Category: Beef

Chili-Glazed Meatloaf Sandwiches

It somehow seems vaguely inappropriate to be posting about meat for Valentine’s Day.

[PS - if someone wants to buy me this, feel free]

While I’m not planning on celebrating the ol’ day-o-love, I am planning on going out to dinner. Why? Because I’ll be hungry. My hunger doesn’t stop just because it’s February 14th. I’m hoping to re-create equally hilarious Valentine’s Day dinners gone by that involve completely empty, fully decorated Thai restaurants where the owners thought Andrew dined and ditched me or Ethiopian restaurants that insist on a someone playing love ballads on a Casio keyboard. I cannot make this stuff up. These are the kinds of things that happen when you don’t try to make things happen, and I’m all the better for it. Memories, people, memories.

This meatloaf is my new favorite meatloaf [sorry, mom]. This meatloaf reached high honors from Andrew, especially when I pan fried a thick slab of the leftovers and threw it between fresh rosemary focaccia, sliced Manchego cheese, and sautéed mushrooms. Ah-mazing.

You use grated potato and crushed Ritz crackers as your binder. Genius, I say. I kind of thought the potato might be a little too wet, and I did have a lot more liquid than I was used to when it baked out, but it definitely wasn’t a problem. It didn’t make things soggy or affect the taste. It was dang delicious. The chili ketchup can be as spicy as you want it, since you’re mixing it yourself, but it really doesn’t bring much in the way of heat. If you’re thinking a two pound meatloaf is ridiculous for two people like I did, make it anyway. Meatloaf sandwiches are the best thing ever. EVER.

Inspiration: Things We Make

Ingredients

  • 2lbs ground beef
  • 1 potato, peeled and grated [about the size of a baseball -- how's that for accurate]
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 ounces melted butter
  • 2 ounces milk
  • 1/4 cup chili ketchup [mix hot sauce with ketchup]
  • 130g of Ritz crackers, crushed [if you don't have a scale, do some simple math based on the number of grams on the box]
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 350° and line a 9″x5″ bread pan with foil. In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients together except for a tablespoon or two of the ketchup. Only when it’s thoroughly combined, squish the contents into the pan and flatten it out with your hands. Place into the oven for 90 minutes. If you’re worried about leaking, place a baking sheet underneath it. I didn’t have any issues, though.

The internal temperature of a meatloaf should be about 160°. I’m convinced that checking for this more so than the timing contributed to the best texture. When you pull it out, brush the remainder of the ketchup while it’s still hot.

Eggplant Curry with Beef

Nothing confirms my lust for traveling like 21° weather and a ton of wind watching Vimeo videos on a city. The travel bug is biting hard. September feels like so long ago, so I’m itching to get back out there and see the world. I think we’ve nailed down the trip this year, but I need to get some clearance first [new job and all that]. Stay tuned! What travel plans do you have this year?

This curry recipe came straight from a magazine in Thailand. I can’t remember where we were when it was taken. Airport maybe? Coffee shop? Maybe Andrew remembers. Regardless, it was calling my name the second Andrew forward me the photo one night. “Maybe this tonight?” Uh, yes. Happening.

It makes me feel better about the simplistic recipes that I find on the sides of imported Thai curry containers. I always wonder if they’re dumbing things down for our tastebuds, but this recipe is nearly the same [unless of course the magazine is in on the joke..]. The only real change I made was using Massaman curry paste instead of green curry paste. My curry paste stockpile is getting unacceptably low. I refuse to buy it across the street when it could easily warrant a trip out to Fubonn. Having a legit recipe also enticed me to actually buy kaffir lime leaves. I always hoped it didn’t make a difference, but it does. It’s not a mind-altering change, but anyone who eats enough Thai food would notice the new layer of flavor. I guess I didn’t go out of my way to get palm sugar. Brown sugar works just fine. 

Ingredients

  • 1lb flank steak, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons curry paste
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 eggplant, cubed [mine was about 8" long]
  • 2-3 thai chilies, sliced
  • 2-3 kaffir lime leaves, torn
  • 1/4 cup sweet basil leaves
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • rice or noodles to serve

Preparation

Preheat your high walled pan on medium heat. When a drop of water sizzles loudly, add the oil. When it starts to shimmer, stir in the curry paste. It will soak up the water and smells fragrant. Add half of the coconut milk and stir the paste around until it changes color. Add the beef, lime leaves, cooking the beef until it’s cooked through. Increase heat and bring the milk to a boil. Add the remaining coconut milk, palm sugar, and fish sauce. When it starts to boil, toss in the eggplant. When the eggplant is done cooking, you’re ready to eat. Depending on these size of your cubes, it’ll take about 10 minutes to cook through. Sprinkle with the basil and chilies before serving.

Meatballs and Gravy over Arugula

More arugula! Who is surprised?

Anyone?

Didn’t think so.

There is even a container of it in the fridge right now. So much love for arugula. Easily as much as I love meatballs. If you make sure to use gluten-free oats, pretty sure this constitutes a gluten-free recipe for those of you keeping track at home.

This might be the easiest meatball recipe to date. Granted these were pretty easy too. Probably a hair easier just because of the lack of browning and less ingredients. I’ll let you choose. The key here is getting a sauce you really like. That’s the only “meh” part, which inspired the whole arugula thing. Arugula makes everything better. Everything.

Inspiration: Cupcakes for Breakfast

Ingredients

  • 1lb ground beef
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 egg
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats, pulsed into a coarse powder
  • 2 28oz cans of crushed tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Preparation

Heat a large Dutch oven on medium high heat. Pour in 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. In a large bowl, mix together the beef, Parmesan, parsley, egg, garlic, and rolled oats. Add a healthy pinch of salt and pepper. Use your hands to mix thoroughly. Roll them into 15-18 balls. place each ball into the pot, evenly spaced out. Let them brown on each side for 4-6 minutes. Once all sides are browned, pour in the tomatoes. Bring them to a boil. Add some more salt and pepper. Use some chili flakes if you’re into that sort of thing. Reduce the heat to medium to medium low and simmer for at least 10 minutes. Longer will produce more flavor. Make sure to scrape up the meatball bits and pieces as they cook. Serve over arugula or with crusty bread. Or both.

Korean Beef Bowl

I had a most wonderful birthday on Saturday — an amazing dinner with friends at Radar and followed it up with drinks and more friends at The Lost & Found. I finally had an excuse to open up the bottle of 2007 Fanti Brunello di Montalcino that Lanny gave us after her wedding. I think it’s definitely my favorite wine of all time.

I know it’s weird to see something with beef in it from me. I don’t eat a whole lot of beef unless it’s burger time [like it was on Friday]. I always forget how much cheaper ground beef is compared to the other meats. I usually have my blinders on when I’m picking up chicken. That’s usually the go-to.

The sauce in this Korean beef dish is worth stepping into the world of beef if you don’t normally. It was a nice change of pace from the usual stuff, and it didn’t take nine years to make. I have a terrible habit of picking a recipe, and not paying attention to how long it’ll take. At that point, I’m probably starving. This is almost too easy because you probably have most of the ingredients on hand. I don’t keep ingredients on hand, and even I had most of it. I think I went to the store for beef and some green onions. Easy peasy.

Inspiration: Kitchen Simplicity

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1lb ground beef
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped red, yellow, and orange peppers

Preparation

Cook the rice according to your package while you brown the ground beef. In a small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, soy sauce, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, and grated ginger.

Drain the ground beef once it’s browned. Add it back to the skillet along with the garlic. Cook on medium-high heat for about 60 seconds. Add the sauce, peppers, and half of the green onions. Let the sauce simmer for about two minutes. It should thicken a little bit and coat everything. Serve over the rice and garnish with the rest of the green onions.

Steak & Blue Grilled Pizza

Things of note:

Summer is here! It’s been SUPER hot lately [like everywhere]. We went to Astoria, OR over the weekend [the beach!] to play in the ocean with the dog, drink a lot of beer from Fort George Brewery, check out the Goonies house, watch the sunset from the Astoria Column, and eat the biggest bagel and lox plate of my life from Street 14 Coffee.

Currently reading: The Pleasures of Cooking for One by Judith Jones because one can never have too much pleasure from cooking.

Our office is rocking three different types of bubbly water these days. Hydration has never been more fun.

I switched back to green smoothies for breakfast. This week = avocado, celery, spinach, rolled oats, sweetener, water, ice.

The light in the fridge went out. Why does that feel way more ominous than a normal light?

I made a fresh salad dressing to go with dinner. It’s from the same book that I’ve been getting the pizza recipes. I’m dubbing it walnut honey dressing: walnut oil, rice vinegar, honey, salt, shallot, dry mustard powder. Shaken and poured over butter lettuce and a handful of fresh blueberries.

I made this pizza for our good friend who came over to help us with some fun house stuff. Who doesn’t want to work in a nearly 100° garage? Did I mention we have nice friends? The least I could do was treat him to dinner. This is the epitome of rich, meaty deliciousness. I overcooked the steak a little too much for my liking. I like it way more pink, but it was still juicy at least. I’ll take it. I’m in love with the roasted garlic paste these pizzas are suggesting. It’s my new favorite pizza base. There was a note in the margin of the book to add a little bit of horseradish. I wish I would have seen that before I’d gone to the store. That would have been a perfect substitute for the inevitable blanket of chile flakes.

PS – Have you ever seen such a misshapen pizza before? I’m naming it North Carolina. It still tastes good.

Inspiration: Pizza on the Grill

Ingredients

  • 16oz top sirloin steak, approx. 1 1/2 inches thick, room temperature
  • olive oil for drizzling
  • 1 ball of pizza dough
  • 1/4 cup grits or corn meal
  • 1/2 cup roasted garlic paste [3 heads of roasted garlic + olive oil, pureed]
  • 1/2 cup caramelized onions [I sauteed a medium sized onion in 1 tablespoon of butter for about 20 minutes]
  • 4oz Roquefort or other blue cheese, grumbled
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper

Preparation

Preheat the grill on high for 10 minutes before turning it down to medium.

Drizzle both sides of the steak with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill for 4-5 minutes on each side for medium rare. Remove to a plate and tent with foil.

Sprinkle the grits around on your dough rolling surface. Roll out the dough to your desired thickness. Drizzle both sides with olive oil before place one side down on the grill. Grill for three minutes or until grill marks show up on the one side. It shouldn’t be sticking, and will be easy to pull off to a rimless baking sheet, grilled side up. Turn off the middle burner if your grill has three of them.

Smother the grilled side of the pizza with the garlic paste. Sprinkle it with the caramelized onions. Thinly slice the steak against the grain. Arrange the steak on the onion and garlic mixture. Sprinkle with the cheese, and return to the grill for 7-9 minutes. The bottom will be crisp and the cheese melted.

Remove from the grill and sprinkle with the parsley. Cut and serve immediately.

Beef Tagliata with Radicchio & Gorgonzola

Do you know how nice it is to have come home and have someone make you a sandwich? Talk about a stress free [and delicious!] meal. Sometimes it’s just what you need for dinner. Simplicity. Then you’re actually done with dinner in a quick fashion so you have time to go to the park for an hour. That never happens.

I’ve been playing with a ton of intense flavors lately [and eating frozen grapes]. I guess I do that a lot, don’t I? It seems more common these days. Have you had radicchio [it's pronounced ra-dee-kyoh by the way]? Even if you haven’t gone out of your way for it, it sometimes ends up in those pre-bagged salads you can buy. While it looks like a cabbage and has a similar texture, it is actually chicory that originated in Italy. It’s bitter, especially while raw. When you cook it down or roast it, it looses some if it’s edge, but will never be without a hint of bitterness. It pairs really, really well with tangy, pungent gorgonzola. It cuts through the bitter without issue and bridges the gap between the bitter radicchio and sweet caramelized shallots. 

It’s paired with steak [tagliata is just Italian for sliced] because beef is a great backdrop for whatever you’re throwing at it. In this case, bitter and tangy. It’s seared on a cast iron skillet for a few minutes on each side for a nice medium rare.

Inspiration: La Cucina Italiana Magazine

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium head radicchio, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
  • 1-2 ounces of crumbled gorgonzola [depending on your affinity for the flavor]
  • 1lb rib eye, brought to room temperature
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Preparation

Cover the steak in a healthy layer of salt and pepper on both sides and set aside.

Heat a large cast iron skillet on medium high heat. Once it’s hot, add 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil. When it gets heated through, add the radicchio, shallot, and garlic. Sauté until the radicchio wilts and the shallot turns translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Empty the contents to a bowl and add the gorgonzola. Mix well. Wipe out the pan as best as possible.

Adjust the heat to high and add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and the butter. When the butter melts, add the steak. Allow it to sear on one side for 3-4 minutes before flipping. After another 3-4 minutes, pull the steak off the pan and set it aside to rest for 10 minutes before slicing across the grain. I ate half the steak with half of the radicchio, and saved the rest for lunch the next day.

 

Bacon Meatloaf

I haven’t used my beloved blender in weeks. I think I’m starting to go through withdrawals. I was seriously using it every single morning before work. After I returned from Kansas City, I didn’t make it to the store fridge like I normally do, so I didn’t have any milk or spinach or whatever I usually throw in my smoothies in the morning. So what did I do? I made oatmeal. WHO AM I? Honest to goodness oatmeal.

 

Of course I’ve made it everyday since then. That’s just how I roll. I don’t like having to think about things in the morning. Consistency is my friend. Rolled oats, chia seeds, cinnamon, fresh grated ginger, a couple drops of stevia, and a sprinkling of cacao nibs. It tastes delicious, but of course I’m hungry two hours later. I hate that about rolled oats. So good, but so not filling for my seemingly bottomless appetite.

I threw a new meatloaf recipe at my appetite recently. I was really craving meatloaf, and more specifically, gravy. I prefer to have them together. It’s like my peas and carrots. Peanut butter and jelly. This was the most ingredient intensive meatloaf I’ve ever made. Two unusually ingredients popped out at me, so I knew I needed to make it — bacon and prunes. Color me intrigued. I ended up using in raisins because that’s what I had [LAZY], but they’re virtually the same thing. It definitely added a little extra moisture, and a hint of sweetness. You don’t really notice it.

This was super good. I like all the vegetables. I love the mixture of meats. I really just need to remember to grind my rolled oats into something a little more fine. It doesn’t taste funny or affect the texture, but it just doesn’t look as nice.

Leftovers for lunch the next day? You bet.

Inspiration: Epicurious

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 medium onion, chopped into quarters
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 medium celery rib, chopped in 4-5 pieces
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped in to 4-5 pieces
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 pound of bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pitted prunes (chopped) or raisins
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup parsley, finely chopped

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 350° and have a 9″x13″ pan handy. Pour the milk into a large bowl with the rolled oats. In the bowl of a food processor, add the onion, garlic, carrot, and celery. Pulse until finely chopped and combined. Heat the butter on medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add the onion mixture. Cook, and occasionally stir, for five minutes before covering. Lower the heat and let it cook for another five minutes until the carrot is soft. Remove the pan from the heat and add the Worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar, nutmeg, two teaspoons of salt and pepper.

Add the raisins and bacon to the food processor. Pulse until mixed and finely chopped. In the large bowl with the rolled oats, combine the bacon mixture and the carrot mixture. Add the beef, pork, eggs, and parsley. Use your hands to combine everything evenly. Form a loaf in with the meat mixture in the 9×13″ pan. Bake the loaf for about 75 minutes or until the internal temperature of the meatloaf comes to 155°. Let it stand 10 minutes before slicing serving.

Salt Crusted Burgers with Mashed Peas

Hamburger steak is a total comfort food for me. I grew up on the stuff. We are were a very meat and potatoes family, so it wouldn’t be uncommon to have a hamburger steak or a meatloaf, fried potatoes, gravy, and a vegetable of some kind [canned green beans anyone?]. I still kind of get a little weak in the knees for some of that stuff. It doesn’t count as comfort food unless you drown your whole plate in gravy by the way. It’s kind of like my whipped cream to pumpkin pie ratio, but that’s a whole other story…

Phone conversations with my family generally revolve around “what are you having for dinner?” What can I say, we like to eat [or I always call on the way home from work]? They’re meal planners for the most part, or at least have some idea based on what they have in the fridge/pantry. I’m the complete opposite, running across the street most days because I don’t have anything except maybe some eggs. Or chocolate chips.

So when my mom said they were having hamburger steak the other day, it dawned on me that I hadn’t had one since…yeah, I don’t want to think about it. I don’t exactly eat a lot of beef these days, and there really isn’t a reason for it. So I took myself to the backup fridge [not only do I have the New Seasons across the street, I have a Fred Meyer four-ish blocks the other direction] to pick up a few things.

Jules at Stonesoup was the inspiration for the rest of the dish. I was the only one eating, so I didn’t need to make a whole mess of potatoes [not that it has stopped me before]. I have a love affair with frozen peas, gladly popping them into my mouth straight from the freezer. How could mashed ones fail me? They didn’t. Caramelized onions with a splash of balsamic for good measure. Why don’t I use more balsamic? I think this every time I open the bottle.

Inspiration: Stonesoup

Ingredients

  • 1lb ground beef
  • 8oz frozen peas
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 sweet onion, small chop
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • Lemon juice to taste
  • salt
  • pepper
  • red chile flakes, optional

Preparation

If you want the caramelize the onions, it’s going to take a bit. You heat the 2-3 tablespoons olive oil on medium heat. Add the onions, and cover, stirring every 5 minutes or so. It’ll take a good 25-30 minutes to get them to start browning and caramelizing. A watched pot never boils and all that. Right before you pull them off, toss in a tablespoon or two of balsamic and stir. Delicious.

Remove the onions from the pan and add a fine layer of salt all over it. Turn the heat up to high. Form the beef into patties while it heats. Sprinkle both sides with fresh cracked pepper. Add the patties to the salted pan, and let them sizzle for 4-5 minutes before flipping. The salt is going to create a juicy, seared exterior full of all kinds of flavor. After flip, let them cook another 4-5 minutes depending on how rare you like your beef.

After the final flip, add the frozen peas to a pot on medium heat. Stir occasionally while they heat. Once all of the frozenness goes away, add the butter. Stir again while the butter melts, coating every pea. With a fork, potato masher, immersion blender, or small food processor, mash the buttery peas with a splash of lemon juice to taste. It really brightens up the flavor.

Serve the burgers on the peas topped with onions.

Joe’s Special

>insert shock and awe at how quickly Thanksgiving is approaching<

Turkey Day is one of my favorite holidays, purely because it’s food focused [although we just bought an Xbox 360...I don't know if we'll be able to tear ourselves away], so needless to say, I’m pretty excited. I’m on dinner roll and cranberry sauce duty again this year. I may or may not bring a salad, an appetizer or a dessert. I really can’t decide. I can’t bring all three. Well, I could, but it would really be rather wasteful. I think we’ll have 12 people or so at my grandma’s. Hardly reason to break out seven tons of food. I can only eat leftovers for so long.

What are you making this year?

I haven’t been in the mood to make a whole lot in terms of dinner lately. My stomach has been a little off for one reason or another the past few days. It leads me to want something quick and easy, like take out, or breakfast. Breakfast for dinner will always hold a soft spot in my heart. It definitely ranks high on the list of quick meals.

Inspiration: Saveur

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 8oz ground beef
  • 10oz frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 8 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
  • salt and pepper
  • chopped parsley
  • crusty french bread rolls

Preparation

Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat, add the garlic and onion, stirring occasionally until soft and fragrant. When the onions start to turn translucent, add the ground beef. Break it up with your spoon as you stir it all together. Allow it to brown in the midst of the onion and garlic.

Give it enough time to cook off all the liquid. If you really want to rush it along, you can drain it depending on how fatty your beef is. Add the spinach, incorporating it into the beef mixture. When warm, approximately 2-3 minutes, add the eggs. Thoroughly mix it in, allowing it to scramble. Keep cooking it, stirring often, until the eggs dry out and it’s not soupy. This will take several minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Toast your bread under a broiler until crispy. Top the egg mixture with chopped parsley when serving. Eat as a sandwich, if desired. I did.

Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash

Things of note lately—

  • Pretzel buns make a mediocre sandwich borderline awesome
  • A huge breakfast burrito and an egg salad sandwich are wise choices if you plan on drinking for Hurricane Relief
  • Breakfast Jack’s help with any potential hangover…not that I had one
  • A meatball and vegetable calzone makes the time change less painful
  • The my favorite local bar was serving the following election night drink specials—the Hopey Changy, and the Mitt’s Private Sector. Hilarious.
  • A pie float—a pot pie floating in a sea of split pea soup—might be my new favorite food

In lieu of talking about the obnoxious time change or the election, let’s talk about spaghetti squash.

I fell in love with spaghetti squash a long time ago, but I really don’t make it all that often. The last few times I’ve made it [here and here], I went the quick microwaveable route. This time, not so much. I had plenty of time to actually roast it in the oven while I made meatballs and sauce. Roasting definitely makes it better. It definitely makes it take way longer, but that’s okay. I’ll still use the microwave if I need to speed things up, but I implore you to use your ovens at least once when roasting a spaghetti squash if you haven’t yet. It’ll change your world.

Did you know I can eat a whole spaghetti squash by myself? No shame. If you add a delicious kalamata tomato sauce and a bunch of meatballs, though, I have a little bit more of a challenge in eating said entire squash.

Have you ever had cold spaghetti squash and meatballs for breakfast? I have, and I loved all 30 seconds every minute of it. You probably need to like cold pizza for breakfast [my favorite!] before you try that one. I hear some people have issues with that.

Can someone please tell me where I can find ground veal in Portland? Every meatball recipe on the planet likes to call for it, but I can never ever find it in my area.

What kind of non-traditional breakfast foods do you like to eat?

Inspiration: Roost

Ingredients

  • 1 3lb spaghetti squash
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried fennel seeds, chopped
  • 1/2lb ground beef
  • 1/2lb ground pork
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 egg
  • 1 14oz can fire roasted tomatoes, drained
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 425° and line a baking sheet with a Silpat or aluminum foil. Or don’t, and have fun cleaning. Using a sharp knife, and extreme care, cut the spaghetti squash in half. Place the pieces cut side down on the baking sheet. When the oven is preheated, place the squash in for about 30 minutes. Remove when done and allow to cool.

Heat 1/2 of the butter in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Saute the onions for a couple minutes until soft. Add the garlic and fennel, and cook for only another minute or two more. Bring on that delicious smell! Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, mix the two ground meats, the cooled onion mixture, the egg, Parmesan, a pinch of salt, and parsley. Mix loosely so you don’t end up with dense meatballs. Roll them into nine evenly shaped balls, about the size of ping-pong balls. Heat the remaining butter in your skillet on medium high-heat. Place the meatballs in the pan, in batches if you have to, to brown them on all sides. Really let them sear or you’re going to break them apart while you try to rotate them. Remove them to a paper towel lined plate when you’re done.

In the same pan, add the tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, and olives. Stir to incorporate. Add the meatballs. Bring to a boil before simmering, covered, for about 30 minutes or until the spaghetti squash is cooled enough to shred and handle. Remember to taste your sauce periodically for seasoning.

To serve, place spaghetti squash on a plate, top with as much sauce and meatballs as you so choose. Drown in a healthy pile of Parmesan.