I thought of worse alternatives like hydrogenated oil, lard, and vegetable oil, I happily dropped in the little block of butter.
This is also the first time for me to eat romano cheese with pasta, at least at home and not in a restaurant. There are evil canisters of romano alternatives in the supermarket, which try to convince the buyers that they’re cheap and just as good. Until you notice that there’s a tub of perfectly genuine shredded romano (but made with cow’s milk not ewe’s) beside it that is ironically cheaper than the fake version. *rofl*
My verdict: For a first time effort, it’s not bad at all. I thought it was reeeaally yummy but then I’m horribly biased. Sure, it could probably be better but this isn’t exactly a perfect-product-after-100-tries blog.
Until recently, I didn’t know that the ribbon-shaped pasta is called farfalle. Apparently, the word is from the Italian farfalla, which means “butterfly”. I used to skip recipes with fancy-sounding names since I figured that if I can’t pronounce it, then I probably can’t cook it. At least now, I no longer feel ignorant in case someone mentions farfalle. Hah.
Have you ever opened your fridge and asked for inspiration because you have absolutely no idea what you want to cook today? That’s what I did when I got home from work.
A while back, I picked up a pack of Swedish meatballs from IKEA – the same kind they serve in that cute cafe of theirs (I only go there for the salmon). There was still 1/3 of the pack in the fridge so I decided to use it. Then I remembered Tita Dina’s creamy carbonara from two weeks back so I grabbed the can of Nestle cream that I was originally saving for something else.
I tried to imagine the kind of basic sauce that I like. There’s the token butter and tomatoes. But what I really focused on was the flavor. In this case, lots of garlic, onions and black pepper equaled yummy. This means sautéing the chopped onion and garlic until the onion is translucent and faintly brown and the edges of the garlic pieces are crisp. The butter is also integral. Don’t you DARE skip the butter! If you’re on a diet, go graze on the front lawn as this isn’t the recipe for you.
I’m a mushroom addict so I added that as well. They’ll go nicely with the meatballs.
Please don’t judge the pictures. 🙂 Apartment #1’s kitchen lighting is awful and unless I cook at broad daylight and open all doors and windows, everything I shoot will end up looking like I cooked them while moonlighting at a seedy bar.
A special note on the black pepper: The packaged powder labeled pre-ground black pepper is not black pepper. Ok, maybe 30% of it actually is. But if you love your taste buds and the rest of your family’s, then please don’t subject yourselves to that unrecognizable stuff. Buy a pepper mill and fill it with real black peppercorns. It doesn’t have to be expensive, just functional. If you’re already in IKEA buying the meatballs, you may as well pick up their cheap but serviceable 365+ spice mill ($6.99).
So how was the farfalle? (I’m still practicing saying it so I can impress the waiter next time.) It’s pretty good. 🙂 Now excuse me, I’m just going to do the dishes while you read the recipe.