Saturday, April 2, 2011

Homemade Spinach Pasta and Meatballs

Vernazza - Cinque Terra
I was looking through some old pictures on my computer of when I went backpacking in Europe for 6 weeks.  It was one of the best times of my life, opening my eyes to the world and catching the "travel bug".  I didn't want to stop traveling but I kind of had to because I was running out of money.  But on that trip I learned and experienced so much and met a bunch of new friends.  There is so much of the world I want to see.  One of countries I thoroughly enjoyed was Italy.  The food was amazing and the wine was cheap which just kept on flowing!  I ate gelato 2-3 times a day it was that good, if you've had any you'll know what I'm talking about.  Unfortunately while I was there I didn't take any pictures of the food because I wasn't as into cooking/food as I am now.  But when I go back it will be a whole different experience, mostly about food and wine along with practicing my Italian. 
When I was in Florence I had a nice dinner of spaghetti and meatballs accompanied with wine of course, which is what inspired me to write this post.  I don't know why I haven't tried making meatballs before. They are cheap and delicious so you can't go wrong.  I know it may not
View from St Peter's Basilica
be the healthiest (unless you buy lean meat) but hey, it's worth it.  Just to warn you I did not measure any of these ingredients out, just put a little bit of this and a little bit of that.  However I believe the ingredient list is very close.  They came out great.  Feel free to be creative.

Homemade Spinach Pasta and Meatballs
1lb minced beef (ground beef, I just got used to calling it that since living in the England)
1/2 cup of bread crumbs
2 garlic cloves minced
1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped
1 tbsp dried oregano (fresh if you have it)
1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp of goats cheese (optional) 
1 egg
1 tsp sugar

Trevi Fountain - Roma
400 mL passata
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp sugar
1 bay leaf

250g pasta flour
3 eggs
200 g spinach

In a large sauce pan cook the spinach and transfer to a plate.  Once it has cooled down, give it a couple of good squeezes to get all the water out.  Finely chop and set aside.  To make the pasta you can revisit this post.  The only difference is you will need to add the spinach in with the eggs.  If the pasta seems to wet then add a small amount of flour.

On to the meat balls - Place the minced beef, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, oregano, egg, sugar, and Parmesan cheese in a bowl and season with S+P.  Mix with your hands until all the ingredients are fully incorporated.  Now give a taste and adjust seasoning.....just kidding, unless you like the taste of raw meat.  Take a pinch of the mixture and roll it into a ball a little bigger than a ping pong ball and set them aside.  You can make them as big or as small as you want.  After rolling about half of them I then added the goats cheese and rolled the rest.

Heat some olive oil in a large sauce pan and then toss in the meat balls.  Brown on all sides.  Add in the ingredients for the sauce, give a stir and cover.  Turn the heat to medium/low and simmer for 15-20 minutes. 
Serve over pasta and top with a little Parmesan cheese. 


  1. Homemade pasta rocks! And yours even with spinach ;-)) LOoks so good with saucy meatballs and Parmesan!

  2. Italy is one of my favourite destinations. When I was there, I couldn't stop snacking, pizza, bread, gelato of course. My favourite is pistachio or hazelnut. yum.
    I love home-made pasta and yours looks great with the meatballs.

  3. Such beautiful photos you're sharing with us. I've been to all these places, while living in Italy some twenty years ago, for a few years. Not losing touch with relatives and visiting every couple years.
    Your meatballs and spinach pasta looks delicious, and inviting, all we need is a nice glass of full bodied homemade red wine, and a piece of crusty Italian bread.
    ...and Buon Appetito:D

  4. I love spinach pasta - how impressive that you made your own! Your meatballs sound almost like mine. This is utterly and completely delicious! Great pics too!

  5. Spinach pasta is always a hit with my family. Your entire meal looks wonderful. I also wanted you to know I understand that demon travel bug. Be foreward it does not go away :-). I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  6. what an awesome blog! I absolutely love it and can`t wait to see more posts in the future! :)

    have a great time,

  7. ah, vernazza :) love the pictures! i must say i haven't made traditional meatballs either... i feel like i want a friend's mom's recipe as those are the best in my memory :)