how to make SPICY CALABRIAN CHILI MEATBALLS in ARRABIATA sauce

Today we learn how to make spicy calabrian chili meatballs in spicy arrabiatta sauce (spicy weeday sauce). I have a method for guaranteeing juicy, tender and flavorful meatballs every time. Tune in to find out how to make the best meatballs.



SPICY WEEKDAY SAUCE (ARRABIATA)

  • 2 28 oz can Whole Peeled Plum Tomatoes, Good Quality 

  • 1/4 Cup, Calabrian Chili's, after blending (1/2 cup for extra spicy)

  • 4-5 cloves of Garlic, thinly sliced

  • Fresh Basil

  • 3 Tablespoons, Olive Oil (plus more for chilis)

  • Salt and Black Pepper


SPICY MEATBALLS:

  • 1 1/2 LBS Ground Chuck (80% Lean, 20% Fat if you can)

  • 1/4 Cup, Reserved Tomato Puree

  • 1/4 Cup, Cream (half and half is okay)

  • 2 Eggs

  • 1/2 Chopped Parsley

  • 1/2 Cup BreadCrumbs

  • 3/4 Cup Pecorino Romano Cheese

  • 3-4 cloves of Garlic, Grated on a Microplane

  • 1/4 Cup, Calabrian Chili's, after blending (1/2 cup for extra spicy)

  • Salt & Pepper


Serve with good Italian bread


DIRECTIONS:


How to Make Spicy Weekday Sauce

  1. In a blender, add roughly enough Calabrian Chilis to the blender to yield 1/2 cup of pureed chilis. Half for the meatballs, half for the sauce. Puree with a tablespoon or 2 of olive oil to help it along. If you like it extra spicy, add 1 cup of blended chilis. Set aside. 

  2. Slice the garlic thin. Puree the tomatoes in a food mill or by pulsing in a blender on low. 

  3. Get sauce on first to save time. Use a heavy bottom pan like a dutch oven and over medium heat, add the olive oil, enough to coat the bottom of the pan, then immediately add the garlic, basic, and chili's to the cold oil and slowly bring up to temperature to infused the oil with the garlic, basil and spicy chili flavor. The oil is the vehicle to transfer all that flavor to the tomatoes. Once the garlic starts to brown, then add the pureed tomatoes and a few whole Calabrian chilis. Set this up for a gentle simmer. We want the meatballs to slowly cook in the sauce.

  4. Get sauce of first to save time. Use a heavy bottom pan like a dutch oven and over medium heat, add the olive oil, enough to coat the bottom of the pan, then immediately add the garlic, basic, and chili's to the cold oil and slowly bring up to temperature to infused the oil with the garlic, basil and spicy chili flavor. The oil is the vehicle to transfer all that flavor to the tomatoes. Once the garlic starts to brown, then add the pureed tomatoes and a few whole Calabrian chilis. Set this up for a gentle simmer. We want the meatballs to slowly cook in the sauce.


How to Make Spicy Meatballs

  1. Now make the meatballs. In a big bowl, add the ground beef and next to that, in a smaller bowl add all the other ingredients. This is going to create a thick slurry. Before adding the slurry, season the meat generously with salt and pepper, then start to add the slurry a little at a time, incorporating it into the meat thoroughly. The idea is that this is going to hold and transfer moisture and intense flavor into the ground beef so they are moist and flavorful and not dry and bland. But I want to add the slurry little at a time to make sure I don’t add too much and make the texture too soft and to the point that they won’t hold their shape and may result in them falling apart in the sauce. You want to get as much of the slurry into the meat while still being able to form balls that will hold their shape. If you have extra slurry leftover, that's okay, I’d rather have some extra rather than not enough flavor. I generally use my nose to tell if the flavor is right. The meatballs should smell garlicky, herby, you should smell the salty cheese and the spicy pepper. That should tell you the meatballs will taste good.

  2. Once the meatballs are shaped, bring them over to the stove to start frying them and then get them in the sauce. To fry, use a large, wide bottom pan and add a healthy amount of olive oil and get that up to a frying temp. Then brown the meatballs as best you can over medium heat and then add them into the sauce. You can drain them first if you want so you’re not adding too much fat to the tomatoes, but that fat will flavor the sauce and it will emulsify into the tomatoes so you don’t really need to worry about it being “oily”.

  3. Cook that sauce for about at least 30 minutes and up to about 2 hours. Anything after that and the meatballs might start to fall apart. Take the meatballs and the sauce up to where you want, then you can cook and serve it with pasta, but I prefer to serve it on a big slice of toasted Italian bread that acts as a plate for the meatballs topped with parmesan cheese and fresh basil.

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