This is the second recipe I made from Giada at Home's Everyday Ingredients episode. The first was this wonderful Artichoke and Mint Soup, reviewed earlier this week. This Hearty Meatball Stew was served as the main course last Saturday night. While it isn't a traditional stew, in my mind, a stew is a hearty soup with a heavy tomato base. This was more of a soup served with a broth versus my mental picture of a stew.
As before, I won't restate the recipe, because you can find it here, but I will tell you how I made it and what I suggest for the next time I make it.
Instead of using two mild/sweet Italian Sausages, I used one spicy sausage and one mild sausage partnered with the ground beef. It added a nice depth of flavor but wasn't overly spicy. I also forgot to add in the red pepper to the pot. Just completely forgot about it - I didn't even realize I missed it until I was cleaning up the kitchen after dinner. It might have been nice to include, but it wasn't a deal breaker, I don't think. Next time I will add this to the pot though.
I really like the lengthwise cut potatoes - they were perfectly tender and was a nice change to the chunked potatoes you usually see in a stew. I think I would add twice as many canned tomatoes next time -- I absolutely love tomatoes and just can't live without them. Since this more of a broth based stew, I think you need to include a nice piece of bread to help sop up the left over broth.
I served this in a bowl, each person getting two meatballs, some potatoes, green beans and tomatoes. We opted to add some bad canned Parmesan cheese -- for some reason I didn't have any shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano in the fridge (perish the thought, I know).
So, would I make this again? Yes. It was pretty easy and pretty flavorful. I would make it again, even without my additions/deletions noted above. One way to make this a little heartier (and will probably make any Italian food aficionados out there just roll their eyes (and perhaps cry or yell), don't include the potatoes in the pot, but make a batch of mashed potatoes and serve this stew/soup over the potatoes. It will make it much heartier and would be nice on a cold winters day. I haven't tried this of course, but it sounds pretty good to me.
Do you make meatballs from scratch often? What is your definition of a stew? Do you often find that you've prepped an ingredient and just completely omitted it from the recipe -- finding it only when you are cleaning house?