Modus and Meatballs

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We have two reasons to select the Ruffino Modus 2009 for tonight. The first is that it’s Friday and second is that we’re making meatballs for dinner.

Starting with the wine, Modus is a Tuscan red blend of 50% Sangiovese, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 25% Merlot. The understated cherry and dark berry aromas support the more intense herbal characteristics on the nose. On the palate, Modus is subtle but not lacking in personality. While the Sangiovese provides the backbone, the form of earthy Merlot emerges and is embellished by the Cab’s plum and tobacco flavors. The wine has a full-bodied mouth feel and nice silky tannins. The chocolaty finish is relatively long. We categorize Modus as a “weekend” wine since it’s priced a bit over $20.

Moving on to meatballs, my in-laws think my taste in this regard is pedestrian, but I really love a good meatball. The Bobby Flay meatball throw down featuring a couple from Long Island was one of our favorites.

We start with a pound and a half of the freshly ground beef, veal, and pork combo and add garlic and finely chopped onion that has been sautéed in butter, one beaten egg, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, and Worcestershire. Our seasonings include Italian herbs, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.

Hubby works the mixture into meatballs, sparing my fingers from being immersed in cold meat. A great trick we learned from the Rachel Ray show for making evenly sized balls is to lay the meat out on a cutting board and cut into same-sized pieces before forming the balls.

There are differing, and polarized, opinions about the best method for cooking meatballs. The traditional Italian way cooks the meatballs in the “gravy”. We much prefer to cook them on a baking sheet in the oven, allowing some of the grease to cook out. When the balls reach about 120 degrees, we transfer them to the sauce to finish.

Wintertime, Friday night, spaghetti and meatballs and a super Tuscan. Does it get any better?

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