Saturday, May 8, 2010

Max's Spaghetti With Meatballs and Marinara

Chef Max Thomas (left) of Tavolo.

You may remember our friend Chef Maxwell Thomas from last year's blogger dinner at Tavolo restaurant or his wonderful work with Future Chefs. Well, this month his famous meatball recipe is featured in Bon Appetit Magazine. Each month the magazine features some recipes from great restaurants that their readers have visited. Congratulations Max for being featured this month!

Max’s Spaghetti with Meatballs and Marinara

3/4 cup coarsely chopped white onion

1/2 cup coarsely chopped celery

1/2 cup coarsely chopped peeled carrot

1/2 cup coarsely chopped leek (white and pale green parts only)

1/2 cup coarsely chopped fennel

1/2 cup coarsely chopped shallots

6 garlic cloves1 fresh thyme sprig

1 fresh rosemary sprig

1 fresh sage sprig

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 cup plain breadcrumbs

3/4 cup milk

3 pounds ground beef

1 pound ground veal

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley

2 tablespoons ketchup

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Marinara Sauce

4 large sprigs fresh basil

4 large sprigs fresh parsley

1 large sprig fresh rosemary

1 large sprig fresh sage

1 bay leaf

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

8 cloves garlic, chopped

4 anchovy fillets, chopped

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1/4 cup water1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

1 cup dry red wine

4 28 ounce cans whole peeled plum tomatoes with juice

1 large rind from Parmesan cheeses wedge (about 4 x 2 inches)

For the meatballs, place first 7 ingredients together in food processor bowl. Finely chop with a few pulses. Tie the fresh herb sprigs together with twine. Heat oil on a large skillet over medium low heat. Add chopped vegetables, herb sprigs and crushed red pepper. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes, being careful not to brown. Add wine and stir until almost evaporated. Cool mixture to room temperature. Discard herb sprig bundle.In a small bowl, stir breadcrumbs and milk together. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine ground meats. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Add cooled vegetable mixture, breadcrumb mixture, eggs, cheese, parsley, ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce to meat mixture. Mix together with your hands until well blended. Form meatballs using 1/3 cup mixture per meatball. Place meatballs on rimmed baking sheets.

Roast meatballs until browned and well cooked, about 30 minutes. Transfer to Marinara sauce and simmer 15 minutes.For sauce, tie all herb sprigs and bay leaf together with twine. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until they soften, about 5 minutes. Add anchovies, tomato paste, and 1/4 cup water. Mix well. Add herb bundle and cook until mixture begins to brown, about 10 minutes. Add crushed red pepper and stir 30 seconds. Add wine, scraping up any brown bits in the bottom of the pan. Increase heat to high and simmer until wine is reduced by half. Add tomatoes, 1 can at a time, crushing tomatoes in your hands before adding to the pot. Add all juice from tomatoes. Bring sauce to a boil and add Parmesan cheese rind. Reduce heat to low and simmer until sauce is reduced to 8 cups, stirring often. This will take almost 2 hours. Discard cheese rind and herb bundle before adding meatballs.

Serve over cooked spaghetti with grated Parmesan cheese.

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