Jessica makes spaghetti and mini meatballs from Scott Conant’s new cookbook ‘Peace, Love, and Pasta’

California Cooking

Jessica is a huge fan of the Food Network, and she recently had a chance to chat with celebrity chef Scott Conant, who is a staple on the channel.

The two talked about how he got into cooking, his first love (baseball) and, of course, his new cookbook.

Jessica says the recipes in “Peace, Love, and Pasta” are authentic, but accessible to the home cook.

After their chat, Jessica made Scott’s rendition of the classic spaghetti and meatballs.

Follow the recipe below, and watch how Jessica makes a half version of the recipe at home.

This segment aired on California Cooking with Jessica Holmes Episode 109.

Maccheroni with Polpettine and Neapolitan Tomato Sauce, courtesy of Scott Conant, serves 6

Ingredients for the Neapolitan Tomato Sauce, makes 5 to 6 cups

  • 8 ounces of beef chuck, cut in 2-inch pieces
  • ½ medium white onion, sliced into half-moons
  • 1 clove of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of dried oregano
  • 10 plum or Roma tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 (15-ounce/430 g) can of puréed tomatoes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 fresh basil leaves

Instructions

  1. Put the chuck beef, onion, garlic, celery, crushed red pepper and oregano in a large Dutch oven over medium heat, and roast uncovered until the meat is browned, 6 or 7 minutes. Add the plum tomatoes and cook for an additional 30 minutes, stirring occasionally so the sauce does not burn on the bottom of the pot. Add the canned tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste and cook for another hour, stirring occasionally. Stir in the basil and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and purée the sauce using either a food mill or a food processor, and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, or store in the refrigerator until ready to use. (The sauce can hold in the refrigerator for about a week, or up to one month if frozen in an airtight container.)

Ingredients for polpettine, makes about 120 meatballs

  • 2 pounds of prime beef chuck, ground
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 slices of white bread, soaked in milk for 10 minutes, squeezed, and chopped (about ¾ cup)
  • 1/3 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped garlic
  • 3 tablespoons of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 2 large eggs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Put the ground chuck, parsley, soaked white bread, ricotta, garlic, Parmigiano, oregano and eggs in a large bowl and mix well with a wooden spoon, or with your hands using food-safe gloves. Season with salt and pepper. (You can also test cook a small patty to taste for seasoning and adjust from that.)
  2. Scoop out a small amount of meatball mixture and roll into small balls, about the size of the tip of your thumb. Store on parchment-lined baking sheets in the refrigerator until chilled all the way through (about 1 hour), then cook according to the directions at right.

For serving

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 recipe Maccheroni
  • 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 recipe of uncooked polpettine
  • 1 recipe Neapolitan tomato sauce
  • ¾ cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. (The water should have the salinity of broth.)
  2. While you wait for the water to boil, in a large pan, warm 3 tablespoons of the butter and 3 tablespoons of the oil, then add the polpettine in a single layer and sauté them until warmed through and browned. Spoon the polpettine into a separate 6- to 8-inch-deep pan (you can use the pan that the tomato sauce was cooked in, if large enough), add the sauce, and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the pasta to the pan and cook until just shy of al dente (about 75 percent done), about 3 minutes. Remove and reserve at least 1 cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta. (Do not rinse it.)
  4. Increase the heat under the sauce to medium-high, then add the pasta to the pan along with some of the pasta cooking water, a few tablespoons at a time. Stir to completely coat the pasta with the sauce; when you shake the pan, the sauce and pasta should move together.
  5. Remove from heat, add the cheese, the remaining 3 tablespoons butter and 3 tablespoons olive oil, and toss until fully incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

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