Due to an unplanned, last-minute out of town trip, I wasn’t able to make this over the weekend. I just quite made this for lunch today, and I’m dismayed that I managed to somehow bungle a fairly straightforward, easy-to-follow recipe!
I chose to follow Jamie Oliver’s recipe (see my inspiration post). As an aside, I like Jamie Oliver. When The Naked Chef used to be in the Asian Food Channel, and when I had time to watch TV, I liked his style of cooking, which seemed a bit haphazard, but the end product looked amazingly delicious. While I’m the most OC person in the world, it somehow doesn’t translate to my cooking. I like trial and error, adjusting recipes versus following them to the letter. So when I say I followed his recipe for spaghetti and meatballs, I meant I used it as a basis and added my own touches along the way.
First off, I never quite figured out what 12 cream crackers were. What’s a cream cracker, and what size are they? I had to kind of eyeball it using a local cracker brand, which I crushed in their packet using a bottle of olive oil. Next, fresh rosemary was unfortunately not available in the grocery, so I settled for dried – and it’s a bit messy to chop so if you have a mini grinder, I would suggest using that. Then I added some finely grated carrot to up its nutritional value a bit.
Jamie calls for frying the meatballs in a separate pan while the sauce is cooking in another, but here’s what I did: I made the sauce in the same pan where I cooked the meatballs. The recipe called for chopped tomatoes and no other source of liquid. And 24 golfball-sized meatballs in about 800grams of chopped tomatoes? The end result was a chunky sauce without much liquid in it. I didn’t mind too much, though it was not what I expected, and I would have preferred a little bit more liquid. I’ll add some pureed tomatoes in my next batch.
I feel like the basil would be better off chopped rather than thrown in whole, but either way, it definitely elevated the sauce’s flavor and fragrance. I added some more grated carrots in the sauce too.
The end product is as shown above, a little bit “dry” but not flavorless, if that makes any sense. I left out the chili since I was expecting my daughter to eat as well. My verdict: I like it, but as I mentioned I’ll be using half-chopped and half-pureed tomatoes next time. My daughter’s verdict: no, thank you. It seems that she’s still in her spaghetti-with-no-sauce phase and vehemently protested against trying the meatballs.
Well, it was worth a try, and it was fun to try. This is what my inspiration posts are all about, anyway: trying to find food that my daughter will like. The search continues…