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CSA Cookoff, Farmers Market Edition: Homemade Pasta, Sauce & Meatballs (Part 1)


CSA Cookoff is tickled sugarbeet pink to welcome a guest home-cook this week, Caroline Malcolm. Caroline hit the farmers market and butcher shop last weekend with her boyfriend for a DIY Valentine’s Day dinner. Read on for details then don't miss part 2—and thanks, Caroline, for letting us tag along on your date!

Rather than brave another blizzard and fight for a coveted seat at a restaurant, we brought Valentine’s home this year and cooked a hearty feast from a haul we picked up within four blocks of our kitchen.

Except for two cans of tomatoes, all ingredients came from local farmers at our winter farmers market and from the butcher shop next door (that’s it, pictured above). The market feels more like a party than a shopping trip. There’s music, locally roasted coffee and homemade donuts, fresh catches and pasture-raised meat, and lots more goodies straight from the farm. You could make dozens of meals from what’s on offer, but we decided to divide and conquer classic pasta and meatballs, a Valentine’s dinner a la Lady and the Tramp.

My boyfriend, Mike, is renowned for his tomato sauce and meatballs. He keeps his recipe close to the vest, but he’s revealing it for the good folks of HOMEGROWN. You could modify it to your liking, but you won’t want to.

I attempted a fresh pasta with the remainder of the eggs and flour we got from our farmers, but dried would work just as well. This was a great way to spend another snowy winter Saturday—and a much better Valentine than any old box of chocolate!



MIKE’S (NOT SO) SECRET SAUCE & MEATBALLS

THE SAUCE

From the farmers market:

» 2 carrots, chopped
» 1 onion, chopped
» 6 cloves garlic, chopped

From the pantry:
» ¼ cup olive oil
» chicken stock (Make your own!)
» 2 32-oz cans of crushed fire-roasted tomatoes (Can your own next summer!)
» ½ tsp salt
» 1 tsp pepper
» 1 tsp cinnamon
» 1 Tbsp garlic powder
» 1 Tbsp dried basil



What to do:
In a Dutch oven, sauté the carrots, onion, and garlic in 2 tsp olive oil. Once the onions are translucent and the carrots soft, deglaze the pot with 1 cup chicken stock and cook 5 minutes. Give the tomatoes a whirl in the food processor until smooth then add them to the veggies. Add your spices, cook on low for as long as you can hold out (at least 2 hours), then ladle over your favorite pasta (see below).

THE MEATBALLS

From the butcher:

» 1 ½ lb mix of local, pasture-raised ground beef, pork, and veal
» 2 eggs

From the pantry:
» Olive oil
» 1 cup breadcrumbs (Make your own!)
» 1 cup Parmigiano reggiano
» 1 tsp salt
» 1 tsp pepper
» ½ tsp nutmeg
» 1 Tbsp garlic powder
» 1 Tbsp basil



What to do:
Whisk your eggs, cheese, and spices. Add the ground meat and breadcrumbs to the mix and use your hands to combine. Scoop out a small amount and gently roll it between your hands to form a meatball. Repeat. Heat the olive oil in a pan and sear a few meatballs at a time until all are browned. Add the meatballs to the sauce and cook for about 2 hours.

You’ve been reading part 1 of a very special CSA Cookoff. Don’t stop here! Continue on to part 2! CSA Cookoff is an ongoing series putting good food to good use. What did you get in your CSA this week? And how did you use it? Post a comment and share the farm share love!

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