For clas­sic meat­balls in mari­nara, turn to the mul­ti­cooker

The Citizens' Voice - - FOOD - BY AMER­ICA’S TEST KITCHEN

It’s hard to find any­one who doesn’t love a bowl of spaghetti topped with meat­balls and mari­nara, but stove­top ver­sions are of­ten messy (be­tween the spat­ter­ing oil from fry­ing the meat­balls and the sput­ter­ing tomato sauce), and the sauce re­quires a long sim­mer­ing time to de­velop rich, deep fla­vor.

We turned to the mul­ti­cooker for the neat­est and most ef­fi­cient method for mak­ing clas­sic meat­balls in mari­nara. Meat­loaf mix pro­vided a com­bi­na­tion of ground beef, pork, and veal all in one, mak­ing our gro­cery list short with­out sac­ri­fic­ing fla­vor.

The meat­balls were a bit dry, so we added an egg and a panade — a paste of bread and milk — for the mois­ture the meat­balls needed, cre­at­ing ten­der meat­balls that would also hold their shape.

We seared the meat­balls un­til they were crisp and brown; the deep pot of the mul­ti­cooker kept spat­ter­ing to a min­i­mum, and the fond made a fla­vor­ful foun­da­tion for our mari­nara. We cooked some aro­mat­ics, added crushed toma­toes and tomato puree, and re­turned the meat­balls to the pot.

From there, we could ei­ther briefly pres­sure cook the mix­ture, or leave it unat­tended to gen­tly cook for the next few hours on the slow cook set­ting. Ei­ther way, we never had to worry about splat­ter­ing grease or sauce.

The fi­nal prod­uct was a pot full of fla­vor­ful and ten­der yet firm meat­balls in a ro­bust, sa­vory tomato sauce. If you can­not find meat­loaf mix, sub­sti­tute 8 ounces 85 per­cent lean ground beef and 8 ounces ground pork.

Meat­balls and mari­nara

Serv­ings: 4-6 Pres­sure cook to­tal time: 1 hour

To­tal time: 4 hours 30 min­utes 2 slices hearty white sand­wich bread, torn into 1/2 inch pieces

1/4 cup whole milk

1 ounce Parme­san cheese,

grated (1/2 cup) 3 ta­ble­spoons minced fresh

pars­ley

1 large egg, lightly beaten 6 gar­lic cloves, minced Salt and pep­per

1 pound meat­loaf mix 1 ta­ble­spoon ex­tra-vir­gin olive oil

2 ta­ble­spoons minced fresh oregano or 2 tea­spoons dried

1 ta­ble­spoon tomato paste 1 (28 ounce) can crushed

toma­toes

1 (28 ounce) can tomato

puree

1 pound spaghetti

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Us­ing fork, mash Bread And milk into paste in large Bowl. Stir in Parme­san, pars­ley, egg, half of gar­lic, 3/4 tea­spoon salt, And 1/2 tea­spoon pep­per. Add meat­loaf mix And knead with hands un­til thor­oughly Com­bined. Pinch off And roll mix­ture into 12 meat­balls (About 1/4 Cup each).

Us­ing high­est saute or Brown­ing func­tion, heat oil in mul­ti­cooker for 5 min­utes (or un­til just smok­ing). Brown meat­balls on All sides, 6 to 8 min­utes; trans­fer to plate.

Add oregano, tomato paste, 1/4 tea­spoon salt, And re­main­ing gar­lic to fat left in mul­ti­cooker And Cook un­til fra­grant, About 1 minute. Stir in toma­toes And tomato puree, scrap­ing up Any Browned Bits. Gen­tly nes­tle meat­balls into sauce, Adding Any Ac­cu­mu­lated juices.

To pres­sure Cook: Lock lid in place And Close pres­sure re­lease valve. Select high pres­sure Cook func­tion And Cook for 15 min­utes. Turn off mul­ti­cooker And quick­re­lease pres­sure. Care­fully re­move lid, Al­low­ing steam to es­cape Away from you.

To slow Cook: Lock lid in place And open pres­sure re­lease valve. Select low slow Cook func­tion And Cook un­til meat­balls Are ten­der, 3 to 4 hours. (If us­ing In­stant Pot, select high slow Cook func­tion And in­crease Cook­ing range to 4 to 5 hours.) Turn off mul­ti­cooker And Care­fully re­move lid, Al­low­ing steam to es­cape Away from you.

Mean­while, Bring 4 quarts wa­ter to Boil in large pot. Add pasta And 1 ta­ble­spoon salt And Cook, stir­ring of­ten, un­til Al dente. Re­serve 1/2 Cup Cook­ing wa­ter, then drain pasta And re­turn it to pot. Add sev­eral spoon­fuls of sauce (with­out meat­balls) And Basil And toss to Com­bine. Add re­served Cook­ing wa­ter As needed to Ad­just Con­sis­tency. Serve pasta with re­main­ing sauce And meat­balls.

Nu­tri­tion in­for­ma­tion per serv­ing: 593 Calo­ries; 173 Calo­ries from fat; 19 g fat (6 g sat­u­rated; 0 g trans fats); 93 mg Choles­terol; 667 mg sodium; 77 g Car­bo­hy­drate; 5 g fiber; 10 g su­gar; 28 g pro­tein.

For more recipes, cook­ing tips and in­gre­di­ent and

prod­uct re­views, visit www. Amer­i­c­as­testk­itchen.com. Find more recipes like Meat­balls And Mari­nara in “Mul­ti­cooker Per­fec­tion.”

CARL TREM­BLAY / AMER­ICA’S TEST KITCHEN VIA AP

Turn to the mul­ti­cooker for the neat­est and most ef­fi­cient method for mak­ing clas­sic meat­balls and mari­nara.

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