I was very excited at the beginning of my sophomore year when I found out there was a kitchen in the basement of my dorm. I imagined all the fanciful feasts I would prepare for my hallmates while getting 100% on all of my exams and going to the gym daily. I was to be showered with gratitude and adoration.
It didn't quite work out that way. Somewhere in between switching majors twice and my obsession with naps, I'm pretty sure I only used the kitchen once (and the gym never). And even then, it was only to store mixers for alcohol and reheat leftover fried rice from Shanghai Cafe.
Actually, there was one instance where my roommate and I went down to the kitchen with the intention of cooking pasta. I guess he didn't know that I knew a little bit about cooking because he took on this domineering role, patronizing me about the proper method to boil water and reheat pasta sauce from a jar of Prego. He acted like I'd never seen a mezzaluna or prepared a mise en place before.
I crafted this recipe for meatballs out of my bitterness from that incident and a 50/50 combination of ground pork and ground beef.
Linguine and Meatballs
1/2 Pound Ground Beef (70/30 lean is best)
1/2 Pound Ground Pork
3 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Onion
2 Tablespoons Seasoned Breadcrumbs
1 Tablespoon Parmesan Cheese
1/2 Tablespoon salt
1 Teaspoon Pepper
1 Teaspoon Fennel
1 Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper
1 Dash of Bitterness (don't go looking for this in the grocery store, it comes from the heart)
Mix all the ingredients together with a drizzle of olive oil. When all the ingredients are combined, form into small balls and line them up on a baking sheet.
I topped them with more cheese because I am fat, another source of bitterness.
While baking in a 450 degree oven for about 15 minutes, I made a simple marinara out of sauteed garlic, caramelized onions, and fresh tomatoes. I then added about two cups of San Marzano tomato puree. Season to taste and simmer to reduce slightly.
Yes, that is who you think it is: Jake Gyllenhaal (circa Prince of Persia).
When the meatballs are done (they may take longer if you made giant, baseball-sized ones), plop them into the sauce you made. Stirring gently didn't really help keep the exterior coat of cheese on the meatballs. I watched as they tragically disintegrated into the sauce.
So I put more cheese on the whole thing later.
I prefer meatballs on wide pasta like linguine because the two components are more evenly matched. Putting meatballs with angel hair would be like a marriage between Taylor Swift and the oldest, nameless, unpopular Jonas Brother; it would be dysfunctional and unsatisfying.
I may be a college student, but I refuse to be treated like I eat like one.