Meatballs with Melted Mozzarella

Meatballs with Melted Mozzarella

Photo by Cristina Gonzalez

Ahhh meatballs, there is something comforting about wholesome meatballs, especially if they are smothered in a rich tomato sauce… served with loads of crusty bread, if possible, and maybe… some melted mozzarella on top? Oh yes, now we are talking! Just what the doctor ordered.

I was happily eating my noodles and stir fries, catching up on my Asian food fix when I suddenly remembered these amazing meatballs we had at a tapas bar back in Spain, super-moist and “pillowy”…well-seasoned, hovering on a bed of thick tomato and peppers sauce.. and that was it, I knew it, my Spanish food withdraw-syndrome had just kicked in…

This is the perfect recipe for a lazy Sunday afternoon, as the sauce needs a little time to cook, all good things take time. On the plus side, it freezes well so there is no harm in making a double batch and for a change, you can serve the meatballs with spaghetti and some Parmesan cheese… for one of those days you crave something good but don’t really feel like cooking.

Meatballs

Meatballs

We ended up having the left overs on a sub… he he… I promise there are some meatballs there, buried in tomato sauce goodness and gooey melted mozzarella :0)

Meatballs with Melted Mozzarella

Photo by Cristina Gonzalez

Meatballs with Melted Mozzarella

Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients

  • oil spray
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • crusty bread to serve
  • Meatballs
  • 2 slices of bread (60g - 2oz)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 300g (10 oz) beef mince
  • 200g (7 oz) pork mince
  • 1 free range egg
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • salt and pepper
  • Rich Tomato Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 small red pepper, diced
  • 1 small green pepper, diced
  • 2 cups "sugo di pomodoro" (aka - tomato sauce or tomato pasta sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon mixed chopped fresh herbs (thyme, oregano, rosemary...)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 red chili seeded - optional

Directions

  1. Break bread slices into chunks. Combine with the milk in a bowl, and let it soak for 10 minutes or until really soft. Scoop bread out and squeeze milk out
  2. Place bread, together with all meatball ingredients in a big bowl and mix with your hands until they are well combined (try to handle the mixture as little as possible) Cover with cling film and keep in the fridge for a couple of hours if you have time to let flavours mingle
  3. Prepare the sauce - heat oil in big frying pan over medium - lowish heat. Cook onion, garlic & peppers covered, stirring occasionally until really soft (stir in herbs, chili & bay leaf half way through) - add a little water if it stars catching at the bottom - it will take around 30 - 40 minutes
  4. Uncover vegetables, stir in tomato sauce. Let reduce a little
  5. Meanwhile, preheat fan forced oven to 210° C (410° F) - for conventional ovens, increase temperature by 10 - 20 degrees. Line a big baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Get meatball mixture out of the fridge. To check seasoning, fry a little teaspoon full of the mixture, try it and adjust seasoning accordingly if needed
  6. Form the mixture into about 18 balls of 40g each (if you have, try using a 1+1/2 Tablespoon dough scoop to roughly form the balls, then wet your hands and smooth them out a little) try not to compact the meat too much, as that will result into tougher meatballs. Arrange meatballs in the prepared tray, spray with oil and cook in the preheated oven for about 13 minutes (they will finish cooking in the sauce)
  7. Add meatballs to the sauce, stirring carefully. Simmer for 15 minutes
  8. Place meatballs in a ovenproof dish (terracota works really well and looks pretty on the table) sprinkle mozzarella on top. Place under a hot grill for a couple of minutes or until the mozzarella has melted. Serve with plenty of good quality crusty bread
http://www.danceofsaucepans.com/meatballs-melted-mozzarella/

 

Salmon and Rice Noodle Warm Salad

Salmon and rice noodle warm salad

Photo by Cristina Gonzalez

I have just returned from Spain… 5 amazing weeks of sun, family, friends and good food… what else can anyone hope for on a good holiday?

Came back loaded with ideas but somehow craving Asian food… what? And on the healthy side if I might; the days of endless tapas and chorizo loaded subs are gone… for the time being anyway… but let’s not despair, let’s make it fun, easy and tasty; smiles all around! That is exactly what I need… God, it is hard coming back from holiday… But I must confess, I am happy to be home and back in my kitchen… it is all about the small things, even if everything else fails, I can always fold back to my stove and my chopping board ;0) and whip up something amazing to save the day, yep I am simple like that.

Here is something seriously good, super healthy (or as healthy as I can bear on my post-vacation blues)  and easy to prepare; I like using the microwave to cook fresh salmon, it is quick and the salmon retains all its juiciness not to mention you get zero fishy odors floating in your home. You can add any veggies you have handy, but it wouldn’t hurt to give the dish some true Asian flair… just for a change.

Mmmm… I just remembered these super-tasty meatballs smothered in a thick tomato sauce I tried in a tapas bar back home… oh well I guess the Asian crave is over!

Salmon and rice noodle warm salad

Salmon and rice noodle warms salad

Salmon & rice noodles warm salad

Photo by Cristina Gonzalez

Salmon and Rice Noodle Warm Salad

Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients

  • 130g (4.5oz) dried stick rice noodles
  • oil spray
  • 100g (3 oz) bean sprouts
  • 3 x Shanghai Bok Choy (baby bok choy)
  • 150g (5oz) Snow peas
  • 700g (1.5 lb) fresh salmon fillets (skin on)
  • Salmon Glaze
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons crushed ginger
  • 1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce
  • squeeze of lemon
  • Dressing
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon crushed ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • To Serve (optional)
  • sesame seeds
  • lemon wedges
  • crispy shallots (sold in Asian Markets) or the Asian supermarket section

Directions

  1. Cook noodles according packet directions. Drain and spray with some oil (to prevent them from sticking to each other) tossing them carefully. Set aside
  2. Steam, boil or microwave your vegetables until crisp tender. Reserve
  3. Mix salmon glaze ingredients in a small bowl
  4. Place salmon on a microwave-safe tray sprayed with oil. Top with glaze. Cover with cling film, poke a couple of holes and cook in the microwave for 2 - 3 minutes (or until the salmon has just turned soft pink; you want the salmon just cooked to retain maximum juiciness) Cool salmon slightly. Pick salmon flesh discarding bones & skin. Set aside and reserve all juices in a small jug
  5. Add all the dressing ingredients to the small jug with the salmon juices reserved. Stir to combine
  6. To Serve
  7. Place some rice noodles in the bottom of 4 plates, top with warm cooked vegetables and salmon chunks. Drizzle with the dressing. Scatter some sesame seeds and crispy shallots on top
http://www.danceofsaucepans.com/salmon-rice-noodle-warm-salad/