17 June 2014

Farewell IKEA meatballs

If IKEA sold shares in their company via packets of frozen meatballs I would be well on my way to 50% ownership of the company.  I can't tell you how many times I have trekked to IKEA, grateful for my chest freezer at home, and come away with five bags of them (that's five kilograms' worth thank you very much) to tuck away in the freezer. 

These meatballs have made their way into many kids' dinners for evening church and have been the key ingredient in my standby recipe for when people suddenly turn up for dinner unexpectedly, for those times when a dinner of pasta just has to get its way onto the table in a big hurry or for those moments when I was too tired to cook anything else and there was no bolognese sauce left in the freezer.


...earlier this year it seemed that every second recipe I read involved skinning sausages and using the meat therein in interesting ways.  So I got to thinking, what if I exchanged the IKEA meatballs (which I admit did receive some very bad press last year, but let us not speak of such things because my family has eaten a LOT of these meatballs in the last ten years) for the contents of some Italian sausages? 


...I was recently heard to say that should a meteorite come hurtling towards the planet (I do believe I have just snitched a line from the movie Julie and Julia) and we have sufficient notice to prepare and eat one last meal, it would be this, with a ridiculously large amount of freshly grated parmesan cheese and a little cracked pepper sprinkled over the top.

My "the meteorite is coming" pasta recipe
  • Olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 or 2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
  • 1-2 teaspoons of Italian herbs
  • 4-6 Italian sausages - skinned
  • 1/2 cup of red cooking wine
  • 700gm bottle of tomato passata
  • Dried pasta - quantity and style as suits your needs
  1. Fry the diced onion, garlic and herbs in some olive oil. 
  2. Add the sausage meat and fry, breaking up the meat as you go.
  3. Add a splash of red cooking wine.
  4. Add a bottle of tomato passata and simmer.
  5. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Meanwhile cook up enough pasta for your situation.
  7. When the pasta is cooked, run it through the sauce and serve with parmesan cheese.
The quantities are not exact.  A little more or a little less of this or that works.  And should you need to take anyone to basketball training on a Tuesday afternoon from 5 - 6pm, the sauce can be made before you go.  Just cook and add the pasta when you get home.  Quick, easy and delicious.

Now, what to do with the remaining 3kg of IKEA meatballs in the freezer...


Deb said...

"Oooooooooo", says I. I think we'd like that. But I need some information. First what are "Italian sausages" as opposed to chorizo or normal butchers sausages and where would one find them? And secondly, how does one skin them? Is it tricky? The only drawback I see with this plan is the freezing of the sausages. Unlike the IKEA meatballs which are easily microwaved up and then tossed in the pasta sauce, what would you do with the sausages? Would you skin them before you froze them and work it that way?

Meredith said...

Such excellent questions.

Re the sausages - not chorizo, just a normal sausage with an Italian vibe. Some butchers sell "Italian sausages" - a pork/beef sausage with some appropriate flavourings in them. Woolworths at the moment are doing an Italian sausage line. I have been using the Woolies ones.

Skinning is easy. You just take a sharp knife and slit along the length of the sausage, kind of turn it inside out and scrape the meat out. You couldn't do that that with a frozen sausage...but you could skin the sausages and then freeze the meat successfully. I have just been buying scads of packets of sausages...in lieu of scads of meatball packets...and freezing the packs, thawing out a packet on the day I need to cook them.

A friend of mine takes the sausage meat and rolls that into meatballs - if you want the meatball vibe - but everyone here doesn't seem to mind the quasi-mince effect from just frying off and breaking up the sausage meat.

Italian herbs are just the Masterfoods Italian herbs.

Good luck. Let me know what you think. Hope you are well and will make it across the end of term finish line well.

Deb said...

Well, we tried it last night. Two of the tribe loved it and the other child did not. I think it might have been the quality of the sausages I used. I searched the shelves but my local Woolies didn't seem to have the right ones. Still the recipe is gorgeously easy to prepare. I think I put too much red wine in as well. I'll have to tinker with it. :)

Meredith said...

Two out of three is pretty good odds. I hope you can find the sausages...in Woolies they have a black label with gold writing. Otherwise I guess pork sausages and more herbs and garlic... As for our household...we had this pasta with IKEA meatballs last night!!!! Too funny.

Deb said...

Went to IKEA today. Thought of you. ;)

Meredith said...

Awwwwww...sweet. Bless ya!
Did you buy some meatballs? Or some daims or napkins or tealight candles? Actually I am quite partial to their jars of herring in this sort of creamy, garlicky, dill-infused sauce too. Maybe I am part Swedish. (No...not really.)

Deb said...

I bought curtains! And a picture frame, mat for the back door, hanger for scarves and lunch (for me and the kids - they had meatballs and I had the salmon). Then I got home and worked out I'd made an error with the length of the curtains. Sigh. But it's fixable. I also took my parents for the first time. My mother loved it. Dad....not so much.

Meredith said...

I think you either love it or you don't with IKEA. And even those that love it have their moments. The curtain story reminds me of my shower curtain story. I trekked there to buy a snazzy shower curtain (having previously bought them from Target) to come home and find that IKEA shower curtains don't come with shower curtain rings. Target ones do. And so back I had to go for the rings. Not so happy that time. Have fun with your new curtains.