Posted by: acooksca | 12/01/2009

Danish Meatballs and Wild Mushroom Pasta

On California’s North Coast, the village of Ferndale celebrates its immigrant heritage through recipes shared at social Danish meatballs with Wild Mushroomsgatherings. With a strong Scandanavian population, meat balls are a perennial favorite in Ferndale. They are given an honorable standing in collections of family recipes. Danish cooks show off their version using veal and pork in meatballs called Frikadeller.

Frikadeller are traditionally served fried with stewed cabbage and potatoes browned in butter. Seasoned with the spicy/woodsy notes of allspice and nutmeg, these meatballs integrate well with another North Coast product, wild mushrooms. In this recipe meatballs and mushrooms are happily married in a delicate sauce and served over pasta. Any mushrooms will work, but having a few varieties adds extra textures and flavors to the sauce.

Serves four

Meatballs:
½  pound ground veal
½ pound ground pork
1/2 small yellow onion, minced
1 cup fresh bread crumb
1 cup milk
1 egg
½ teaspoon pepper
1 ½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg (or 1 teaspoon pre-ground)
1 teaspoon fresh grated allspice (or 2 teaspoons pre-ground)
1 cup flour
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

1 pound Fettuccini (or other flat pasta)
4 Tablespoons butter
Salt to taste

Sauce:
1 pound assorted mushrooms, torn or chopped into large pieces
2 tablespoons butter
½ teaspoon each salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons flour
½ cup sherry wine
1 1/2 cup chicken stock
3 tablespoons whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg (or 1 teaspoon pre-ground)
Salt

In a medium bowl combine the onions, bread crumbs, milk, egg and seasonings. Mix in the meats and knead the mixture for several minutes, until the mixture is smooth. Mixture will feel moist. Place the flour on a large plate. Gather one tablespoon of meat mixture at a time, drop it in the flour and roll into a loose ball.

Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. When hot, add the oil. Drop meatballs into the fry pan and cook, turning every few minutes, until evenly browned. Cook meatballs until just done through, about 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate and cover to keep warm.

Heat a pot of salted water and cook the pasta. Meanwhile make the mushroom sauce.

In a large fry pan over medium high heat, melt the butter and drop in the mushrooms. Season with salt, pepper and stir cooking until heated through, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with the four and stir the mushrooms to coat. Slowly add the sherry and cook, stirring for one minute as it thickens. Add the stock, cream, and nutmeg and stir until sauce is smooth. Simmer until sauce thickens, about five minutes. Add the meat balls to heat through.

Butter the cooked pasta and divide between four dinner plates. Spoon the meatballs and sauce over the pasta and serve at once.

Cook’s Note: Chopped chives adds color and flavor to the finished pasta.

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