Sometimes I feel creative and adventurous in the kitchen. That’s when I really enjoy taking ingredients and making them into something new, fresh, different. Other times I’m simply stuck in a rut. Those are the days when I fall back on my kitchen classics. Pot roast. Baked chicken. Omelets. You know what I mean, right? The recipes you can throw together without even thinking about them?
One of my, and probably your, fall-back standards is spaghetti and meatballs. I used to work with a great friend who, just as regular as clock work every Wednesday afternoon, said that she was going home to fix her family’s weekly “dose” of spaghetti. I can relate. On days when I just can’t summon up another drop of creativity I always know that I can count on spaghetti and meatballs for a dinner that, if not memorable, will be at least be satisfying and enjoyable.
A few days ago I was in the kitchen preparing a “dose” of spaghetti and meatballs when I had a semi-creative moment. What if I didn’t make them with the usual Italian style seasonings? What if I did something a little fresher? Could I mix some lemon and dill in there somehow? I’m happy to say that my tiny moment of creativity paid off quite happily. The lemon zest in the meatballs and the dill and cream in the tomato sauce made this recipe a happy departure from the classic. Hope you enjoy it, too.
Start with the tomato sauce first.
Heat a medium saucepan and add some butter and oil. Toss in some onions, garlic and celery and until the onion is tender but not browned. Stir in diced tomatoes with their juice, dillweed, salt and pepper. Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce the heat and let it simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring ocassionally, while you prepare the meatballs.
In a large bowl, combine the egg, bread crumbs, onion and lemon peel and salt. Add the meat and mix thoroughly. Form into 16 meatballs.
I always find it’s easier to make meatballs if I shape the meat into a square or rectangle and cut it into portions before I start shaping. It helps me get more consistent sizes. If I don’t do that I end up with some the size of ping pong balls and some the size of tennis balls!
In a large skillet, cook the meatballs for 8-10 minutes or until no pink color remains. Add the meatballs to the tomato sauce. Slowly add the whipping cream or half-and-half to the sauce and meatball mixture.
Cook, stirring constantly, for an additional two minutes or till cream is heated through. Serve over spaghetti, linguine or noodles.
Notes: If you’d like a richer sauce, you could add a couple of tablespoons of butter and double the cream at the end of cooking. On the other hand, if you’d like to lighten the recipe even more, you could substitute turkey for the ground beef. This would also be delicious with ground lamb instead of beef. All text and photographs on Never Enough Thyme are copyright protected. Please do not use any material from this site without obtaining prior permission. If you'd like to post this recipe on your site, please create your own original photographs and either re-write the recipe in your own words or link to this post.
For the sauce:
For the meatballs:
All text and photographs on Never Enough Thyme are copyright protected. Please do not use any material from this site without obtaining prior permission. If you'd like to post this recipe on your site, please create your own original photographs and either re-write the recipe in your own words or link to this post.
Other meatball recipes you might enjoy from aound the internet:
- Southwest Turkey Meatballs with Creamy Cilantro Dipping Sauce from Skinny Taste
- Grilled Sriracha-Sesame Turkey Meatballs from Kalyn’s Kitchen
- Pork and Fennel Meatballs on Kitchen Daily
- For the Love of Cooking’s Baked Penne with Meatballs
What I was cooking…
- One year ago: Hot Roast Beef Sandwiches with Horseradish Cream
- Two years ago: Chili Cheese Corn Muffins