Remember my musings on loss and sadness last week and how I assuaged them by braising meat? First of all, sorry about the whining. I swear I am fine and thank you so for letting me exorcise demons on the page. I was touched by how many reached out to me. Once again, food, family, friend proved to be my all-healing holy trinity. The brasato was every bite as soothing as needed for my passing blues. Its powers, heightened by sharing its consumption, kept on gifting in different guises as I re-purposed it into a pasta sauce first and then into meatballs.
Those who come to my classes know that one of my favorite things to do in the kitchen is re-purpose leftovers. I have actually taught 2 series of classes at 18 Reasons on the subject.
Until another leftover class makes it on the docket, I am sharing the two dishes that gave my brasato a second and a third life.
for 4 to 6 people 1 small yellow onion 1/2 tablespoon lard or olive oil 1 teaspoon grated orange zest 6 slices brasato 1/2 cup dry marsala (or sherry or madera) 1/2 cup pureed vegetable sauce from brasato 1 pound box of rigatoni (or other short ribbed pasta of your choice) grated pecorino (optional)
Slice the onion thinly and soften it in the lard heated in a skillet, with the zest and a generous pinch of salt. Continue cooking over medium low heat until the onion starts turning beige, adding a bit of water if necessary.
In the meantime dice the brasato slices quite small and add to the colored onions. Turn up the heat and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Deglaze with the marsala.
When the smell of the wine has gone from pungent to sweet, add the pureed sauce and simmer everything for about 10 minutes to reduce and thicken.
In the meantime, cook the pasta in a generous pot of salted boiling water until very al dente. Strain it with a colander and transfer it into the skillet. Finish cooking it in the brasato sauce adding 2 to 3 spoonfuls of cooking water and a splash of olive oil for sheen.
Serve hot with the grated pecorino on the side.
Polpette di brasato Brasato meatballs
for 6 to 8 people 2 slices day old bread milk for soaking the bread 1/2 pound leftover brasato 2 slices prosciutto 1/4 pound ground veal 1/4 pound ground pork 1 small handful parsley leaves 1 egg + 1 yolk 1 tablespoons grated parmigiano grated zest of half lemon nutmeg to taste salt and pepper to taste 1/2 yellow onion 1 carrot 1 celery stalk 2 tablespoons lard or olive oil splash white wine 2 tablespoons tomato concentrate
Soak the bread in milk until soft. Squeeze it lightly and place it in a food processor bowl. Add the brasato and prosciutto slices. Process until ground finely but not into a paste. Transfer to a bowl.
Pick and mince the parsley.
Add the ground meats, egg, yolk, parmigiano, parsley and zest. Season to taste with nutmeg salt and pepper. Mix all ingredients together well with your hands.
Wet your palms and roll round meatballs of about 2" in diameter. Set aside on a plate.
Slice the onions, carrot and celery thinly.
Heat half the lard in a sauté pan and brown the meatballs in it, in batches if necessary to keep them from overcrowding the pan. Transfer to a platter.
Add the rest of the lard to the sauté pan and soften the sliced vegetables in it for about 10 minutes over medium heat and with a generous pinch of salt.
Place the browned meatballs back in the pan and turn up the heat.
After approximately 2 minutes, deglaze with the wine. When the smell of the wine has gone from pungent to sweet, add the tomato concentrate and about 1 cup of hot water. Bring to a simmer and turn the heat down to medium low.
Cover the meatballs and braise them slowly for 20 to 25 minutes, adding small amounts of water if necessary. Keep in mind that the liquid should come to no more than 1/3 of the way up the meatballs.
The sauce will darken and thicken while the meatballs cook.
Transfer to a platter and douse with the cooking sauce. Serve hot with a salad and some crusty bread.