Spaghetti and Meat Balls with Store-Bought Pasta Sauce
Spaghetti and meatballs is a classic Italian- American meal served in many homes worldwide. The history of the dish traces back to the Italian migration to North America in the late 1800 and early 1900. Spaghetti and meatballs were served separately before the immigration. The sauce came later and was preferred as tomatoes were the only items available in groceries in America at the time. The dish has become a staple food in most homes as it is economically viable to prepare since the ingredients are readily available and cheap.
The ingredients can be sourced locally at her market place, thus saving her the hassle of looking for the items on her limited schedule. The meal is an excellent recommendation to Elise as it is easy to prepare due to the few steps involved in preparing the meal. This would form a good foundation for her to start learning while also impressing her in-laws. The time required in the meal preparation is approximately two hours; thus, she will have full concentration required to prepare a decent meal. The meal is well-flavored and brings forth a home appeal fulfilling Elise’s intention to please her in-laws. The decision to have store-bought pasta sauce is influenced by Elise’s lack of skills to be able to prepare one from scratch as it’s complicated.
The equipment required here is a large bowl, a knife, chopping board, cups, frying pan, tongs, and a teaspoon. The teaspoon represents the cutlery spoon used in the regular stirring of tea at home. The ingredients needed include; one egg, one-pound beef (lean), half a cup breadcrumbs, a quarter cup chopped onions, a half teaspoon salt, a quarter teaspoon black pepper, olive oil and water-filled to an eighth of capacity. Take caution while chopping the onions due to the possibility of cut injuries occurring.
- Combine all the above ingredients in a large bowl. The cheat to keeping meatballs tender and juicy is not overmixing the ingredients. The disadvantage attached to overmixing is the possibility of the meatballs becoming tough. The best option is to mix with your hands as you are bound to mix gently but thoroughly. The size of the meatballs is critical, thus ensure that they are of the same size as this ensures that they all cook at the same rate. The olive oil is added to make the lean meat tender, as shown in figure 1.0.
Figure 1.0: Mixed up meatballs
- Add oil into the frying pan and heat over medium heat, then add the meatballs. Take caution when placing the meatballs on the frying pan due to the splashing of the oil, which can cause burn injuries.
- Cook until golden on all sides, turning them using tongs. The approximate time for each side is 2 minutes, as shown in figure 2.0.
Figure 2.0: Frying the Meatballs
Preparing Pasta Sauce
The equipment required here is a saucepan. The ingredients involved in the pasta sauce, shown in figure 3.0.
Figure 3.0: Store-Bought Pasta Sauce
- The preparation requires pouring the jar containing the sauce into a small saucepan and allow it to boil then simmer.
- The simmering process takes about 10 minutes until the sauce becomes slightly reduced and thickened, as shown in figure 4.0. The heat required is moderate as preparing the sauce over high heat may lead to the bubbling of the pasta, which may lead to a mess or, in extreme cases, burn injuries.
Figure 4.0: Thickened Pasta Sauce
The Ingredients required include; a half box of spaghetti, four cups of water, and one teaspoon of salt. The equipment includes; a large pot, a lid, and tongs.
- Fill the large pot with cold water to three-quarters of capacity. Using a small pot is undesirable due to the clumping together of the pasta noodles.
- Add salt and bring the water to boil. Put a lid on the pot and turn the heat high to accelerate the boiling process.
- Put the pasta noodles slowly into the boiling water and stir. This can be done by using a tong to ensure water does not splash out of the pot, as shown in figure 5.0. The trick here is to break the noodles into half to fit perfectly into the pot.
Figure 5.0: Stirring Noodles
- Set a time limit of about 10 minutes while also stirring the noodles to prevent them from clamping together. The water for the pasta will have to remain boiling; thus, one should be careful around the pot. Another recommendation is to leave the pot open to prevent the pasta water from running over and causing severe burn injuries or causing the smoke alarm detector to go off.
- Test the noodles to determine is well cooked. This step is challenging as the noodles may look cooked, but that is not the case in reality. For Elise, the best way to determine if the noodles are well cooked is by lifting a noodle out of the pot and tasting it. The noodle must be firm to the teeth to determine if well cooked.
- Lastly, drain the remaining water out of the pot to remain with cooked spaghetti, as shown in figure 6.0.
Figure 6.0: Draining Noodles Water
- Divide the drained noodles over three plates and toss with the pasta sauce together with the meatballs and sprinkle coriander as a topping, as shown in figure 7.0.
Figure 7.0: Served Spaghetti and Meat Balls Dish
Tan, H. L., Tan, T. C., & Easa, A. M. (2018). Comparative study of cooking quality, microstructure, and textural and sensory properties between fresh wheat noodles prepared using sodium chloride and salt substitutes. LWT, 97, 396-403.
Cloake, F. (2018). Completely Perfect: 120 Essential Recipes for Every Cook. Penguin UK.