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Cheap Monday Supper: Meatballs in Florentine Sauce


Today's offering is inexpensive but good and even fancy enough to feed guests. Meatballs in Florentine Sauce--a recipe I've posted before but is delicious enough to post again--are simply meatballs in red gravy (i.e., sauce) with spinach mixed into it. The recipe is simple to prepare, but it tastes quite good--hence the froufrou name. The meatballs are soft and flavored with herbs and Parmesan cheese, and the simple sauce is far better tasting and more nutritious than the jarred variety. The saucy meatballs are great with polenta and zucchini noodles (zoodles), as well as pasta. And, yes, you can make the meatballs with low-fat ground turkey rather than ground beef. Using the ground turkey will yield meatballs that are slightly denser, taste somewhat lighter, and produce a sauce that's a bit less rich than the ground beef. The photos actually show the meatballs made with turkey, so you'll know the turkey meatballs aren't too weird. Oh, and if you'd like to try the popovers shown in the bottom photo, stay tuned. The recipe is coming!

Meatballs in Florentine Sauce – Serves 6+

16-20 ounces of lean ground beef (93 percent lean)

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/4 teaspoon of pepper

1 tablespoon of dried parsley flakes

1 1/2-2 cups of stale bread crumbs (about 3 slices, crumbled, preferably whole

grain)

1/4 cup of low-fat milk

1 teaspoon of garlic powder

1 tablespoon of dried Italian herbs

2-3 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese (from the round green canister is

fine)

1-2 teaspoons of minced dried onions

Mix all the ingredients well and let the mixture sit for at least 10 minutes. If you can chill the meatball mix in the refrigerator for an hour (or longer/all day is fine), the meatballs will be easier to form and taste better. Stir the mixture again and roll pieces of the mixture gently in your hands to form little meatballs, slightly smaller than golf balls. Try not to compress the meatballs too much. Drop the meatballs into the simmering sauce (recipe below), bring the sauce back to a boil, partially cover the pan, and let everything cook at least 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are done. Stir in the frozen spinach and bring the mixture back to a simmer. Cook the sauce just until the spinach is thawed and still bright green (just a few minutes--don't overcook the spinach). If you'd prefer to use fresh spinach (4-6 good handfuls should do it), please do so. Just stir the fresh spinach into the sauce until the spinach wilts down, and then serve the meatballs with the sauce.

Florentine (Red Spinach) Sauce

1 teaspoon of olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/4 teaspoon of pepper

1 teaspoon of dried basil

1 1/2 cups of red wine (the cheap stuff is fine)

8 ounces of frozen spinach (1/2 of a 16-ounce package)

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or large chef's pan. Add the onion sauté it until it softens a bit, about 5 minutes. Turn down the heat, add the tomatoes, salt, pepper, sugar, and wine and let the mixture simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or large chef’s pan. Add the onion and sauté it until it softens a bit, about 5 minutes. Turn down the heat, add the tomatoes, salt, pepper, sugar, and vinegar and let the mixture simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.

#maindish #beef #turkey #pasta

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