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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Bucatini with Bacon Sauce and Meatballs

The other day I was watching one of my favorite food network shows, The Best Thing I Ever Made, a spin off on my other favorite show, The Best Thing I Ever Ate. The show interviews famous chefs as they share some of their best dishes, and some day I will be on it as well, so start watching now. While I was watching the other day, Beau MacMillon prepared a Bucatini with Bacon Sauce and Meatballs and I was literally drooling all over my lap. As he finished up and I closed my mouth and regained my composure, I vowed to try my hand at the dish, and today that is what I did. Spaghetti and meatballs is my Dad's favorite dish so I thought it would be a great dinner surprise. I changed the sauce a little and added some mushrooms, (couldn't resist, I love the way they work in a sauce). The sauce is smokey from the bacon, yet sweet from the natural sugars in the tomatoes. The longer you let it sit and simmer, the more the flavors infuse itself into the sauce and it comes together into this amazing magical smokey tomatoey wonder. The meatballs are big and beautiful, juicy and moist on the inside yet have a nice firm crunch from a crispy outside crust. The bucatini is a perfect pasta to pair with it because it has a hole in the center and can trap little bits of sauce inside. Needless to say, I'm adding this one to the books. To me, this type of dish needs a big family style dinner so I invited over the girls. Lauren happens to be a spaghetti and meatball expert, so I was very eager to hear her reviews. Served alongside a freshly shaved gorgonzola salad, roasted brussel sprouts, sautéed mushrooms and onions, and frozen chocolate bananas for dessert, the lack of leftovers and abundance of empty plates was all the review I needed.
Beau MacMillon's Bucatini with Bacon Sauce and Meatballs


Bacon Sauce:
7 or 8 slices of bacon
1 large onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper
two 28 ounce cans chunky ground tomatoes

2 pounds 80% lean ground beef
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmiganio-Reggiano, plus more for serving
3/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced
2 eggs
Salt and pepper

1 lb bucatini pasta

Recipe: For the bacon sauce: Cut the bacon into pieces. Using a big sauté pan or skillet that has a cover, cook over medium heat until almost crispy. Don't drain the fat. Add the onions to the pan (this is where I also added some chopped mushrooms). When the onions are almost cooked and start to become translucent, add the garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes and then add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer on low for about an hour to an hour and a half.
For the meatballs: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a baking sheet. In a large bowl combine all the meatball ingredients. Form into 1 to 1 1/2 inch meatballs and place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes, then turn oven down to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Make sure to turn every few minutes to brown on all sides.

Cook the bucatini according to package directions, best served a little al dente.

Serve the meatballs over the pasta and the bacon sauce on the side. Garnish with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and complement with a heavy red wine.

And here is my beautiful shaved gorgonzola salad with tomatoes and cucumbers, and my signature new dressing. Tricks for shaving gorgonzola: It's really crumbly when you grate it so put the cheese in the freezer for about an hour so it firms and then grate it. SO much easier

Thanks to my girls for letting me feed you! Such a hard life, I know.

heartbreaking hungree

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