Posted by: lifewithbs | January 18, 2010

The White House + Meatballs

Yesterday we decided to have ‘DC Tourist Day’, and knock a few things off our list of what we need to do before leaving DC. We visited a few of the Smithsonian museums –  the natural history museum and the Freer gallery of art.  Afterwards, we walked over to the White House to take a few pictures. We got to see the President’s caravan driving away from the White House with a big police escort… pretty cool!

Here is a view of the north lawn…

and the more famous south lawn…

and our dorky tourist picture, in front of the White House.

Next, on to meatballs! I started receiving bon appetit magazine this month, after Gourmet went out of business. My first issue had spaghetti and meatballs on the cover, and I really wanted to try the recipe.

I still think my mom has THE BEST meat sauce recipe, but this one turned out pretty well.

Spaghetti and Meatballs All’Amatriciana

adapted from bon appetit


  • 6 ounces bacon (about 6 slices), diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2/3 cup chopped drained roasted red peppers from jar
  • 2/3 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh marjoram
  • 2 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place the bacon in a food processor, and grind until it looks like a coarse paste. I didn’t take a picture of this step because it looked really gross! Transfer the bacon goo to a large bowl.

Using a garlic press, squeeze in the 2 cloves of garlic. Next, mix in the beef and the remaining meatballs ingredients. We didn’t have fresh marjoram, so I used 1 teaspoon of dry.

Here is what my meatball mix looked like.  After it’s all mixed together, let it stand for 15 minutes.

Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap. Using moistened hands and 2 tablespoonfuls for each, roll meat mixture into 1.5 inch meatballs. Arrange the meatballs on a sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and chill.


  • 2 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes in juice
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 6 ounces bacon (about 6 slices), cut crosswise into thin strips
  • 1 tablespoon (or more) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups finely chopped onions
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh marjoram

Puree the tomatoes with juice and the garlic in a blender, until smooth.

Cook the bacon in a large pot over medium heat, until crisp; transfer bacon to a plate lined with paper towels.

Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the bacon drippings in the pot and heat over medium heat. Add the meatballs in batches (I had to do 3) and cook until brown on all sides, about 9 minutes.  Transfer the cooked meatballs to the backing sheet.

Increase the heat to medium high. Add the onions and crushed red pepper to the pot. I only put in a 1/2 teaspoon of  red pepper, since we both aren’t used to spicy food. The finished sauce was almost too spicy for me.

Sauté the onions until they are golden, about 6 minutes. Add the wine and boil until reduced by half, about 8 minutes.

Next, add the tomato puree and marjoram. Again, I added dried marjoram because we didn’t have fresh. Boil until the sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Mix the bacon into the sauce. Add the meatballs, bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until meatballs are heated through and tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Finished! This sauce was spicy and a LOT of work, but had great flavor. We ended up simmering it for another 45 minutes to an hour in order to thicken it up. Overall, my first attempt at meatballs without my mom was kind of stressful, but they turned out alright.  🙂


  1. Yum!! The meatballs and sauce look very good. Your photos make everything look great too (though I agree the bacon paste would have detracted from your overall presentation).

    Better get all your DC tourist things done soon, ’cause before you know it, you guys are gonna be Texans — and too busy roping cattle and stuff.

  2. Dinner looks delicious!!
    Sounds like you guys had a great day!
    Best, Bethesda, Blog!

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