Albondigas In A Smokey Red Pepper And Tomato Sauce (Spanish Meatballs)

Some favorite food pairings with Tempranillo are dishes with tomato sauce, Mediterranean fare, pizza, and red meats. Our “Spanish Meatballs” represent the perfect meld of these ingredients to compliment this wonderful wine.

Ingredients:

MEATBALLS:
8 ounces smokey bacon, diced
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
2 pounds ground beef
2/3 cup chopped roasted red peppers*
2/3 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
2 large eggs
½ cup coarsely grated onion
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tablespoon minced fresh or 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
2 teaspoons dried crush red pepper
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

SAUCE:
2 28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes
1 cup chopped roasted red pepper
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
8 ounces smokey bacon, cut crosswise into strips
1 Tablespoon (or more) extra virgin olive oil
3 cups finely chopped onions
1 ½ teaspoons dried crushed red pepper (optional)
2 cups “Schmidt Family Vineyard’s Tempranillo
1 Tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dried marjoram

PASTA:
1 ½ lbs spaghetti
2-3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 ½ Tablespoons minced fresh marjoram
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Meatballs
Place bacon in processor, using on/off turns, grind to course paste. Transfer to large bowl. Using garlic press, squeeze in garlic. Gently mix in beef and all remaining ingredients. Let stand 15 minutes. Roll into l ½ inch meatballs. Arrange on sheet pan. Can be made 1 day in advance. Cover with plastic and refrigerate

Sauce
Cook bacon in large pot over medium heat until crisp; transfer bacon to plate. Add one Tablespoon oil to drippings in pot and heat over medium heat. Add half of meatballs. Cook until brown on all sides, turning carefully. Transfer to baking sheet. Repeat with remaining meatballs adding ore oil if needed. Increase heat to med-high. Add onions and crushed red pepper to pot. Sauté until golden, about 6 minutes. Add wine; boil until reduced by half, stirring up browned bits about 8 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes and marjoram. Boil until thickened slightly. Mix bacon and meatballs into sauce. Reduce hat to low and simmer until meatballs are heated through and tender, 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Pasta
Cook spaghetti, according to directions. Drain, transfer to bowl. Toss with 2 Tablespoons oil and marjoram. Top the meatballs and sauce. Sprinkle with cheese.

SERVE AND ENJOY WITH A GLASS OF “SCHMIDT’S TEMPRANILLO”