A Twist on Spaghetti & Meatballs
By Andy Ticer & Michael Hudman
A few years after we opened AMIK, we thought it’d be fun to do a take on spaghetti and meatballs. We use a semolina dough and a light, rosemary-infused marinara that really complements our pork meatballs. Drizzled with fonduta, a rich cheese sauce, we have all the flavor elements of spaghetti and meatballs, with a twist that represents our style of cooking.
Garganelli with Rosemary Sugo, Meatballs, & Fonduta
For the Marinara
- ¼ cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) olive oil
- 2 yellow onions
- 3 stalks celery
- 1 fennel bulb
- 1 large carrot
- 1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) dry red wine
- 2 cans (32 oz each) crushed tomatoes
- 1 bunch fresh basil, plus 3 basil leaves for garnish
- Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- Juice of ½ lemon
For the Fonduta
- ¼ cup (2 oz/60 g) unsalted butter
- ½ cup 2 ½ oz/75 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 qt whole milk
- 2 fresh thyme sprigs
- ½ leek, white part only, halved lengthwise
- 3 grates fresh nutmeg
- 12 oz (375 g) fontina cheese, shredded
- 6 oz (185 g) tallegio cheese, shredded
- 6 oz (185 g) Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
For the Meatballs
- 2 lb (1 kg) ground beef chuck
- ½ cup (2 oz/60 g) finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 oz (30 g) lardo (cured pork back fat), finely chopped
- ½ cup (3/4 oz/20 g) finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
- ½ tsp [4 g] chile flakes
- Finely grated zest and juice of 1 1/2 lemons
- 1 tsp [10 g] Roasted Garlic
- 4 large eggs
- Kosher salt and freshly pepper
- ½ cup dry red wine
For the Garganelli
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons semolina flour
- 1¼ cups (6½ oz/200 g) ‘00’ flour
- 4 large eggs
- ¾ cup (3½ oz/100 g) finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Make the Marinara
Grind all the vegetables in a grinder or food processor and set aside separately. In a saucepan over high heat, warm the oil. Add the onions and sauté until translucent but not brown, about 7 minutes. Add the celery and fennel and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the carrot and cook until softened, another 5 minutes. Add the wine and cook down for a few seconds. Add the tomatoes. Rinse the cans, fill halfway with water, and add to the pan. Add the basil bunch and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the sauce is full flavored, about 45 minutes. Remove the basil.
To Make the Garganelli
Put the semolina flour, ‘00’ flour, and cheese in a compact pile on a clean work surface. Make a well in the center of the mixture. Carefully crack the eggs into the well. Using a fork, gradually bring the mixture together, mixing until the dough comes together in a ball. Transfer the dough to a work surface and knead the dough until smooth, about 10 minutes. Wrap the dough in plastic and let rest for 30 minutes.
Roll the pasta dough through a standard pasta machine to the number 3 setting. Lay 1 sheet out on a lightly floured work surface and use a 1-inch (2.5-cm) square cutter to cut the dough into pieces. One at a time, turn the square so that the points are in the 12- and 6-o’clock positions. Place a pencil on the square near the left side and roll the dough around it to form a quill shape. If you have a gnocchi board, roll the outside over the board to form grooves for the sauce to catch.
Make the Meatballs
In a bowl, combine the beef, cheese, lardo, parsley, thyme, rosemary, chile flakes, lemon zest and juice, roasted garlic, and eggs and season generously with salt and pepper. Fry a small nugget of the meatball mixture until fully cooked. Taste and adjust the seasoning in the rest of the mixture. Using your hands, mix until incorporated, taking care not to overmix. Using your hands, scoop up a small portion of the meat mixture and roll it between your hands into a ball. Repeat to form balls of about the same size.
To Make the Fonduta
In a cast-iron skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. When the butter foams, quickly whisk in the flour. Switch to a wooden spoon and cook, stirring, to create a light roux, about 10 minutes.
In a saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the milk, thyme, leek, and nutmeg and bring the ingredients to a boil. Whisk in the roux and reduce the heat to medium. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until it starts to thicken, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and slowly whisk in the cheeses. When all the cheese has been added and the sauce is smooth, strain the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean saucepan and keep warm.
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, warm a large sauté pan over medium heat and add the oil. Add the meatballs and brown on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. Add the 1/2 cup of wine and stir to scrape up the browned bits. Add the marinara, bring to a simmer, and simmer until the meatballs are cooked through, about 7 minutes.
When the water comes to a boil, drop in the pasta and cook until al dente, about 5 minutes. Drain the pasta, then add to the pan with the meatballs and sauce and toss until well coated.
Divide the sauced pasta among warmed shallow bowls. Top with an equal amount of meatballs and drizzle some of the warm fonduta over the top.