Friday, July 14, 2006

Spaghetti a la Rachael Ray

The other night I made spaghetti with mozzarella stuffed meatballs from a recipe from Rachael Ray's Every Day magazine. It was delicious and everyone in the family liked it (even Kimber who hates red sauce)

This isn't my picture, it's the one from the magazine. My camera always seems to be upstairs when I want to take pictures, and hobbling up the stairs is a huge pain with the cast. So I am resorting to "Canned" pictures. I did make the recipe though, and it was fabulous, so take my word for it and make it. Instead of her sauce, I just used two jars of Ragu onion and garlic sauce. I have so much of it and not any crushed tomatoes.

1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
1/2 cup milk or water
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, 2 smashed and 1 chopped
Two 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
1 pound lean ground sirloin (I used ground turkey breast due to my major hamburger phobia)
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
1 large egg
4 ounces mozzarella cheese, cut into 20 (1/2-inch) cubes
1 pound spaghetti

1. In a medium bowl, soak the bread crumbs in the milk. 2. In a large, wide saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the smashed garlic and cook until golden, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, season to taste with salt and let the sauce simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally. 3. Add the beef, chopped garlic, parsley, Parmigiano-Reggiano, egg and 1 teaspoon of salt to the soaked bread crumbs and stir with a fork until combined. Place about 2 tablespoons of the mixture in your hand and press a mozzarella cube into the center. Shape the meat around the cheese, forming a ball. Repeat with the remaining meat and mozzarella. 4. Stir the sauce and raise the heat to medium- low. Carefully place the meatballs in the sauce, submerging them completely. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook without stirring for 20 minutes. 5. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti, cook until al dente, about 8 minutes, and drain. Toss the spaghetti with the tomato sauce and meatballs, sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano and serve.

I also made Focaccia--partly from a Rachael Ray recipe and partly my own made-up version. I used her ingredients, but not her directions. I didn't have the time to do it like her recipe described.

1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm water (110°F to 115°F)
1 teaspoon sugar or honey
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cool water (70°F to 85°F)
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary and 1 tablespoon whole fresh rosemary leaves

1. In a medium glass bowl, stir together the yeast, lukewarm water and sugar. Let the mixture stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and 1 1/2 cups of the flour. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the microwave with a measuring cup with one cup of water inside. Micro-rise the sponge (I learned this technique from the book Bread in Half the Time) Heat for 3 minutes at 10% power. Rest for 3 minutes. Heat at 3 minutes at 10% power. Rest for 6 minutes.

2. Combine sponge in a mixer bowl with remaining ingredients (except whole rosemary leaves) Mix/knead until dough forms a cohesive ball. Put in greased bowl and repeat micro-rise instructions from above. Preheat oven to 400.

3. Gently transfer dough from bowl to a greased 9 x 9 inch baking dish. Spread dough to cover the bottom of the pan. Gently press fingers into surface and make indentations. Sprinkle coarse salt and whole rosemary leaves over top. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until lightly browned. Drizzle more olive oil over the top.


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