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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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December 01, 2008

Mama Mia's Spaghetti and-a-Meat-a-Balls-a

This recipe is from an ancient Hunt's tomato paste advertisement in a magazine.  I first started making it around 1964, I guess and made it about once a week or so for years.  The reason it has its funny name is because when I would make it, I'd tell the kids I was going to make mama mia's spaghetti and-a-meat-a-balls-a and then keep talking like that while I was making it which seemed to tickle them nicely. 

Ingredients for Meatballs
2 eggs, beaten
1 T. tomato paste (from 2 6 oz. cans or 1 12 oz. can)
1/4 c. water
1/4 c. bread crumbs
1/4 c. minced onion (or 1T dried minced onion which is what I've always used.)
1 clove minced garlic
2 T. parsley (I've always used the dried)
1/4 c. parmesan cheese
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1 lb. ground chuck

Mix everything except the meat together.  When it's well blended then break up and mix in the meat thoroughly.  Lightly shape into balls - mine are probably around 1 to 1-1/2" in diameter and brown them well in a small amount of olive oil.  I usually seem to get around 20 meatballs.  When finished, if it seems like there's an excess of fat in the skillet, I've been known to dump it all in a strainer and get rid of it.  But leave the brown bits.

Ingredients for Sauce
2 c. hot water
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp oregano
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp sugar
the rest of the two cans of tomato paste

I usually use the bowl that I mixed the meatballs in to mix all this up cause it's hard to do it in the pan with the meatballs.  So mix it all up and then pour over the meatballs and let simmer covered for at least 1/2 an hour or so to let the flavors get together.

NOTE:  This recipe was obviously in the days before they decided recipes shouldn't have much salt.  But if you do cut it down, I wouldn't go below 1 tsp in each.  Salt does enhance flavors and when you divide this amount of salt between about 3 cups of sauce and 20 meatballs, you're not getting all that much.

Keep a light touch when rolling the meatballs in your hands - don't press them into shape.  And don't worry if they're a little misshapen. 

Oh, and with all the seasonings going on, I'd say don't use seasoned bread crumbs.  I never have and the original recipe just said bread crumbs.

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