- 2 slices white sandwich bread (crusts discarded), torn into small cubes
- 1/2 cup buttermilk or 6 tablespoons plain yogurt thinned with 2 tablespoons whole milk
- 1 pound ground chicken mixed with ground chuck
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 small clove garlic , minced (1 teaspoon)
- 3/4 teaspoon table salt
- Ground black pepper
- Vegetable oil for pan-frying (about 1 1/4 cups)
- Smooth Tomato Sauce
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 can crushed tomatoes (28 ounce)
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil leaves , minced
- Table salt
- Ground black pepper
- 1 pound spaghetti
- Parmesan cheese fresh, grated
For the meatballs:
Combine bread and buttermilk in small bowl, mashing occasionally with fork, until smooth paste forms, about 10 minutes.
Place ground chicken, cheese, parsley, egg yolk, garlic, salt, and pepper to taste in medium bowl. Add bread-milk mixture and combine until evenly mixed. Shape 3 tablespoons of mixture into 1½-inch-round meatball. (When forming meatballs use a light touch. If you compact the meatballs too much, they can become dense and hard.) You should be able to form about 14 meatballs. After shaping meatballs place on platter, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
Pour vegetable oil into 10- or 11-inch sauté pan to depth of ¼ inch. Turn flame to medium-high. After several minutes, test oil with edge of meatball. When oil sizzles, add meatballs in single layer. Fry, turning several times, until nicely browned on all sides, about 10 minutes (see illustration below). Regulate heat as needed to keep oil sizzling but not smoking. Transfer browned meatballs to plate lined with paper towels and set aside.
Technique: Browning meatballs We found that meatballs taste best when browned evenly on all sides. Their round shape makes this a challenge. Our solution is to brown the two broader sides of the meatballs first and then use tongs to stand the meatballs on their sides. If necessary, lean the meatballs up against one another as they brown.
Bring 4 quarts water to a boil in large pot for pasta.
For the sauce, discard oil in pan, leaving behind any browned bits. Add olive oil along with garlic; sauté, scraping up any browned bits, just until garlic is golden, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, bring to boil, and simmer gently until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Stir in basil; add salt and pepper to taste. Add meatballs and simmer, turning them occasionally, until heated through, about 5 minutes. Keep warm over low flame.
Meanwhile, add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta to boiling water. Cook until al dente, drain, and return to pot. Ladle several large spoonfuls of tomato sauce (without meatballs) over spaghetti and toss until noodles are well coated. Divide pasta among individual bowls and top each with a little more tomato sauce and 2 to 3 meatballs. Serve immediately with grated cheese passed separately.
We found that they must be refrigerated for an hour before being fried to keep them from sticking to the pan or falling apart.
Serves 4 to 6