Little Kisses

  • 9th January 2014

Cronuts, Dossants, Cupcakes, Macarons and Cake Pops have met a rival trend across the Pond by way of the light, airy and perfectly petite Meringue.

 

 

 

Bite-sized decadence offered by the Meringue Girls in London

Bite-sized decadence. Photo courtesy of: meringuegirls.co.uk

 

 

 

Enter the Meringue Girls and their kaleidoscope of mouthwatering colors!!

 

 

A kaleidoscope of flavors offered by the Meringue Girls in the UK

A kaleidoscope of flavors offered by the Meringue Girls in the UK

 

 

 

The tiny meringue is sweet, complex and rich—while being concurrently ethereal in texture and experience.

 

 

The inside of a rosewater and pistachio meringue
Mallowy inside of a meringue by Meringue Girls UK

 

 

The central texture of their meringue, made solely of free-range egg whites and British grown sugar (as the base meringue) is reminiscent of a melt-in-the-mouth marshmallow.  But, the flavors span the globe in sophistication:  Manuka honey; Lemongrass and Ginger; Matcha green tea; Mojito; Strawberry and Black pepper; Pistachio and Rosewater; Sugared almond; Mince pie…..the list goes on and on and on!

 

 

Piping the Meringues.  Photo courtesy of: meringuegirls.co.uk

Piping the Meringues. Photo courtesy of: meringuegirls.co.uk

 

 

How could you have a gathering and not want this on display?  It’s their best seller and one look will reveal why.  A vintage apple crate filled with 170 intoxicatingly beautiful kisses.

 

 

A vintage apple crate filled with a rainbow selection of meringues offered by the Meringue GIrls in the UK

 

 

The girls behind the brand, Alex Hoffler and Stacey O’Gorman also offer master classes.

 

 

 

Jars of meringues offered by The Meringue Girls of the UK

 

 

The cute-as-a-button kisses are currently available upon delivery and stocked at:

Selfridges

Harvey Nichols

Fortnum & Mason London

 

 

meringuegirls.co.uk

 

*All photos courtesy of: meringuegirls.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken Minestrone with Orzo

  • 6th January 2014

Temperatures may be plummeting in many cities worldwide, but cooking up this hearty, comforting minestrone will warm up any household.

 

Chicken Minestrone with Orzo from the Williams Sonoma 'Soups' Cookbook

Chicken Minestrone with Orzo from the Williams Sonoma ‘Soup’ Cookbook

 

 

One of our favorites for the winter months…it comes by way of the Williams Sonoma ‘Soup’ Cookbook.   It’s easy and tastes better every day that passes.

 

 

 

chopped

 

 

Ingredients:

 

3 qt chicken stock or prepared broth

2 skinless, boneless whole chicken breasts

4 carrots peeled

2 large zucchini

1/2 lb. green beans

1 small Asian eggplant

2 yellow onions

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 small head green cabbage, shredded (We substituted Kale but cabbage is also delicious)

1/4 lb fresh white button mushrooms thinly sliced

3 cloves garlic

2 tomatoes, peeled and seeded then finely chopped

1/4 cup finely chopped basil

Piece of Parmesan cheese rind

1/4 cup orzo

1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

salt and pepper

1/2 cup basil pesto (store bought or homemade—recipe to follow)

 

 

 

cooking

 

 

 

In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring 6 cups of the stock to a simmer.  Add the chicken breasts and simmer until just tender and no trace of pink remains, 8-10 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let the chicken cool in the liquid.  Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and cut into 1-inch cubes.  Set aside.  Strain and reserve the stock.

 

Cut the carrots, zucchini, green beans and eggplant into 1-inch pieces and finely chop the onions.  In a large pot over medium heat, warm the oil.  Add the onions and sauté, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, 3-5 minutes.  Add the cabbage and sauté it just until it is softened about 2 minutes.  Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute.  Add the tomatoes, the reserved stock plus the remaining 6 cups of stock, the basil, and the Parmesan rind.  Raise the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 15 more minutes.

 

Add the orzo and cannellini beans and cook until the orzo is al dente about 8-10 minutes.  Stir in the chicken and heat through.  Remove and discard the Parmesan rind.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and swirl a tablespoon of pesto into each bowl.  Serve immediately.

 

Note: Adding the rind from a wedge of Parmesan cheese, preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano or grana cheese, to the simmering soup gives it a unique, nutty, sweet flavor.

 

 

 

soup1

 

 

Basil Pesto:

In a food processor, combine 2 minced cloves of garlic, 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves and 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley.  Process until finely chopped.  Add 2 tablespoons pine nuts and process until finely chopped.  With the motor running slowly pour in 1/2 cup olive oil.  Process until thick.  Add 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese and pepper to taste and process to mix.  Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

 

 

Photo Courtesy of: Williams Sonoma 'Soups' Cookbook

Photo Courtesy of: Williams Sonoma ‘Soup’ Cookbook

If You’re Heading to…Mumbai!

  • 4th January 2014

….When ‘Gossip’ is great!

 

 

Rosette Metallic Toe Ring Wedge at Gossip Shoes in Mumbai

Rosette Metallic Toe-Ring Wedge

 

 

For shoe shopping, few stores can compare with ‘Gossip Shoes’ in the Palladium Mall.  Like the city of Mumbai itself, Gossip is a world-wind of colors, bright and metallic that makes your head spin with the myriad of choices.

 

 

 

Green and pink toe ring metallic sandals at Gossip Shoes in the Palladium Mall

 

 

There must be more than 500 styles available, each more flamboyant than the last.

 

 

Beaded toe ring wedge at Gossip Shoes in the Palladium Mall

Reminiscent of Rene Caovilla jeweled sandals

 

 

 

You cannot buy them all, but at approximately $30.00 a piece you can splurge on a few pairs…

 

 

Pink Faux-Snakeskin Wedges at Gossip Shoes in Mumbai

Pink Faux Snakeskin Toe-Ring Wedges

 

 

Gossip shoes is easily located in the beautiful Palladium Shopping Mall, formerly known as Phoenix Mills one of the largest shopping areas in India.

 

 

Beaded sandals available at Gossip Shoes in Mumbai

 

 

Gossip Shoes:

Shop No., S-20, Palladium

Phoenix Mills, Lower Parel, Mumbai, 400 013

 

 

Beaded metallic toe-ring wedges at Palladium Mall, Gossip Shoes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are so many great shoes we could keep the photos rolling on and on, but we have to stop somewhere.  If you are in Mumbai, or planning your trip, make sure Gossip is on your list.

 

 

 

Jeweled Sandal at Gossip Shoes Palladium Mall Mumbai

 

 

 

 

 

.

De Bon Goût—Eggplant Moju

  • 26th December 2013

Sri Lanka is really a vegetarian’s paradise.  From beetroot curry to our favorite thus far—Eggplant Moju, the meatless mains are plentiful and deliciously satisfying.

 

 

The vegetable market in Galle has a huge selection of new delights like wild jungle bitter gourd.

The vegetable market in Galle has a huge selection of ‘new-to-us’ delights like wild jungle bitter gourd.

 

This recipe come to us by way of a cooking class at the Amangalla and it combines the flavors of fried shallots, fried cashew nuts, coconut vinegar and treacle.

 

It is a Sri Lankan favorite in homes and restaurants alike—one taste and you will know why!

 

Fried cashews and baby shallots

Fried cashews, green chiles and baby shallots add delicious flavor to the dish.

 

 

 

Eggplant Moju

250 Grams  eggplant cut into 6 cm by 1 cm pieces

30 Grams green chiles sliced and cut in half

100 Grams shallots peeled

150 Grams cashew nuts

1 Tsp mustard powder or paste (mustard paste is made with equal parts ground mustard seeds and butter)

1/4 Cup coconut vinegar

1 1/2  Tbsp.  treacle (similar to honey only sweeter), jaggery or brown sugar

1/2 Tsp black pepper

1/2 Tsp red chili powder

Salt to taste

1/2 + 1/2 Tsp turmeric powder

3-5 Cardamom pods, crushed

10 Grams ginger in a coarse paste

10 Grams garlic in a coarse paste

Cooking oil for frying

 

Cutting the matchsticks

Cutting the matchsticks

 

 

 Step by Step Preparation:

• Toss the eggplant matchsticks with salt and 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric and keep aside for a few minutes

• Deep fry each of the following separately until golden in color; eggplant; green chiles; shallots;

cashew nuts

• In a sauce pan add the coconut vinegar, cardamom, ginger, garlic, 1/2 tsp of turmeric, pepper,

red chili powder, salt and sugar.

• Add the deep fried eggplant, green chili, shallots, and cashew nuts and mix thoroughly on warm heat

• Serve hot or warm with cooked rice and curry

 

 

Colman's  Coconut Toddy Vinegar

Colman’s Coconut Toddy Vinegar

 

 

 

Serve hot and enjoy!

Serve hot and enjoy!

 

 

Christmas Holiday in Galle Fort—Part Deux

  • 24th December 2013

Start your day with Egg Hoppers today made from rice flour and served with spicy dahl and sweet curry.

 

Egg Hoppers come out piping hot

Egg Hoppers come out piping hot

 

 

It's almost like eggs and pancakes!

It’s almost like eggs and pancakes!

 

Having explored the Fort area yesterday, a tour outside in Galle beckons for day two.  Plan a trip to the Handunugoda Tea Plantation.  En route stop at one of the Turtle Hatcheries and release baby sea turtles into the clear ocean.

 

 

Pick them up gently touching their fingers and back.

Pick them up gently touching their fingers and back.

 

 

The Sea Turtle Farm and Hatchery collects the eggs from the beach every night and hatches them in a safe environment improving the turtles chances of survival and keeping them from poachers who also comb the beach.

 

There are 7 types of sea turtles in the world and 5 call this beach their home.

There are 7 types of sea turtles in the world and 5 call this beach their home.

 

 

 

Gently scoop the little guys up from the pool.

Gently scoop the little guys up from the pool.

 

 

The pristine and secluded beach is only a few steps away.

 

 

Heading out slowly but surely

Heading out slowly but surely

 

 

Blazing their own trail

Blazing their own trail

 

 

A lovely experience for youngsters.

A lovely experience for youngsters.

 

 

The road to the tea plantation offers vistas of brilliant green rice fields, white cranes and large iguanas lumbering across the road.

 

Emerald green punctuated only by the great white birds.

Emerald green punctuated only by the great white birds.

 

 

We wait patiently as a huge iguana crosses in front of the car.

We wait patiently as a huge iguana crosses in front of the car.

 

 

Just 25 minutes from the hotel the Handunugoda plantation is the lowest lying tea estate in Sri Lanka which also includes a rubber and cinnamon plantation.

 

Entering the fields with our guide.

Entering the fields with our guide.

 

Sri Lanka produces a unique White Tea said to be imported from China.  The story has it the tea was grown by a Chinese Empress who employed only virgins to pick it using special gloves and tools made of solid gold.    Special caution is used today as well when growing and harvesting this tea which contains antioxidant properties that are off-the-charts.  The tea demands one of the highest prices worldwide.

 

 

The plantations extend on forever.

The plantations extend on forever.

 

 

While walking through the plantation one examines pepper vines, lemongrass and a myriad of fruit and flower trees.  A small rubber plantation coexists within the tea.

 

The rubbery, latex substance is collected in a coconut shell.

The rubbery, latex substance is collected in a coconut shell.

 

 

 

The bark is pulled back.

The bark is pulled back.

 

 

Probably the most interesting part of the tour is seeing the English and Irish machinery, more than 150 years old, used to dry and desiccate the leaves.

 

The leaves are first spread out to dry.

The leaves are first spread out to dry. By days end the whole belt will be filled (there are many more belts)

 

 

 

The leaves make their way to many different drying machines.

The leaves make their way to many different drying machines.

 

 

The aroma in this room is incredible.

The aroma in this room is incredible.

 

 

The end result of multiple passes through many machines is this small amount of pure black tea.

The end result of multiple passes through many machines is this small amount of pure black tea.

 

 

Finally, the tour ends with a tasting of a myriad of teas, crossing the range from white to black.  Take your time and savor the difference.

 

 

All the teas lined up are as beautiful as they are tasty.

All the teas lined up are as beautiful as they are tasty.

 

It is Christmas Eve so if you are going to make any of the many midnight mass ceremonies in Galle, a midday siesta is in order now. This also allows you to skip the hottest part of the day.  Wake up just in time for tea followed by a glorious sunset view from your room of the Dutch Reform Church next door.

 

Sunset over the Dutch Reform Church in Galle.

 

 

Christmas Eve is a lively time in Galle Forte.  The Amangalla is beautifully lit up and guests await carolers from nearby churches.

 

The tree glows in the Zaal at the Amangalla.

The tree glows in the Zaal at the Amangalla.

 

 

The tables are ready for Christmas Eve dinner.

The tables are ready for Christmas Eve dinner.

 

 

Carolers offer traditional music as well as some Sinhalese Christmas favorites.

Carolers offer traditional music as well as some Sinhalese Christmas favorites.

 

 

The tablescape includes traditional Christmas Crackers.

The tablescape includes traditional Christmas Crackers.

 

 

The Christmas Eve Menu at the Amangalla:

Roast pumpkin and sweet potato soup with blue cheese buttermilk

Wild rice, turkey and walnut salad with cranberry dressing

Pomegranate and celery sorbet

Champagne risotto with truffle oil

Pecan and cashewnut pie with gingerbread ice cream and brandy cream sauce

 

Wild rice salad

Wild rice salad

 

 

 

Pomegranate and celery sorbet

Pomegranate and celery sorbet

 

 

 

Champagne risotto with truffles

Champagne risotto with truffles

 

 

Entering your room you are greeted by stockings on all beds with treats and gifts for adults and kids alike.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Midnight mass anyone?

 

Christmas Holiday in Galle Fort—Part Un

  • 23rd December 2013

If you are looking for a tropical destination to spend Christmas that provides a wealth of cultural treasures, culinary delights and fantastic shopping, look no farther than Sri Lanka—specifically Galle Fort.

 

The Amangalla lobby dressed up for Christmas

The Amangalla lobby dressed up for Christmas

 

 

Front of the Amangalla

Front of the Amangalla in Galle.

 

The coastal city of Galle, which is 72 miles south of the capital city of Colombo, is beautified by the old Dutch Fort, which remains an icon of national heritage.  A stay at the Amangalla promises serenity, aesthetic inspiration and an abundance of singular cultural opportunities.  Its history springs from the early Dutch colonial period, and is located right in the heart of the preserved Dutch fort, offering guests a memorable and unparalleled stylish stay in absolute architectural splendour.

 

Arrive into Galle on the 23rd morning so that you can appreciate the surroundings prior to your Christmas activities.

 

Wakeup to sunrise over the sea and city life starting to bustle.

Wakeup to the sunrise over the sea and city life starting to bustle.

 

 

Start your day with rich, deeply flavored Sri Lankan coffee

Start your day with rich, deeply flavored coffee imported from Italy.

 

 

Before breakfast amble down the winding city lanes and watch as the town wakes up.  Stop and admire the lovely facades and you might get lucky like we did.  There are many private residences in the middle of the town and the locals are supremely proud of their conservation.  If you are polite, you might be invited in for a tour of a home dating back to the Portuguese in the 1500s, the Dutch in the 1600s or the English in the 1700s.

 

The small town proved to be a real melting pot with Europeans, Chinese, Arabs, Malays, Persians and Indians all converging upon it.  The history in itself is tragic, but it has left behind the most complex fabric to be explored.

 

 

The Anglican Church in Galle

The Anglican Church in Galle

 

 

As you walk from the hotel to the sea you will definitely pass the Anglican All Saints Church built in the late 1800s and designed by Sri Lanka’s most famous architect of the 19th century, James G. Smither.

 

A few blocks further and the Light House is in sight and so to are local doing a morning promenade.

 

Light House morning stroll in Galle

Light House morning stroll in Galle

 

One of our favorite stories about Galle concerns the lighthouse and comes from the book, “Galle Fort, The Heritage City,” by K D Paranavitana.  The lighthouse was connected to the pigeon post service between Galle and Colombo started in the last 1800s.  When letters arrived overseas from America or Europe into the Galle harbour they were carried by pigeons, released from the lighthouse, to the capital city of Colombo.  These swift birds traveled at rates of 95 miles per hour reaching their destination in just 3/4 of an hour.

 

Making your way back to Amangalla stop at the large terrace pavilion for a restful breakfast full of local tastes and activities happening on the street below.

 

The most beautiful place for your first meal the tiles are aglow in the morning sun.

The most beautiful place for your first meal the tiles are aglow in the morning sun.

 

 

Begin your day with a traditional Sinhalese breakfast of String Hopper noodles.  String Hoppers are delicate noodles steamed and served in nests with dahl, coconut sambol and egg curry.  Partner it with sweet juice from a King Coconut and you are all set.

 

 

Spring Hopper noodles

String Hopper noodles

 

 

Spicy Coconut Sambol

Spicy Coconut Sambol

 

 

Mixed with dahl and curry.

Mixed with dahl and curry.

 

There is no denying it is very hot in Galle!  If you want to do any shopping start out by 9:00 am when the stores open to beat the intense mid-day heat.

 

Sri Lanka is known for many things but semiprecious stones: Moonstone specifically; brilliant sapphires; gossamer lace; ebony and tea top the long list.

 

As you head out from the Amangalla you might encounter locals demonstrating how lace is made and stones such as Amethyst and Moonstone are polished.

 

Lace making.  In the picture it is hard to see how her hands are flying.

Lace making. In the picture it is hard to see how her hands are flying.

 

 

Man polishes semi precious stones

Man polishes semi precious stones

 

 

Moonstone and other semi precious stones are ubiquitous in Sri Lanka.

Moonstone and other semi precious stones are ubiquitous in Sri Lanka.

 

 

Just steps away from the hotel is Exotic Roots a store that sells all variations in semi precious stones.  You can purchase look-a-like bracelets and necklaces to designs made by jewelers such as Chan Luu (whom we love) for less than $20.00.

 

Semi Precious stone cuff bracelets and necklaces are abundant and cheap.

Semi Precious stone cuff bracelets and necklaces are abundant and cheap.

 

 

Exotic Roots also offers handmade soaps in every imaginable scent and modern styled sarongs in iridescent overlapping silk fabrics.

 

Exotic Roots storefront at 32 Church Street.

Exotic Roots storefront at 32 Church Street.

 

 

 

 

Handmade soaps are worth it at an exchange rate of $126 Sri Lankan rupees to the dollar.

Handmade soaps are worth it at an exchange rate of $126 Sri Lankan rupees to the dollar.

 

 

Sarong

 

 

A few steps further, also on Church street you will find Barefoot filled with colorful fabrics, handicrafts, art and soft toys.   If you have children in your bunch, or children to shop for, this is your place!

 

During this season, Barefoot also offers a wide variety of Sri Lankan Christmas décor

During this season, Barefoot also offers a wide variety of Sri Lankan Christmas décor

 

 

Some colorful options children will love.

Some colorful options children will love.

 

 

Off of Church Street there are many lanes to turn into and local vendors will be walking around selling lace. They do have an eye for modern styles and many of the dresses have the lacy midriff that we just saw popularized by major fashion houses this spring.  Of course these creations in Galle cost under $20.00.

 

 

White lace and cotton dress.

White lace and cotton dress.

 

 

White lace blouse, perfect to pair with jeans.

White lace blouse, perfect to pair with jeans.

 

 

If you have just arrived in Galle you might want to head back now for a quick nap and after a breakfast of Spring Hoppers skipping lunch (with tea to look forward to) is not a problem.

 

Back at the Amangalla hang up your uniquely beautiful “Do Not Disturb Sign,” snack on their homemade coconut biscuits and salty spicy Muruku and take a rest on any of the gorgeous day beds in your room.

 

 

The most elegant "Do Not Disturb" sign that we have encountered to date!

The most elegant “Do Not Disturb” sign that we have encountered to date!

 

 

Savory Muruku bites are addictive and luckily replenished daily.

Savory Muruku bites are addictive and luckily replenished daily.

 

 

If you are a bit jet-lagged you will probably wake just in time for tea at the Amangalla with their finest Ceylon tea and buttery scones served alongside homemade cream and famed strawberry jam.  There is nowhere better to enjoy high tea than on the carved lounge chairs of this property housed in a 400 year-old Colonial building.  The Amangalla is the only Victorian Hotel that has survived in the area and was originally the Oriental Hotel.

 

Ceylon tea with scones and strawberry jam.

Ceylon tea with scones and strawberry jam.

 

The Zaal is the perfect place to take afternoon tea.

The Zaal is the perfect place to take afternoon tea.

 

 

The Zaal or “Great Hall” as it was known in Dutch Times is the Aman’s lounge, living room and bar all rolled into one.  Off of the Zaal is the Verandah and either are the ideal place for tea.

 

After tea plan your next days adventure by reading about Galle Fort and the surrounding area at the local library down the road. Built in the late 1800s it is definitely worth the trip and will help you make a determination of what to see tomorrow.  From there you can head to the sea and be part of the early evening local “passiagata.”

 

 

The town library is steps away from the Amangalla.

The town library is steps away from the Amangalla.

 

Galle library has a large selection of vintage children's books.

Galle library has a large selection of vintage children’s books.

 

 

This is also a great place to work if you need to catch-up with anything.

This is also a great place to work if you need to catch-up with anything.

 

 

Cap off your day with a traditional Sinhalese dinner of ‘Curry and Rice’ prepared by the Amangalla chef so that you can sample more than five local specialties and determine your favorite.

Steamed Basmati and Red Rice is offered alongside:

Chicken Badum

Tuna in Red Curry

Snake Gourd Mustard Curry

Lotus Root Dry Curry

Pumpkin Black Curry

Plantain Flower Curry (if you are searching for something mild try this first)

Beetroot Curry (delicious and palate refreshing)

Carrot Sambol, Chutneys, Papadum

 

All of the curries are served in tiny tasting bowls.

All of the curries are served in tiny tasting bowls.

 

 

 

Up close, from left:  Snake Gourd Mustard Curry, Pumpkin Black Curry, Beetroot Curry and Lotus Root Dry Curry.

Up close, from left: Snake Gourd Mustard Curry, Pumpkin Black Curry, Beetroot Curry and Lotus Root Dry Curry.

 

 

Upon returning for the night enjoy the complimentary turn-down gifts the Amangalla provides all made by local artisans using local resources with a brief history card and details.

 

Bookmark made from lontar an ancient form of paper penciled with Sinhalese script.

Bookmark made from lontar an ancient form of paper penciled with Sinhalese script.

 

 

Handmade wooden tuk tuks are placed on daybeds and in cribs for little guests.

Handmade wooden tuk tuks are placed on daybeds and in cribs for little guests.

 

 

Suba Raat-riyak (Good Night)!

 

 

Revisiting a Los Angeles Favorite—Campanile’s Spaghetti & Meatballs

  • 13th December 2013

The renowned restaurant may have sadly closed its doors, but the holidays are the perfect time to revisit this classic Italian Christmas season dish…given special hidden touches by chef Mark Peel.  The meatballs are especially soft thanks to chunks of bread, and popping with flavor courtesy of cracked fennel, dry white wine and diced mushrooms.

 

 

Campanile's Spaghetti and Meatballs in Red Sauce

Photo Courtesy of: Sunset.com and Myrecipes.com

 

 

If you are looking for a crowd-pleasing holiday meal that can be made ahead, this is one to flag!

This delicious recipe comes to us by way of Sunset.com and Myrecipes.com

 

 

 

Sauce and meatballs in the pot simmering.

Red sauce & meatballs simmering in the pot.

 

 

 

Cracked Fennel in Mortar and Pestle

Crack the fennel in a mortar and pestle.

 

 

Ingredients:

Sauce

  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 large garlic cloves, halved and thinly sliced
  • 3 cans (28 oz. each) diced tomatoes (we prefer crushed tomatoes from San Marzano)
  • About 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • About 3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 large fresh basil sprigs, plus 1/2 cup leaves
  • WE ADD—one box of baby spinach leaves and this dish easily becomes a complete meal.  The spinach cooks down and just blends right in with the basil…..even your littlest and fussiest eaters will never know.  

 

Meatballs

  • About 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 ounces white or cremini mushrooms, chopped  (we prefer these diced small)
  • 2 teaspoons cracked fennel seeds (you can use a mortar and pestle or a coffee grinder)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • About 2/3 cup cold dry white wine, divided
  • 4 ounces country bread such as pain au levain, crusts removed, cut into 1-in. cubes
  • 3 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
  • 3/4 pound cold ground pork
  • 3/4 pound cold ground turkey (dark meat is more flavorful, but you can substitute breast, or ground chicken)
  • 3/4 pound cold ground beef chuck
  • 2 tablespoons flour  (this is optional…the meatballs are delicious even without this step)

 

Spaghetti

  • 1 1/2 pounds spaghetti
  • About 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese  (optional)

 

Preparation:

 

1. Make sauce: In a 5- to 6-qt. pan, cook oil and garlic over medium-low heat until garlic softens, 5 to 6 minutes. Add tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Cover, bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, until thick, 45 minutes to 1 hour. If needed, crush tomatoes with a spoon to break up. Stir in basil sprigs. Turn off heat; keep warm.

 

 

Mushrooms and garlic getting diced and crushed.

 

 

2. Meanwhile, make meatballs: Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add mushrooms, fennel, salt, and pepper. Cook until mushrooms are tender, 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup wine and the bread until liquid is absorbed.

 

3. Transfer mixture to a food processor and pulse to finely chop. Scrape into bowl of a stand mixer and let cool. Add parsley, meats, and 1/3 cup wine and beat on low speed until well blended, 1 to 2 minutes.

 

The meatball mixture ready to shape.

The meatball mixture ready to shape.

 

 

4. Using wet hands, shape meat into 1 1/2-in. balls. Heat 2 large frying pans over medium heat with 1 tbsp. oil each. Brown about a third of meatballs in each pan, turning once and adding oil if needed, 6 to 8 minutes per batch. With a slotted spatula, transfer meatballs to a platter. Repeat with remaining meatballs and oil.

 

Campanile meatballs frying.

Meatballs frying.

 

 

5. Scrape all the drippings into 1 pan. Whisk in flour, then cook over medium heat until bubbling, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in 2 cups sauce to loosen browned bits. Scrape into pan with rest of sauce and stir.

 

 

6. Return sauce to a simmer. Gently stir in meatballs; simmer, covered, until flavors are blended, about 20 minutes. Discard basil sprigs. Cut remaining basil leaves into fine slivers and stir into sauce. Meanwhile, cook spaghetti as package directs.

 

7. Drain pasta and transfer to a large shallow bowl. Ladle all the meatballs and about half the sauce on top, and toss to coat. Serve with cheese and extra sauce.

 

 

Campanile Spaghetti and meatballs ready to eat .

Ready to eat!!