Friday, 17 August 2007

Involtini di Pasta e Polpette

Otherwise know as Spaghetti and meatballs wrapped in aubergine.

Saw this recipe on Taste at lunchtime a couple of days ago. You can find the original recipe here. By Gino D'Acampo

I didn't have the right cheese so we mixed cheddar and parmisan which worked quite well, I didn't use mozzarella either as we didn't have any. The meatballs were very easy to make and having no breadcrumbs in them didn't need any tweaking either. The cheese in them was very well received and the pasta, sauce and meatballs made a meal on their own and indeed one of our lot opted for that not being fond of aubergine. The aubergine wraps were very nice and the suggested serving of three each was plenty, in fact not being very hungry last night I had two left for my lunch today, hence the picture in a storage container. While there are several stages to making this it really isn't difficult and I think the meatballs may well become a regular feature here.

The exact amounts of ingredients in the meatballs was probably not quite right as i used the amount of mince I had which wasn't 250g and then roughly adjusted everything else.

250g beef mince
100g fresh grated Pecorino Sardo cheese (used cheddar and parmisan)
1 white onion (finely chopped – gently fried in olive oil until soft)
2 eggs
3 tbls flat leaf parsley (chopped)
2 tbls Italian extra virgin olive oil
200g 00 flour (used Dove farm gluten free plain flour)
5 tbls Italian olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
300g spaghetti
500g Italian tinned chopped tomato
100g fresh grated Pecorino Sardo cheese (again used a mix of cheese)
2 whole aubergines
5 tbls olive oil
1 clove garlic (chopped)
2 mozzarella balls (didn't have any of this)
Fresh basil (and forgot this)
Salt & pepper to taste

1. In a large bowl, mix together the beef mince, eggs, cheese, olive oil and cooked onions. Sprinkle the parsley, season with salt and pepper and mix well using your hands.

2. Rub some olive oil into your hands and very gently roll a small amount of the meat mixture creating lots of little meatballs the size of a chocolate malteser. Gently coat them in the flour and fry in pre-heated olive until sealed (approx. 5 minutes). When cooked – drain on some kitchen roll and allow to cool.

3. Slice the aubergines (length ways) approx. 1/2 cm thick. Place in a large sieve adding salt and then drain allowing the excess water to flow out for about half an hour. Take each slice and make sure they are dry by placing them in some kitchen roll or towel. Grill them on each side for approx. 5 minutes and allow to cool. (He used a griddle pan in the program as did I and it didn't take as long as 5mins each)

4. Gently fry the garlic in the olive oil – once golden add the chopped tomato and salt to taste and allow to simmer for approx. 15 minutes. Take off the heat, add the basil, the meatballs and a couple of pinches of pepper and leave so the sauce becomes tepid.

5. In the meantime cook the spaghetti in hot salted boiling water until very al dente and then drain and mix into the tomato sauce allowing the spaghetti to absorb the flavours.

6. Put a slice of prepared aubergine on a baking tray and place a handful of the pasta in the middle. Add a slice of mozzarella and roll the aubergine keeping it in place with a toothpick. Repeat the process until your baking tray is full. Sprinkle lots of the Pecorino Sardo on top and bake for approx. 10 minutes at 200C.

7. Take out of the oven once cheese has melted – drizzle a good quality Italian extra virgin olive oil and serve immediately.

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