Sunday, October 25, 2009
Serious Spaghetti & Meatballs from Hawaii Chef
Hey blog readers, it’s Bob. Many of you know that Jean and I have been in Hawaii for a while, and that Jean came down with a nasty kidney infection and ended up in the hospital for a week. So, her plans for restaurant reviews and stories of cooking with our friends from Maui have been cut short. But, I haven’t been going hungry, so I thought I would fill you in on some of the meals I have enjoyed. I have to admit, looking after Jean was my first priority, so I don’t have all the great photos you have come to expect from Jean’s posts, but I will do my best.
One of Hawaii Chef’s requests when we came was for chicken meatball mix and San Marzano tomatoes from Carfagna’s in Columbus. We brought a cooler full of frozen food, including the meatball makings. The dinner I am about to describe was the reward for the transport.
For dinner one evening early in our vacation Tony made fantastic spaghetti and meatballs. Here is the secret – he started in the morning, making meatballs from the lean chicken mix, then browning them on all sides in extra virgin olive oil. Then he added slivered garlic to flavor the oil, sautéed it briefly, then started building the sauce. He added the San Marzano tomatoes, and some fresh basil, salt and pepper. Before we left for the day he added enough water to the sauce so it could simmer for six hours. That day we went to visit a winery in Ulapalakua, on the side of Haleakala, the huge dormant volcano in the middle of the island. (BTW, don’t you love the sound of those Hawaiian names? And, oh, the winery visit will be another post.)
When we got home that evening, the sauce had simmered slowly and the consistency was perfect. Tony corrected the seasoning and finished it with a splash of red wine to brighten the flavor even more. We added the pasta al dente, freshly baked garlic bread, parmigiano reggiano, and a wonderful Merlot that Tony had been saving. It was fantastic! Simple ingredients, treated with respect, by a chef worthy of the name -- wonderful!