Foodie Friday – Linguini and Meatballs

Linguini and Köfte with Tahini Sauce (10 June 2001)

The first time I made this dish I used ground lamb and beef. Carolyn wisely suggested I try poultry instead – it is a much better choice because the beef and spicing buried the flavour of the lamb, while with poultry, it is a wonderful balance of flavours. An alternative would be to use a mixture of beef and pork.

Köfte

1/3 pound ground lamb
1/3 pound ground turkey or chicken
1 medium yellow onion, minced
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground peppercorns
1/3 teaspoon chile morita powder
1 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons dried mint leaves, crushed finely (they come from the garden here)
1 egg
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Mix the above ingredients thoroughly, taking your time to ensure they are completely mixed. Let marinate, covered, for a couple of hours. Mix once more to be comfortable.

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350° F. and heat the oil in a 12-inch sauté pan. Form the meat mixture into 3/4-inch meatballs, cooking in the olive oil in a single layer with plenty of room between each meatball until cooked through, turning once. Fold two paper towels together and place in the warmed oven, ensuring the heat is now off. When the first batch of meatballs are cooked, put ‘em on the plate in the oven to drain.

Do the same thing two to four times again until the mixture is gone.

Tahini Sauce

1 small red onion or 2 or 3 shallots, halved and sliced thinly
1 tablespoon ground cumin
Fresh-ground peppercorns to taste
1/3 to 1/2 cup tahini (sesame paste, not roasted)
Juice of two lemons
Water to thin
Salt to taste

Mix the onions, cumin, and pepper in a bowl that will hold the ultimate product.

In a separate bowl, whisk the tahini and lemon juice together until becoming a smooth paste (takes a few minutes). Add water until you are comfortable with the texture of the sauce. Add the onion and spice mixture, whisking together thoroughly, then add salt to taste, whisking some more. Give it a little taste to ensure the seasoning is correct.

Presentation

You need to prepare 1/2 pound of fresh homemade linguini for this recipe. When it is cooked, drain it well, add it back to the cooking pot and put all of the tahini sauce into the pot, stirring the linguini and sauce together to coat. Add the warm meatballs, and toss once more, covering the pot for a couple of minutes to ensure everything stays hot.

Serve immediately with a green salad.

Richard Jehn

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