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I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Meatballs with Nidi Capellini

 Pasta is a fun addition to any dish.  It is available in so many shapes, texture, sizes and now colours.  While a large portion of pastas are wheat based with high quality pastas using durum wheat semolina, rice based pastas are also available.  Various colours are derive from the addition of spinach (green), tomato (orangish red), whole wheat (brown), buckwheat (brown) and beets (purplish red).  Low-carb pastas are available as well although they have a bad reputation for poor taste. 

nidi capellini - angel hair nests
Pastas should be cooked to al dente meaning with bite.   When you bite into a piece of cooked pasta there should be a slight resistance.  In general thinner pastas cook faster.  Angel hair pasta is a long, very thin pasta with a short cook time.  It is available in strands or formed into angel hair nests (nidi capellini).  The nests are dropped into boiling salted water.  A gentle stir may be needed but avoid if possible so the nests keep their shape.  Once the nidi capellini is cooked, carefully remove it from the pot using a wide slotted spoon.  Allow to drain on the spoon then place on a plate or in a bowl to add the toppings for serving.

meatballs with nidi capellini
The inspiration for this delicious soup came from the picture on the cover of Food & Drink (Winter 2010).  The pasta looked like angel hair nests in a beef broth topped with chopped tomatoes and green onions.  I started about my creation without looking at the recipe until I started to write the blog post.  My dish was quite a bit different in that I didn't use soba noodles or mirin.  Rather I used angel hair nests and added homemade meatballs and sliced mushrooms.  The end result was quite delicious!  I thought the dish had nice eye appeal served in shallow bowls to show off the nidi capellini.

Meatballs with Nidi Capellini

6 c homemade beef stock
1 c homemade tomato stock
1½ lb lean ground beef
¼ c milk
½ tsp garlic pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
½ lb sliced white mushrooms
½ tsp browning
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
salt & pepper to taste
2 nidi capellini per person
2 green onions
3 - 4 chopped home canned (or store bought) whole tomatoes

Mix garlic pepper into ground beef then pour in milk and mix well.  Form into 1 - inch diameter meatballs.  Heat olive oil in fry pan then add meatballs.  Cook until well browned.  Use a slotted spoon to remove the meatballs to slow cooker.  Add butter to reserve liquid in fry pan and add mushrooms.  Cook until caramelized.  Pour mushrooms over meatballs.  Pour in stocks then add browning, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaf.  Turn slow cooker to high and cook for 2 hours.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cook nidi capellini to al dente in boiling salted water.  Remove nidi capellini with wide slotted spoon allowing it to drain in the spoon.  Place two nidi capellini per person in shallow soup bowl.  Spoon about 2 tbsp chopped tomatoes over the nidi capellini.  Ladle soup mixture over the pasta and tomatoes.  Garnish with thinly sliced green onions.

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