Spanish Week – #6: Albondigas with Pasta

The Spanish eat pasta – it’s a revelation. I just love meatballs and the Spanish version are my favourites. I posted a recipe for albondigas recently but this recipe is slightly different and I served it with spaghetti tonight instead. It may be a dish you automatically associate with Italy, but this recipe uses very Spanish ingredients to give it it’s own unique flavour. Give it a try, you might just be converted.

For the meatballs:

1/2 large onion (grated and squeezed to release water)
1/2 zucchini (grated and squeezed to release water)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
500g veal mince
1 egg
1 heaped teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
1 heaped teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons fresh parsley (chopped)
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper

For the Sauce:
1/2 large onion (finely chopped)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
600g tomato passata
1 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons fresh parsley (chopped)
Slug of Fino sherry (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

To make the meatballs:

Combine all the ingredients together with your hands until well mixed. Mould into walnut sized balls and arrange on a plate.

To make the sauce:
Heat the oil over a moderate heat then gently fry the onions for 4-5 minutes until soft and golden. Add the garlic and bay leaf and fry for one further minute. Add the paprika, cumin and parsley and stir briefly. Slug in a little sherry if using, let it sizzle then pour in the tomato passata and 1/2 cup water. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Drop the meatballs into the sauce, shaking the pan to submerge them. Dont stir as it’ll break the meatballs. Leave for 10 minutes then stir carefully. Cook for a further 20 minutes adding water if it reduces too much. Remove from the heat, fish out the bay leaf and serve.

Mix the freshly cooked spaghetti with some of your sauce, adding a handful of finely grated Manchego cheese if you have any, then pop a few meatballs on top and serve straightaway.

%d bloggers like this: