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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Greek Meatballs with Risoni

One would tend to think that we are turning a little Greek in this house at the moment.  What with Kalamaki, Tzatziki, Greek Lamb, and now the meatballs.  What can I say???  I actually had nothing to do with the choice of last night's meal.  Since the juggernaut that was MasterChef entered our lives "the Darlings" have taken to looking through the magazines with me and choosing a meal that they like the look of.  If nothing else MasterChef has really helped kids look at food differently.  I can't say that I have any up and coming MasterChef Juniors in the house, but they are thinking differently about food these days - perhaps, may I even dare to hope, willing to try a few more things!?!?

Another MasterChef inspired event was yesterday's marathon baking session.  "Precious Zumbo" decided to invent her own version of the V8 cake.  She likes to dabble a little in the kitchen (when it takes her fancy) - but this was a massive undertaking.   The result was a huge chocolate cake!!  First attempts were very admirable - but the layering possibly needed to be a little more delicate.  We were all on chocolate overload when we finished.  She is already planning the next attempt in her head - she only has 7 months to perfect it!!!

Greek Meatballs with Risoni

Serves 6

1kg mince - a combination of lamb and veal works well (you can also just use beef)
1/2 cup soft fresh breadcrumbs
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tbs lemon juice
2 medium onions, finely chopped
3 cloves crushed garlic
700g bottle tomato passata
2-3 large ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped
100g pitted kalamata olives
1/4 cup chopped oregano
100g fetta, crumbled

Risoni to serve

Combine the mince, breadcrumbs, egg, juice, half the onion, 2 cloves of garlic, and half the oregano in a large bowl.  Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Roll tablespoons of the mixture in balls.  Place on a plate.  Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in the fridge for 15 minutes.  (If you don't have time to do this it is not the end of the world - they will just be a little more delicate - so take care when frying!)

Heat a large non stick frypan over medium high heat and cook the meatballs in batches until they are browned on the outside - approximately 3-4 minutes.  Transfer to a plate

Add a small amount of olive oil to the pan and cook the remaining onion and garlic for approximately 3 minutes, or until onion softens.  Add the sauce, and chopped tomatoes and remaining oregano.  Bring to the boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer, covered for 10 minutes.  Add the meatballs and olives.  Simmer, uncovered, for 5-7 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through.

Cook risoni in boiling salted water according to packet directions.

Spoon risoni into serving bowls, top with meatballs and sauce.  Serve sprinkled with the crumbled fetta cheese.  If you have any tzatziki left - it goes well with this too!!!

This was a very easy dish to prepare - with the mammoth baking session that was going on in the kitchen yesterday afternoon I was beginning to wonder if we would be having dinner last night - but the dish came together very quickly, and very easily!!!  The kids also loved it (what kid doesn't love meatballs??)

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