that’s a spicy meat-a-ball

As of this morning, Washington, DC had gotten 45 inches of snow this winter.  How much above normal is that?

35 inches above normal.

And, the weatherman is predicting another 10-20 inches starting tomorrow afternoon. What did we do to deserve this? Well, we shipped our beacon of hope back to the commies.

How did I prepare? I made meatballs. Spicy meatballs. With bacon.  Clay and Zach over at the Bitten Word posted these guys about a week ago and I had a constant, unyielding craving for them as soon as I saw them.  So really, the 24 inches of snow was just and excuse.  It’s also a great excuse for the federal government to cancel work for three days. Take THAT you tea baggers.

“I swore I wasn’t going to do this any more!” Manfriend said, amidst the ritual foot-stomping and whimpering as the final pictures were impeding his first bite. These are a fair amount of work but really, really worth it. Spicy, succulent, and soul-satisfying.  And this recipe makes GOBS, half of which promptly went into the freezer for the next cleverly-named snow storm.  Oh wait, that’s in 12 hours.

Spaghetti and Meatballs All’Amatriciana

Bon Appétit



  • 6 ounces uncured applewood-smoked bacon (about 6 slices), diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 pounds ground beef (15% fat)
  • 2/3 cup chopped drained roasted red peppers from jar
  • 2/3 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)*
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup coarsely grated onion
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh marjoram
  • 2 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  • 2 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes in juice (preferably San Marzano)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 6 ounces uncured applewood-smoked bacon (about 6 slices), cut crosswise into thin strips
  • 1 tablespoon (or more) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups finely chopped onions
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh marjoram


  • 1 1/2 pounds spaghetti
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh marjoram
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese


For meatballs:

  • Place bacon in processor. Using on/off turns, grind to coarse paste. Transfer to large bowl. Using garlic press, squeeze in garlic. Gently mix in beef and all remaining ingredients. Let stand 15 minutes.
  • Line large rimmed baking sheet with plastic wrap. Using moistened hands and scant 2 tablespoonfuls for each, roll meat mixture into 11/2-inch meatballs. Arrange meatballs on sheet. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with plastic wrap; chill.

For sauce:

  • Puree tomatoes with juice and garlic in batches in blender until smooth.
  • Cook bacon in large pot over medium heat until crisp; transfer bacon to plate.
  • Add 1 tablespoon oil to drippings in pot and heat over medium heat. Add half of meatballs. Cook until brown on all sides, turning carefully with small metal spatula, about 9 minutes. Transfer meatballs to baking sheet. Add more oil to pot if needed and repeat with remaining meatballs.
  • Increase heat to medium-high. Add onions and crushed red pepper to pot.
  • Sauté until golden, about 6 minutes. Add wine; boil until reduced by half, stirring up browned bits, about 8 minutes. Add tomato puree and marjoram. Boil until sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Mix bacon into sauce. Add meatballs; bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until meatballs are heated through and tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Season sauce with salt and pepper.

For pasta:

  • Meanwhile, cook spaghetti in pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain; transfer to large bowl. Toss with 2 tablespoons oil and marjoram, adding more oil to moisten, if desired. Divide spaghetti among bowls. Top with meatballs and sauce. Sprinkle with cheese and serve, passing additional cheese separately.

as if another use for bacon could possibly be invented: bacon paste.

i have baby garlic cloves, so i upped the number used.

i dumped all my mis-en-place into a bowl then added the meat. take that, bon appetit.

that is half of a LARGE onion.

speed dating for food. 15 minutes for everyone to get to know each other then be forced into a hot situation.

gratuitous bacon shot for all my loyal carnivores.

my meaty army.

aforementioned hot situation.

time to get SAUCY.

boil, boil, toil and trouble.

foot-stomping good.

after a few bites in his belly, manfriend is much more happy to aid in the food styling.

Snowpocalypse….Snowmageddon…names in the running for the next one include Snowmageddon II (lame), Snoverkill, Snowzilla, Snowfecta.  You can vote on the name here. Whatever you call it, I hope everyone is warm, cozy, and surrounded by good friends and food. 🙂


2 responses

  1. I’d love nothing more than to buy a place on H St and serve meatball sandwiches and stromboli all day. All beef is the way to go! Leave the veal/pork/beef composites for the uninformed. Also a big advocate of cooking them on the stove rather than in the oven. More work, but worth it.

    And I vote for The Daily Show’s “Unusually Large Snow Storm.”

  2. Pingback: the whole enchilada « does that make sense?

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