Mul­ti­cooker makes great meat­balls in mari­nara

The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY) - - Kickoff -

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.

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 Show cook to­tal time: 4 hours 30min­utes 2slices hearty white sandwich bread, torn into 1⁄2 inch pieces 1⁄4 cup whole milk 1ounce Parme­san cheese, grated (1⁄2 cup) 3ta­ble­spoons minced fresh pars­ley 1large egg, lightly beaten 6gar­lic cloves, minced Salt and pep­per 1pound meat­loaf mix 1ta­ble­spoon ex­tra-vir­gin olive oil 2ta­ble­spoons minced fresh oregano or 2tea­spoons dried 1ta­ble­spoon tomato paste 1(28ounce) can crushed toma­toes 1(28ounce) can tomato puree 1pound 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, 3/4tea­spoon salt, and1/2tea- spoon 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 quick-re­lease 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 cook- ing 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); 93mg choles­terol; 667 mg sodium; 77 g car­bo­hy­drate; 5 g fiber; 10 g sugar; 28 g pro­tein.

Amer­ica’s Test Kitchen pro­vided this ar­ti­cle to The As­so­ci­ated Press. For more recipes, cook­ing tips and in­gre­di­ent and prod­uct reviews, visit https://www.amer­i­c­as­testk­itchen.com. Find more recipes like Meat­balls and Mari­nara in “Mul­ti­cooker Per­fec­tion.”

CARL TREM­BLAY/AMER­ICA’S TEST KITCHEN VIA AP

This un­dated photo pro­vided by Amer­ica’s Test Kitchen shows meat­balls and mari­nara in Brook­line, Mass.

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