National Spaghetti Day

Yesterday was National Spaghetti Day, so I took the opportunity to try making spaghetti from scratch. One side of my family is Italian, and my great-grandmother used to make her own pasta. Unfortunately, my mom didn’t learn her technique, so I had a lot of internet surfing to do. It ended up very thick once cooked and had a bit of an odd texture, but still tasted fine! I’ve got to start somewhere, but my next batch will definitely be cut with a spaghetti press so they’re more uniform. I didn’t take pictures of the process, but you can go to this website to see the pictures I was looking at.

Along with the spaghetti, I made a turkey meatball recipe from America’s Test Kitchen. This was also my first time actually making meatballs. They ended up tasting great, but it was a little bit of a struggle to turn them in the skillet without breaking them apart. Just a bit of a warning to be careful when turning; using a spoon and tongs at the same time worked the best for me. Also, the recipe is supposed to make 16 meatballs, but they would have to be pretty massive to make that many. I ended up with about 20 large-ish meatballs instead of 16 gigantic ones.

national spaghetti day
5 from 1 vote
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Homemade Spaghetti

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 3 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 0-3 tsp water

Instructions

  1. Measure out two cups of flour and pile on a clean work surface. Use your hand to make a little pool in the flour. Crack your eggs into the pool and add the olive oil.

  2. Scoop some flour from the walls into the eggs and gently begin mixing into the eggs. The goal is to get enough flour into the eggs to that they aren't runny.

  3. Once the eggs have some flour in them, use your hand to mix in more flour. After a minute or two, most of the flour should be incorporated and the dough will be somewhat crumbly. Knead the dough and try to get the rest of the flour incorporated.

  4. If you can't incorporate all the remaining flour, drizzle 1 tsp of water on the dough and knead it for another minute or two.

  5. Knead the dough for a little bit and it will form a ball. If the ball sticks to your hands or the surface, sprinkle a little flour and knead for another 5-10 minutes. Divide the dough into two equal parts.

  6. These next steps are instructions for rolling and cutting by hand. You can also put your dough through a pasta rolling machine.

  7. Divide your ball in half again. Sprinkle the work surface with more flour and flatten one part of your dough in your hand. Put it on the work surface and use a rolling pin to roll it out. Try to keep it as rectangular as possible. It'll take a little elbow grease to really roll the dough thin enough.

  8. When you cook the pasta, it will get 25-50% thicker, so remember that when you decide how thin you should roll it. If the dough isn't very rectangular, you can trim the sides with a knife.

  9. Take your sheet of dough and sprinkle more flour on both sides. Be careful how much you put though so you don't dry out the sheet. Roll the sheet up and cut the roll into thin strips. Unroll the strips as soon as you cut them since they tend to stick together.

  10. Repeat the rolling and cutting with each chunk of dough.

  11. To cook your handmade pasta, start by boiling some water with a tsp or two of salt. Once the water is boiling, throw in your pasta.

  12. Cook the spaghetti for about 10 minutes. To check if it's done, just break off a piece and taste it! Drain the water and serve with your sauce and meatballs.

  13. Enjoy!

national spaghetti day
5 from 1 vote
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Italian-Style Turkey Meatballs

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 16 meatballs

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 oz dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 slices heart white sandwich bread torn into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp unflavored gelatin
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 anchovy fillets rinsed, patted dry, and minced
  • 1 1/2 lbs 85 or 93% lean ground turkey
  • 1 large egg lightly beaten
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 (14.5-oz) can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgen olive oil
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil chopped

Instructions

  1. Microwave the broth and mushrooms in a covered bowl until steaming, about 1 minute. Let it sit until they've softened, about 5 minutes. Drain the mushrooms in a fine-mesh strainer and reserve the liquid.

  2. Pulse the bread in a food processor until finely gorund, 10-15 pulses. Transfer the bread crumbs to large bowl (do not wash the processor bowl). Add the Parmesan, parsley, gelatin, 1 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper to the bowl and mix until thoroughly combined.

  3. Pulse the mushrooms and half of the anchovies in the now-empty processor until chopped fine, 10-15 pulses. Add the mushroom mixture, turkey, egg, and half of the garlic to the bowl with the bread mixture. Mix with your hands until thoroughly combined.

  4. Divide the mixture into 16 portions (about 1/4 cup each). Using your hands, roll each portion into a ball; transfer to a plate and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

  5. Pulse the tomatoes and their juice in the food processor to a coarse puree, 10-15 pulses. Combine oregano, pepper flakes, remaining anchovies, remaining garlic, and 1/4 tsp pepper in a small bowl and set aside.

  6. Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add meatballs and cook until well browned all over, 5-7 minutes. Transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate, leaving fat in the skillet.

  7. Add the reserved oregano mixture to the skillet and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Increase the heat to high; stir in the tomato paste, reserved mushroom liquid, and pureed tomatoes and bring to simmer.

  8. Return the meatballs to the skillet, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until they register at 160 degrees, 12-15 minutes, turning them once. Transfer the meatballs to a platter, increase the heat to high, and simmer the sauce until slightly thickened, 3-5 minutes.

  9. Stir in basil, and season with sugar, salt, and pepper to taste. Pour the sauce over the meatballs and serve.

  10. Enjoy!

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