I’m sure many of you fellow foodies get occassional nagging cravings that can’t be cured by any other means than a proper cooking session with the right ingredients. In my case the problem often is that I don’t exactly know what I want. A few days ago I was once again unsatisfied with my planned meal – can’t even remember what I was supposed to cook that day – until I realized I had to have meatballs. Preferably simmered in a thick, hearty, Italian tomato sauce. Trivial, you may think, but not exactly for me. I’ve never been that big on pasta, and thus rarely have it ex the omnipresent bolognese (can you spell cafeteria food…)
I started a fierce googling session with search terms such as “best italian pasta”, “marinara sauce”, “italian meatballs” etc. I read through heaps of recipes, many of them very tempting. Unfortunately all of them called for some ingredient or two I didn’t have, and I definitely wasn’t on a mood for a shopping trip. Luckily one of the joys of cooking is improvising. I decided to use whatever I happened to have in hand… The result?
Antti’s Fusion Meatballs With Sepia Colored Spaghetti
Serves 5 (540 kcal / serving)
For the meatballs:
750 g lean ground lamb
200 g Greek Feta, crumbled
a bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
2 cm fresh ginger, shredded
1/2 pkg Shan Tikka Seekh Kabab BBQ Mix
For the sauce:
1 big yellow onion
4+ cloves of garlic
4 fresh caffir lime leaves, chopped (double if dried)
1 can (any) pasta sauce with olives
1 kg crushed tomatoes
a pinch of sugar
a bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped
a chunk of dried tamarind
some olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 175 C (350 F). Mix all the meatball ingredients well; make sure the spice mix is evenly distributed in the ground meat. Thanks again, Meena, for introducing me to the wonderful world of Shan spice mixes! Roll the meat into small balls with your hands, and set aside. Makes 30-40 meat balls.
Heat a little bit of olive oil in a pan, and saut? the onions and garlic until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Add the rest of the listed ingredients, and simmer over medium heat for 20-30 minutes.
When the sauce is ready, pour a little bit in a 10-15 cm deep baking dish. Add the meatballs and the sauce in layers until everything is in the pot covered in sauce. Cook for 45-60 minutes.
Serve on top of pasta with grated parmesan reggiano. I really liked the contrast of the black sepia colored pasta, definitely worth trying! I love everything lamb (and goat), so the meat balls were good, IMO. The pasta sauce was nice too; I especially liked the aroma of the kaffir lime leaves and the tamarind paste.
This recipe was influenced by various recipes I saw while looking for the ultimate meat ball & sauce combo. I’d be foolish to compare my resulting dish with those tried and true Italian recipes many of you know, but I enjoyed eating mine with its many tastes from around the world.