Earlier this year, we began noticing another 20-something duo gracing the blog feed of Huffington Post, where we publish a weekly post. Economy Bites is the brain child of Allie Schwartz and Daniel Schloss, who have set out to solve the "don't-feel-like-cooking/can't-spend-the-money-on-take-out" issue that most of us 20-something nine-to-fivers have dealt with since inhabiting our small kitchens.
In their webisodes, Allie shows us how to make inexpensive (less than $30 for 5 servings) dishes that will hold up in the fridge and feed you all week long. As true believers in the brown bag, and make-ahead meals in general, we dug their philosophy and, frankly, were just waiting for our invitation to lend a hand in Allie's small kitchen.
Patience paid off, and eventually Allie and Dan sidled up to us via email and asked us to be on their show. We felt excited, wanted, and cool.
A few weeks later I joined Allie to make spaghetti with fish "meatballs" in a red pepper sauce. The dish itself was something I fed my father at the beginning of the summer when I first moved back home. As I've mentioned before, he no longer eats meat, but still loves all things that revolve around and/or occur on top of spaghetti. I had some leftover piperade sauce in the fridge, and that took the original place of this spicy red sauce. If you don't happen to be cooking on Sunday, like Allie, and you get started a day or two earlier, you can make the sauce in advance. Whip up the fish balls and pasta right before you are ready to eat, and dinner will still be on the table in 20 minutes.
As for the experience cooking together in Allie's small kitchen. Well, it was messy, spicy, and fun. And best of all, you can relive it with us by watching this week's Economy Bites episode here.
Make sure to check back with the E-Bites team next week for Cara's appearance making Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing--we'll be tweeting and sharing the video when it airs, so stay tuned!
--Phoebe Lapine of Big Girls, Small Kitchen
Spaghetti with Fish Meatballs in Spicy Red Pepper Sauce
Makes 2 servings
1 slice white bread, crusts removed
1/2 lb white fish (I used tilapia, but whatever is on sale), coarsely chopped
1 shallot, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic
1/3 cup parsley leaves
1 egg, beaten
1/2 tsp salt
dash of cayenne
2 cups spicy red pepper sauce (recipe follows)
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain and toss with a bit of olive oil.
In the meantime, make the meatballs and sauce.
In a small food processor, pulse the bread until it resembles crumbs. Set aside in a medium mixing bowl. Add the fish to the processor and pulse until resembling the texture of ground beef. Remove to the bowl. Add the shallot, garlic, and parsley and mince in the processor. Toss together with the bread crumbs, fish, egg, salt, and pepper. Form the mixture into balls, about 1 1/2 inches wide, and set aside on a cutting board. You should have about 8 balls.
Coat a large lidded skillet or saute pan with olive oil and set it over medium-high heat. Brown the fish balls in batches until seared on both sides. Set aside.
Clean out any burnt bits from the pan. Either add premade Spicy Red Pepper sauce, or follow the directions below to make it. When the sauce is finished and simmering, add the balls back to the pan. Cook for 5 minutes, covered, then turn the balls in the sauce and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes, until the balls are cooked through completely.
To serve, place a forkful of spaghetti on each plate and top with a spoonful of sauce and 4 meatballs. Garnish with parsley.
Spicy Red Pepper Sauce
Makes about 2 cups
1 small yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 small red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes
Pulse the onion and red pepper in a small food processor until finely chopped (or finely chop by hand).
In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté the onion and red pepper in enough olive oil to coat the pan. Cook until the vegetables have softened, about 6 minutes. Add the paprika, cayenne, garlic, and cook for another 2 minutes, until the mixture is very fragrant. Add the salt, and carefully stir in the tomatoes. Simmer until the sauce has thickened and the vegetables are very tender, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and taste again for seasoning. (This can be made up to a week in advance).
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