Yes, the theme of this post is "round." Round, as in the shape of the little tiny meatballs I made for dinner. Round, as in the circumference of each strand of spaghetti. Round, as in the shape the tomatoes were before they were pounded into submission. Round, as in the shape of my distended belly after I ate a gigantic bowl of the stuff.
Here is how it went down: my friend, Mr. X, organized the purchase of a side of grass-fed beef, and invited me to participate. The dividing up took place over the weekend, but as I was otherwise occupied drinking too much and eating foie gras bread pudding with Meg and Pam, I had to pick mine up from Mrs. X last night. And what a haul -- all the meat that's fit to eat, all delicious and nicely wrapped for the freezer, about 40 pounds of it. One pack of hamburger started to thaw on the way home, so I set that aside to eat today. At first I thought I'd make just a Nice Juicy Hamburger (as my mother would say, when she was trying to sell us the concept of going out for a nice simple dinner on the nights she'd worked and didn't feel like cooking when she got home). But as we were out of buns, ketchup, tomatoes, onions, and probably a million other things, I decided to do meatballs and spaghetti.
These are good -- they're based on Nigella Lawson's recipe. Of course, she makes her pasta by hand, which will happen around here approximately when hell freezes over. They're a little fussier than my usual midweek cooking, but somehow I managed to get it done, even with Mr. Gateau at work late and the mini-Gateaus (Gateaux? cupcakes?) engaging in their usual chaos. I happened to have in the freezer a couple of Ziploc bags of roasted tomato puree I made last summer after I bought a ridiculous amount of tomatoes at the farmer's market, so I was able to use up one of those. There is something incredibly appealing about a bite-sized meatball, even if they are kind of a pain to make.
Delicious as these are, I've been craving sweet-and-sour meatballs of the sort this friend of my parents used to make when we'd go visit them in Philadelphia. I suspect that they won't taste quite right until I break down and use grape jelly as the sweetening agent. Stay tuned -- there is a lot of meat in my house and I intend to use it.