As if I really NEED a new cookbook, but this one was on special and I had heard so many good things about it I had to try – Thomas Keller’s ad hoc at home. Nancy has made so many good dishes from it. Phyl had ordered it. Kayte was cooking from it, and so was Marthe. Lots of my buddies on Twitter had gotten it for Christmas. I just HAD to add this one to my collection. So popular it is that this month’s avatar for Twitter was a recipe from Keller. (Mine was the chicken pot pie.) Recently several of us decided to try one of the recipes and compare notes.

    meatballs with pappardelle

I have discovered that many of Keller’s recipes often include two or more stages of other recipes. This one, for example, included making Pappardelle and Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce. The easiest way to handle it is to do it in stages. So I made the sauce first, the pasta the next day, and the meatballs on the day of the meal. NO SWEAT!!

The Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce was sooo good. I had never made one with a vinegar and really liked the flavor. Red wine vinegar, fennel {which I left out – not a fan} onions, leeks. The recipe also called for canned San Marzano tomatoes which are not available here. I had some tomatoes canned from last summer’s garden. They worked just fine. But beware – this sauce takes about 3 hours to put together. Worth. Every. Hour!!

Pappardelle are large, very broad fettuccine. The name derives from the verb “pappare,” to gobble up. [Thanks, Wikipedea]

I have made pappardelle before, but not Keller’s recipe. 14 egg yolks. YES!! 14!! I made 1/2 of the dough and it was plenty for the meal. The only problem I had with the pasta was it was rather sticky. Trying to cut it up was difficult. If I had sprinkled more flour on it as I rolled it up to cut that might not have been a problem. Next time!!

So, let’s talk Meatballs!!

If you like simple meatballs, this is not the recipe for you.

The meatballs are HUGE. 12 meatballs ( about 1/4 cup of mix each.)from almost 3 lbs of mixed meats – veal, boston butt, sirloin, and chuck – all ground and mixed together. The meatballs are stuffed with mozarella cheese before they are baked. Parsley, garlic, onion are also part of the mix. I froze 1/2 of the meatballs and cooked the other 6. I wanted to like them, but they just didn’t have much flavor. I think they just needed more seasoning than Keller called for. I would definitely up the salt/pepper and add in some garlic and/or onion powder. But they were fun to make. I usually make little meatballs for sketti, etc., Each one of these is a meal in itself which is how many people serve them. The meatballs with the sauce and the pappardelle on the side. Perfect meal. Not quick Not easy. But lots of potential for being very tasty.

If you want to try them Mary of Popsicles and Sandy Feet made them back in March of 2010.