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Lamb meatballs on sepia colored spaghetti

I’m sure many of you fellow foodies get occassional nagging cravings that can’t be cured by any other means than a proper cooking session with the right ingredients. In my case the problem often is that I don’t exactly know what I want. A few days ago I was once again unsatisfied with my planned meal – can’t even remember what I was supposed to cook that day – until I realized I had to have meatballs. Preferably simmered in a thick, hearty, Italian tomato sauce. Trivial, you may think, but not exactly for me. I’ve never been that big on pasta, and thus rarely have it ex the omnipresent bolognese (can you spell cafeteria food…)

I started a fierce googling session with search terms such as “best italian pasta”, “marinara sauce”, “italian meatballs” etc. I read through heaps of recipes, many of them very tempting. Unfortunately all of them called for some ingredient or two I didn’t have, and I definitely wasn’t on a mood for a shopping trip. Luckily one of the joys of cooking is improvising. I decided to use whatever I happened to have in hand… The result?

*drum roll*

Antti’s Fusion Meatballs With Sepia Colored Spaghetti

Serves 5 (540 kcal / serving)

For the meatballs:

750 g lean ground lamb
200 g Greek Feta, crumbled
a bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
2 cm fresh ginger, shredded
1/2 pkg Shan Tikka Seekh Kabab BBQ Mix

For the sauce:

1 big yellow onion
4+ cloves of garlic
4 fresh caffir lime leaves, chopped (double if dried)
1 can (any) pasta sauce with olives
1 kg crushed tomatoes
some oregano
some basil
a pinch of sugar
a bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped
a chunk of dried tamarind
some olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 175 C (350 F). Mix all the meatball ingredients well; make sure the spice mix is evenly distributed in the ground meat. Thanks again, Meena, for introducing me to the wonderful world of Shan spice mixes! Roll the meat into small balls with your hands, and set aside. Makes 30-40 meat balls.

Heat a little bit of olive oil in a pan, and saut? the onions and garlic until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Add the rest of the listed ingredients, and simmer over medium heat for 20-30 minutes.

When the sauce is ready, pour a little bit in a 10-15 cm deep baking dish. Add the meatballs and the sauce in layers until everything is in the pot covered in sauce. Cook for 45-60 minutes.

Serve on top of pasta with grated parmesan reggiano. I really liked the contrast of the black sepia colored pasta, definitely worth trying! I love everything lamb (and goat), so the meat balls were good, IMO. The pasta sauce was nice too; I especially liked the aroma of the kaffir lime leaves and the tamarind paste.

This recipe was influenced by various recipes I saw while looking for the ultimate meat ball & sauce combo. I’d be foolish to compare my resulting dish with those tried and true Italian recipes many of you know, but I enjoyed eating mine with its many tastes from around the world.

6 Responses to “Italian-Indian-Thai Fusion Lamb Meatballs With Black Spaghetti”  

  1. Pille

    I thought you were craving for beef and not just any meat, Antti! :)
    Nice exotic-sounding meatballs (kaffir lime leaves and tamarind!), although I’d pass on the black noodles (sepia isn’t good for me. Neither are mussels, octopus, shrimps, calamari etc. I have no proof, but I just know:)

  2. Antti

    Pille: I love all meaty animals alike – anything with a face goes ;) But I must confess cows have a special place in my heart and tummy. Or my waist. Hmmm.

    Because of my stupid diet I’ve tried to cut back on fatty yet delicious cuts of meat, and thus eaten way too much fish, veggies etc. Nothing wrong with that though – veggie food can be and often is super good. But nonetheless I have recurring dreams of braised beef/lamb/goat/pork shanks (especially osso bucco), and various cheap cuts of pork, very slowly braised or roasted.

    Back in the day in Boston during by Atkins period I often made pulled pork by cooking boned pork shoulders for 12 hours in a low temperature. Very, very tasty with good BBQ sauce in a sandwich, as a main course, or straight from the pot. *drools* :)

    I knew you didn’t fancy fish, but the rest of your list/confession breaks my heart!!! OK, calamari shares genes with a standard issue eraser, but mussels and octopi can be prepared to absolute perfection in both taste and texturewise. As soon as I can find a properly sized octopus in Helsinki (~1 kg), I’ll make insalata di pulpo and worship-blog about it. Meanwhile I should experiment with baby octopi and marinate them.

  3. Pille

    Antti – I do fancy fish, as long there are no bones/glazy eyes/scales on sight! Cod, halibut, salmon, trout, haddock etc fillets are all fine with me (last night’s lenten buns were preceded by seared trout fillets with dill&garlic crushed potatoes).
    Your pulled pork dish sounds heavenly.
    And I’m utterly sorry to break your heart. Didn’t mean to:)
    If persuaded, I might consider trying a scallop to start with. Maybe..

  4. Antti

    Pille, you’re such a heart breaker! I got the first crack with the loss of the white apron, now this. The next blow will probably shatter whatever I’ve got left…

  5. MM

    Calamari is not eraser! Say it with me!

    I love all seafood and find myself but I luuuurrve lamb. That is some delicious lamb meatballs! Eclectic food from all over the world … my favourite kind of cuisine.


    WOW!!! Ive never seen spaghetti look like that!! How do you make it that way??

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