Spaghetti & Meatballs

Early yesterday I felt a need to revisit fresh pasta, considering how poorly my attempt at ravioli went. Throughout the week I did some minor research and noticed that about half the recipes or people I talked to mentioned the use of semolina flour. Evidently its a coarser flour used in commercial pastas and lends yellow color and stretchiness (less tearing) to the final product. I didn't want to like it because even at a store like Meijer, semolina flour is $3.50 for 24 oz. Essentially a dollar per cup for flour is ridiculous. Not only that but 24oz was the biggest bag they had, so even I am willing to pay that much for flour I'll probably need to go to the grocery store to buy it at least every other time we make pasta. In the end though, it was worth it.

Spaghetti is by far my least favorite pasta. It is not very creative or flexible and I think that as a child I just had a few too many bad spaghetti dinners when it was dad's night to make dinner. But fresh spaghetti is awesome. I can't really explain it because it seemed pretty ordinary while I was eating it. But some hours later I was still thinking about the spaghetti and realized how much better it was than the last time I boiled a box of store bought spaghetti.

In addition to the pasta we had homemade turkey meatballs from Giada DeLaurentis.

Semolina Pasta
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups semolina flour
4 large eggs
2 tbsp olive oil
3tbsp water

Turkey Meatballs
1/4 cup plain dried bread crumbs
2 tablespoons whole milk

2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup grated Romano

1 pound ground turkey
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
5 cups tomato sauce

In a large bowl add bread crumbs milk and mix until well combined. Mix in eggs and 1/2 cup Romano cheese and mix well. Add turkey and gently combine, being careful not to overwork the meat. Season with salt and pepper. Shape into golf-size balls.

In a large skillet heat the oil over medium high heat. When almost smoking, add meatballs and without moving or turning the meat, allow it to brown for about 3 minutes. Turn meatballs and brown other side. Continue to cook until all sides are golden brown, about 8 minutes total. Add tomato sauce and bring to a boil. Lower heat and allow meatballs to simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and keep warm on stove. Be careful not to overhandle the meatballs since they are soft and fragile.

In a large pot, bring to a boil 6 quarts of salted water. Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain pasta in a colander. Do not rinse pasta with water since you want to retain the pasta natural starches so that the sauce will cling to the pasta.

Remove meatballs from sauce and place in serving bowl. Pour some tomato sauce over meatballs, but leave about 1 cup of sauce in skillet. Place the cooked pasta into the skillet with the remaining sauce and toss well. Pour sauced pasta into a large serving bowl. Serve alongside the meatballs.

I don't have pictures of the meatballs but they turned out very well. If you decide to make them you need to know that during the first three minutes they have the ability to get very brown on the bottom without showing any other signs that they're cooking. So you need to keep on top of them and turn them per the instructions in the recipe. If you do let them get a little crunchy on one side just make sure you let them simmer in the tomato sauce a little longer to soften them up.

Lastly, we made about 1.5 - 2lbs of pasta so we had quite a bit extra. The simplest way to store fresh ribbon pasta is to make coils with a large spoon, and freeze them for 1-2 hours on a baking sheet. After 1-2 hours remove the hardened coils from the baking sheet, place in a freezer safe storage bag and freeze for up to a month.