Now that the weather is dropping in temperature, we can enjoy some heavier dishes that are loaded with flavor. Here is a traditional meatball dish with a little twist. A change in the type of pasta not only adds texture but also density to the plate, and the inclusion of red wine and multiple herbs and vegetables elevates the standard tomato sauce to something extravagant. Include some lit candles in your dinner décor and you will find yourself enjoying an elegant, romantic, Italian dinner. So set out your napkins and utensils and get ready to enjoy!
• 14 oz pasta
• Flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
For the meatballs:
• 8 oz sausage meat
• 8 oz minced beef
• 1 tbs. olive oil
For the red wine sauce:
• 2 cups beef stock
• 2 tbs. butter
• 1 oz plain flour
• 1 oz bacon, sliced
• 1 onion, finely chopped
• 1 large carrot, finely chopped
• 1 rib of celery, finely chopped
• 1 tbs. tomato paste
• ¾ cup red wine
• 2 sprigs of thyme
• 2 bay leaves
• 10 black peppercorns
• 5 parsley stalks
• 2 tbs. capers, finely chopped
First make the sauce by lightly frying the onion, carrot, and celery, together with the bacon, on a medium heat until the bacon is golden and the vegetables have softened. Remove everything with a slotted spoon to a bowl.
Add the butter to the pan. When the butter has melted, sprinkle in the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until you have a paste. Keep cooking paste until it is light brown in color.
Turn the heat down and whisk in the beef stock. Add the tomato paste and red wine. Bring the sauce to a simmer and return the vegetables and bacon to the pan, together with the thyme, bay leaves, peppercorns, and parsley stalks. Simmer for about 15 minutes.
Place a fine sieve over another medium saucepan and pour the contents of the sauce through the sieve. Discard the vegetables, bacon and herbs as they have flavored the sauce. Add the capers to the sauce and heat gently. Taste for seasoning.
Make the meatballs by mixing together the sausage meat and minced beef. Roll the mixture into meatballs. Fry them in a large, non-stick pan until golden. Pour the red wine sauce over the meatballs, stir, and simmer for a few minutes.
Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Drain and serve with meatballs and the sauce. Sprinkle with some chopped parsley. Makes 4 servings.