IRON SKILLET ITALIAN MEATBALLS

Earlier this month marked four years since I moved to America, and as I look back over the passed four years, I have to give myself a round of applause for adapting so well to life out here. Sure I still (and always will) hate the winters, and being so reliant my car is becoming boring and bad for the environment, and I’m still not 100% sure where I stand on Cincinnati Chili, but we have established a wonderful home here, I’m settled in my job, and after much trial and error- day I say a tad more of the latter of the two- I finally have mastered cup measurements and iron skillets, both alien concepts to this Brit.

Cooking with a cast iron pan has never been something I’ve been that interested in doing, namely as other pans work just fine but probably more to do with the fact that I never owned one and wouldn’t know what to do with it should I ever buy one. But my amazing friends at Lodge gifted me my first ever iron skillet and my culinary doors were blown wide open! Along with care instructions, I also received a fab recipe book full of southern recipes, from the to-be-expected biscuits and gravy to more unique fare such as south coast hominy. But to test out this exceptional piece of equipment, I wanted to try one of my own recipes, to test the waters as it were.

I’ll make no apologies for cheating slightly and using a store-bought sauce and pasta, below is a quick and easy recipe making use of ingredients many of us have lying around in fridges and cupboards. This is, by all means, a gateway recipe into me experimenting more with cast iron skillets!

serves 4

1lb ground beef
1 white onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup chopped parsley
1 cup Italian style bread crumbs
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup grated parmesan, plus more for serving

packet of fresh linguine or spaghetti

jar of preferred red pasta sauce

 

In a large bowl, mix the ground beef, bread crumbs, minced garlic and onion, parsley and parmesan before adding the egg yolk and combine well.

Roll out 12-14 equal sized meatballs in your hand. Heat your skillet on a medium high heat and spray with cooking spray – be generous! Cook the meatballs for 2-3 minutes on each side, until brown before adding your sauce and reducing the heat.

Simmer the meatballs in the sauce for a further 10 minutes, and cook your pasta.

Drain the pasta and crack some black pepper all over before serving 3-4 meatballs per person. Dust with the remaining parmesan and serve!

italian3

Below are just some of the care tips from Lodge.

  1. Wash cast iron by hand with a nylon bristle scrub brush. If needed, use a pan scraper for stuck on bits. For extra sticky situations, simmer a little water for 1 minute, then use the scraper after cooled.
  2. Dry promptly and thoroughly with a lint-free cloth or paper towel.
  3. Rub with a very light layer of cooking oil or our Seasoning Spray, preferably while the cookware is still warm.
  4. Hang or store cookware in a dry place.
  5. Occasionally, you may notice some dark residue on your paper towel or cloth when cleaning. This is perfectly safe — it’s just the seasoning (the baked-on cooking oil) reacting to foods that may be slightly acidic or alkaline. It will disappear with regular use and care.
  6. Soap isn’t always necessary, but if you like, a little mild detergent is fine. Promise. Stay away from dishwashers and metal scouring pads, which can harm the seasoning.
  7. Seasoning is simply oil baked onto the iron, giving it a natural, easy-release finish.
  8. Lodge seasons all of its cookware with soy vegetable oil and nothing else.
  9. Any food-safe cooking oil/shortening will work for maintaining your cookware. We recommend vegetable oil or canola oil, like our Seasoning Spray.
  10. The best way to maintain the seasoning on your cast iron is simply to use it! Cooking in it regularly using any kind of cooking oil is a great way to keep your pan looking and performing well.

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