When the weather changes from winter to spring, I tend to want lighter dishes. But it could be cold and grey or warm and sunny, and I’ll always want meatballs. They’re well-suited to a fancy cocktail get-together or a regular weeknight dinner. In fact, I’ve landed in Paris just today and I still want MEATBALLS! This delicious dish from Denise feeds my meatball craving while feeling light, easy and fresh. Make them now and let us know what you think! -Maggie
I cannot even begin to tell you how amazing this dish is. Crazy good flavor, as Lenny put it. Spicy. Salty. Tangy. It is making me hungry again, just thinking about it.
I have a huge love for meatballs. Unfortunately, they tend to be the “forgotten” meal around our house. For instance, I have been working on this recipe for almost a year. I have tried it with ground beef, chicken and even veal; it was good but not great. This time, I used pork and it was out of this world. Something about creamy pork fat mixed with spicy Asian ingredients that gets me every time.
We are all about texture, so I loaded up the meatballs with sesame seeds, green onions and cilantro. The sesame seeds added a great crunch to the meatballs. After lightly browning the meatballs in safflower oil (I use safflower oil as it can withstand a high heat and, as well, it has a clean taste), I let them simmer over very low heat in a zesty sauce made of soy, white wine, ginger and sriracha. As everything simmered together, the bits of pork caramelized with the soy and created an umami rich sauce, perfect served with a bowl of hot soba noodles.
Asian-Inspired Meatballs and Spaghetti
Makes 24 small meatballs
- 1 1/2 pounds ground pork
- 1/2 cup panko
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup green onions, thinly sliced
- 1 egg
- Safflower oil
- 1 package soba noodles
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- 1 – 2 teaspoons of sriracha (depends on how spicy you like it)
- In a saucepan, over low heat, add the brown sugar, white wine and soy sauce. Stir and cook just until the sugar melts; about 2 minutes. Add the ginger and sriracha; stir and continue to simmer over very low heat, for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, add all of the meatball ingredients except the safflower oil and soba noodles. Using your hands, mix well. Form the mixture into meatballs. I like them to be on the smaller size, but do whatever makes you happy.
- In a shallow frying pan, add about a 1/4 inch of safflower oil; heat until hot, about 2 minutes. Add the meatballs a few at a time. Brown each side. Remove to a paper towel. Repeat the process.
- Once all the meatballs are browned, wipe out the frying pan with a paper towel (do not rinse or wash), and put the meatball back into the pan. Pour the sauce over the top, and let simmer over very low heat for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
- Right before serving, cook the noodles according to the package direction. Drain. Toss with a teaspoon of safflower oil to prevent noodles from sticking.
- Add the meatballs to the noodles. If the sauce is a bit thin, raise the heat and cook down a bit until it is thick. Pour over the noodles, gently toss. Serve. Eat.
All photos styled and shot by Denise Woodward.
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