Monday, March 4, 2013

Spaghetti and meatballs

Scotland is a dreadfully grey, drafty place from November to March. I once heard an English friend quote someone who described British winters as "living underneath a wet concrete sky." That is so true. As much as I love the misty rain and dour architecture, I'm yearning for more a tropical landscape... I spend a lot of time on Pinterest oohing and aahing over aquamarine oceans and radiant white sand. I dream about the scorching sun evaporating drops of the sea off my skin. In my daydreams I eat fresh fruit and fish all day too. How perfect.

Anyway, blustery winds and constant darkness inspires daydreaming as well as hearty dinners. Spaghetti and meatballs, as I mentioned before, is a staple. I have very little interest in making my own, so I get them from Puddledub Buffalo at the Fife Farmers Market. They're huge and are called "Meaty Meatballs." I respect that. I only wish that they were more tender (see: can't be bothered to make my own). Together with the butter tomato sauce that is the basis of most red pastas I make, this is one generous meal. It's not Bora Bora, but it's something...

Recipe: Spaghetti and Meatballs
Adapted from tomato sauce with onion and butter from Smitten Kitchen

Serving size: 2 very generous servings or 3 normal servings (boil 75 grams of pasta per person - the amount below is for 2)


  • 800 grams (28 oz) whole peeled tomatoes from a can (San Marzano, if you can find them)
  • 5 tablespoons (70 grams) unsalted butter
  • 1 medium-sized yellow onion, peeled and halved
  • 150 grams pasta
  • 8 meatballs
  • Parmesan


  1. Preheat the oven to 200 celsius or 400 fahrenheit. Line a baking tray with foil for the meatballs.
  2. Put the tomatoes, onion and butter in a heavy saucepan (it fit just right in a 3-quart) over medium heat. Bring the sauce to a simmer then lower the heat to keep the sauce at a slow, steady simmer for about 45 minutes, or until droplets of fat float free of the tomatoes. Stir occasionally, crushing the tomatoes against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon.
  3. After simmering sauce for 15 minutes, put the meatballs in the oven and begin to boil pasta. Turn after approximately halfway through, 15 minutes.

    (If meatballs finish before sauce, just place them into the sauce as it simmers. Remember to remove them of course if you blend the sauce with an immersion blender as I do.)
  4. Remove from heat, discard the onion, add salt to taste.
  5. Serve with freshly grated parmesan.

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