Friday, October 31, 2014

Spaghetti and Mice - Caity

I love Halloween! This year we are renting a house (rather than an apartment) and were really looking forward to having some trick-or-treaters. We bought candy, we got mildly dressed up (even our dog, Nigel, had his Killer Whale costume on!) and we turned on all our Halloween lights aaaaaannnnd...... we had two trick-or-treaters. Just two! The night was still a good one though! We watched "Young Frankenstein" while we made ourselves a spooky dinner. 

I like to make a creepy themed foods for Halloween night. Last year, I made meatloaf in the shape of a hand. This year my inspiration came from Pinterest and was a picture of a meatball shaped as a cute little mouse! The recipe wasn't included with the picture, so I filled in the blanks.  The spaghetti and meatball recipe I used is one of my favorite recipes from the Barefoot Contessa's "Family Style" cookbook with a couple small adjustments. Then, once the meatballs were done cooking, I just added a couple extras and I had some adorable mice! Since everyday isn't Halloween and mice meatballs aren't entirely appropriate year round, I made a couple of mice meatballs and the rest regular meatballs so I could use them for work lunches. I hope you enjoy this creepy dinner and Happy Halloween! 

Serves 6

one year ago: Pumpkin Juice
three years ago: Tomato Focaccia

what you'll need:

for the meatballs
3/4 lb ground pork
3/4 lb ground beef
1-1/4 c. bread crumbs or panko
2 Tbsp freshly chopped Italian parsley
1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 c. warm water
olive oil

for the sauce and pasta
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium sized yellow onion, chopped
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 c. red wine
1-28 oz. can crushed tomatoes, or plum tomatoes in puree, chopped
1-1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1-1/2 lbs spaghetti, cooked according to package directions
freshly grated Parmesan cheese

for the mice
carrot, sliced and cut into wedges with rounded edges - for the ears
whole black peppercorns - for the eyes and nose
uncooked spaghetti - for the whiskers and tail

Place the ground meats, bread crumbs, parsley, Parmesan, salt, pepper, nutmeg, egg and 1/4 c. warm water. Combine very lightly using a fork. 

Using your hands, lightly form the mixture into a teardrop shape, pointy on one end and rounded on the other. 

Heat 2 or so Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet. Brown all sides of the meatballs, working in batches and being careful not to overcrowd skillet. Turn each meatball carefully with a spatula or fork. Each batch should take about 10 minutes total. When browned, remove the meatballs to a paper towel lined plate. 

In the same skillet, add the onion and sauté over medium heat until translucent, 5-10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the red wine and cook on high heat, scraping up all the brown bits in the pan until almost all the liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, salt, parsley, and pepper. 

Return the meatballs to the sauce, cover and simmer on the lowest heat for 25 to 30 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through. 

To make the mice, carefully remove several meatballs. Slice small slits in the top of the "head" of the mouse. Insert the wedges of carrots. Add in peppercorns for eyes and a nose. Use broken uncooked spaghetti for whiskers and a tail. 

Serve the mice and sauce hot on cooked spaghetti with grated Parmesan cheese. 

one year ago: Pumpkin Juice
three years ago: Tomato Focaccia

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