From top right:
Salad of local kale, shredded finely and dressed with evoo, balsamico, sea salt, and pine nuts, over a bed of mixed baby lettuces.
Watermelon radishes, roasted with evoo and sea salt until tender
Butternut squash, roasted then lightly mashed, plain
(While they were roasting, I also roasted up some beets that I'll eat tomorrow. Never waste oven space!)
Meatballs puttanesca (method below.)
Delicious, so filling, nourishing, and if you skip the meatballs and anchovies in the sauce, easily vegetarian or vegan. Vegans, add some cooked beans to the tomato sauce. Lacto vegetarians, throw on some Parmigiano Reggiano. Omnivores, read on!
Serves three to four people
1 pound local grass-fed ground beef, mixed with seasonings of choice: I like salt, pepper, parsley, oregano, basil, but you will be just fine if all you use is a little sprinkling of salt.
Marinara sauce, either homemade or store bought and doctored up with whatever you like, including onion, garlic, parsley, basil, oregano, red pepper flake, ground fennel seed, thyme, and maybe just a touch of sage and rosemary.
Some anchovies (canned, jarred, or paste, whichever you have on hand)
Kalamata olives, sliced
Sun-dried tomatoes, cut into bite sized pieces. Dry packed and oil packed both work, so use the one you have on hand
Capers, just a little spoonful, drained
This is so easy and quick if you've already made your marinara. Marinara is not hard, it just takes some simmering. Cook your onions in olive oil until they are translucent. Add garlic, stir it around. Add tomatoes, herbs and spices, and simmer until the flavors all come together.
While sauce is simmering, make your meatballs. Heat your cast iron skillet with a thin film of cooking fat - I used a little leftover beef fat skimmed from making a different sauce. Mix herbs and salt into beef, and form into balls. I like to divide in half, then in half again a few times until I have about 16 approximately equal pieces. You can redistribute as you need to; it isn't rocket science. Roll gently into balls. Place half of them in the hot pan. When they're brown, turn them. Repeat until they're reasonably brown all over. Remove to a plate to rest while you brown the other half.
Chop the anchovies coarsely, or just break them up with your fingers into the sauce. They'll pretty much dissolve in as they cook. Add the tomatoes, olives, and capers. Taste for seasoning. Add meatballs into sauce, and simmer ever so gently for just a few minutes, until cooked through. Serve with plenty of delicious veggies.