Thursday, January 12, 2012

On Top of Spaghetti...

I've just, just finished the last meatball from New Year's Eve. Here we are, 11 days and a freeze/thaw later and I've finally made my way through the meatballs I was worried I wouldn't have enough of that lovely night (though upon rolling and searing them off, I actually froze about a third of the mixture, which now awaits another tasty application). I've been trudging my way through them, not really eating much other than meatballs--not that there's anything with that--and admiring that particular quality that foods like this have of getting better as time goes by. They've gone in torta rolls for sandwiches, been eaten cold as I stood with my head poked in the fridge and served next to the remnants of the three color lasagna, also from NYE (and, incidentally, completely for the aesthetic of looking at the stratified layers of lasagna and squealing with delight at seeing different colors of pasta made from eggs, carrot juice and spinach rather than offering any huge flavor effect). But yesterday's incarnation was perhaps my favorite--boiled dry spaghetti in the last bits and pieces of meatball/sauce that was sitting at the bottom of the pan. I froze this most tasty and often discarded bit (not unlike a roast chicken's oyster or pope's nose, or that big piece of fat on a grilled ribeye) after harvesting the meatballs way back when, and finally pulled it out yesterday. Straight up spaghetti with meat sauce red checker tablecloth style. All that was missing was a basket of chianti.
To think, so much flavor could be extended for so long to so many people from a collection of beef scraps, pork shoulder, pork fat and salami. It all went through my grinder and was tossed with soffrito I made by slow, slow cooking onions, carrot, celery and garlic in a ton of olive oil and a bunch of parsley, fresh garlic and lemon zest. The meatballs were formed and seared in the trusty cast iron, then piled up in dutch ovens and covered with a slow-simmered tomato sauce and, for good measure, a dousing of that good ham stock. Perfect to throw in the oven as people are arriving and bottles are popping open--the meatballs will be ready when you are.

Now, as the first big, fat flakes start to fall snow globe style, I'm a bit anxious knowing that we're in for it for a few long months now. I'm looking at the snow accumulating on the empty branches outside, and find myself wishing I made more meatballs. Time to thaw that extra bit and get back at it.