Monday, 22 October 2012

Spaghetti and meatballs with roast capsicum sauce

Spaghetti and Meatballs with roast capsicum sauce

Now this might take a little longer than the usual dinner to prepare, but the time and love put into this dish was definitely worth it! I managed to find some very cheap red capsicums (peppers for those in the northern hemisphere) and could think of nothing better than roasting them up (how they go from $12 a kilo to $3.50 a kilo in a week I do not know). 
I have also been wanting to make meatballs for a long time now.  My granny used to make a great meatballs dish, with the main ingredient being tomato sauce and barbeque sauce... I wanted to do something with the same flavour but a little healthier. Put these together and we have meatballs with roast capsicum sauce!

Start with two large red capsicum, slice the sides off into big chunks, and throw them in a baking tray with some olive oil.

... and three cloves of garlic, with the skin on! Tastes so much better later when you get to squeeze the garlic out. And place them in a hot 200 degree celsius over for 30 minutes.
Now find a large onion, and grate it (or 2 small ones). You might want to shut your eyes for this one, or squint while grating. 
You'll probably need to chop up the outside layer of the onion once you've finished as it is rather difficult to grate without also grating you fingers!

Now grab a big handful of the grated onion, and squeeze most of the juice out of it (stops your meatballs from becoming soggy)
Now get your kilo of mince, and mix the grated onion in.
Add some tasty spices- I have 1tsp each of cumin and ground coriander seeds, half a teaspoon of paprika, some salt and pepper.
Pour in about half a cup of breadcrumbs and a quarter of a cup of plain flour. 
 2 eggs to stick it all together, and for some flavour, a good dash (or 3) of worcestershire sauce
Now there is always a fun part of the recipe... although this particular recipe does have two.  
Oh wait- almost forgot the parsley!
Now roll the mince mixture out into lots small little balls. My kilo of mince made 35 of them
Look good??
Pull the roast capsicum from the oven. The skin should have blistered up by now. Place a sheet of foil over the tray to let them sweat it out for 5 minutes, which makes pulling the skin off easier.
Then place your nice tray of meatballs in the oven for 20 minutes, at about 180 degrees.
Now comes fun part #2.  Peeling the skin off the capsicum! It can be tricky, and don't worry too much if you don't get all of it, but it does make the sauce much smoother at the other end. 
 Time to start making your sauce. Dice an onion up really fine, and fry it up with some olive oil.
Shred all that nice capsicum in after a minute or two (yes a knife probably would have worked better with this task) 

Now peel those cloves of garlic, and squeeze out all the gooey garlicy goodness and into the pan.

Thanks Alex for taking this photo for me while my hands were rather tied up!

After 20 minutes it's time to turn the meatballs over. My meatballs seem to have had all the fat drain out of them- so I'm taking them out and cleaning the tray before putting them back in, turned over to brown the other side, for 15 minutes.

Back to the sauce now the capsicum and onion have had a few minutes to stew! Put in a splash of red wine vinegar.
Two tins of diced tomatoes... 
half a teaspoon of vegetable stock much chilli as you like! We used one teaspoon. And then added more later. 
15 minutes later the meatballs should be ready 
to add to the sauce! Now if I made this recipe again, I would have blended the sauce up at this time, so since you haven't made it yet, feel free to! It's still pretty good as is though. 
Fold the meatballs into the sauce 
And let it simmer on low heat while the spaghetti cooks.
(look at all that fat left behind on the baking tray... who knew meatballs could be so healthy!) 
 And serve! 
And add some cheese. Always need cheese in the Wilkins House! 

Spaghetti and Meatballs with roast capsicum sauce

2 large red capsicums
3 cloves garlic
1 kilo lean beef mince
2 large onions
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup plain flour
2 eggs
3 sprigs parsley, diced
1 tbsp red wine vinegar (or red wine)
2 400g tins diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp powdered vegetable stock
1 tsp chilli flakes
1/2 packet spaghetti
olive oil
Grated cheese to serve.

1. Slice up capsicum into large chunks, and place on an oiled oven tray, with 3 unpeeled cloves of garlic.  Bake for 30 minutes at 200 degrees c.
2. Grate one onion up, mix well in a bowl with the mince.
3. Add cumin, coriander, half the paprika, worcestershire sauce, breadcrumbs, flour, salt/pepper, parsley and eggs to the mince and mix really well.
4. Roll the mince into small balls (about an inch wide) and place onto an oiled baking tray.
5. Take capsicum out of oven, cover with foil, reduce the oven to 180 degrees c, and place the tray of meatballs in the oven for 20 minutes.
6. In a saucepan, dice the second onion up, and fry in some olive oil. Take the blistered skin off the capsicum and throw away, shred the capsicum into the saucepan. Squeeze the roast garlic in (throw away the skin) and let it simmer for a few minutes.
7. Turn the meatballs over and cook for another 10-15 minutes.  You may need to clean the roasting pan if the juices and fat of the meatballs have built up in this time.
10. Add two tins of tomatoes, red wine vinegar, vegetable stock, and chilli to the capsicum dish. Let this simmer until the meatballs are ready. You could blend the sauce at this time.
11. Fold the meatballs into the sauce and put spaghetti on to cook (we use whole wheat spaghetti).
12. Assemble, throw some cheese on top and serve!

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