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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Spectacular Spaghetti & Meatballs from the “Feed Our Small World” cookbook

I was blessed to receive a care package in the mail recently from my best friend who was lucky enough to attend the recent D23 Expo in Anaheim.  One of the goodies enclosed was a new Disney cookbook, hot off the presses.  Does she know me or what?!

“Feed Our Small World” is designed as a cookbook for kids to use with their parents, and it is filled with beautiful photographs and bright, colorful illustrations.  The directions are clear and simply written, and my boys have enjoyed looking through it and picking out what they want to try in the coming weeks.  The unanimous vote for our first meal, however, was Spectacular Spaghetti and Meatballs!

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 cup crumbled Italian bread1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup water1 ½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ pounds ground beeffreshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 eggs2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese2 (28oz) jars tomato sauce
1 ½ teaspoons finely chopped garlic1 pound spaghetti

Leslie’s notes:  I will always tell you when I vary from a recipe or find short cuts that save you time without sacrificing quality.  I had a tub of pre-grated Parmesan cheese in the fridge from another recipe that I used rather than grate my own for this recipe.  I’m not talking about the stuff in the green shaker can, mind you, but another brand that was very high quality.  It turned out fine.  Where I do not recommend you cut corners is on your garlic.  The stuff that comes pre-chopped in a jar of olive oil is just not as good as fresh, and it only takes a minute, especially if you have a garlic press to do the work for you!  Also, fresh parsley really does make a big impact in this recipe, and it’s cheap.  Don’t skip it!

1.  In a small bowl, soak the bread in the water.  Then gently squeeze the bread and discard the excess water.

2.  Transfer the moistened bread to a large bowl, tearing it up into small pieces.  Add the ground beef, eggs, cheese, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper.  Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until it is well combined, then shape it into 2-inch balls.  (I got 10 out of this recipe - they’re big!)

3.  Ask an adult to help you heat the oil in a large, deep saucepan over medium heat.  Cook the meatballs in batches, turning them with tongs, until they are nicely browned.  This takes about 10 minutes. The meatballs will finish cooking in the sauce.

4.  Heat the tomato sauce in a large saucepan, until it begins to simmer.  Add the meatballs and let them simmer in the sauce, turning them occasionally (and gently!), until they are cooked through, about 10-15 minutes.

5.  Cook and drain the spaghetti.  Spoon some of the sauce into a large warmed serving bowl.  Add the spaghetti, and toss well to keep it from sticking together. Serve the spaghetti with the meatballs and additional sauce.  

We really, really loved this recipe, it was hit with everyone.  The meatballs are huge (1 per child is plenty) and so tender.  When you cut them open, the cheese is a tad gooey, and the fresh parsley really gives a nice note.  

Finally, I want to recommend this book as a great addition to your Disney cookbook library (you do have a Disney cookbook library, don’t you??)  Having read through it, I expect it will become a firm favorite in our house, but more than that, it supports a wonderful organization called FEED, and a donation in support of this book has been made to FEED to provide Vitamin A supplements for a year to 450,000 children who need it for healthy development.

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