Spaghetti and Meatballs
(American pasta with meatballs)
6 to 8 servings
Tomato Sauce (makes 2 quarts sauce)
- Olive oil -- 1/4 cup
- Onion, minced -- 2
- Green bell pepper, minced -- 1
- Garlic, minced -- 6 cloves
- Tomato paste -- 1/4 cup
- Dried oregano -- 1 tablespoon
- Red wine (optional) -- 1 cup
- Tomatoes, chopped or crushed -- 2 (28-ounce) cans
- Sugar -- 1 tablespoon
- Bay leaves -- 2
- Salt and pepper -- to taste
Meatballs (makes 8 large or 16 small)
- Onion-pepper-garlic mix from above (see recipe) -- 3/4 cup
- Ground beef, -- 1 pound
- Ground pork -- 1 pound
- Breadcrumbs -- 1/2 cup
- Grated parmesan, pecorino romano or asiago cheese -- 1/3 cup
- Parsley, minced -- 1/4 cup
- Eggs, beaten well -- 2 or 3
- Salt -- 2 teaspoons
- Pepper 2 teaspoons
- Flour -- 1 cup
- Olive oil -- 1/3 cup
- Fresh basil leaves, shredded -- 1/2 cup
- Spaghetti, cooked according to package directions -- 2 (1-pound) packages
- Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium flame. Add the minced onions, bell pepper and garlic and sauté for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the mixture is cooked through and the onions are translucent. Remove about 3/4 cup of this mixture and set aside to use in the meatballs.
- Add the tomato paste and oregano and cook for another 1 or 2 minutes. Then add the red wine and simmer until cooked down and mostly evaporated.
- Stir in the tomatoes, sugar, bay leaves, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 1 to 2 hours.
- While the marinara is simmering, add the reserved onion-pepper mix to a large bowl along with the ground beef, ground pork, breadcrumbs, cheese, eggs, parsley, salt and pepper. Mix together well.
- Form the meat mixture into balls, using 1/4-cup portions to make small meatballs and 1/2-cup portions for large meatballs. Set aside on a baking sheet.
- Place the flour on a plate, and roll each meatball in the flour to coat, shaking off any excess.
- Heat the 1/3 cup olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and working in batches, brown the meatballs on all sides.
- Add the meatballs and shredded basil to the tomato sauce during last 30 minutes of cooking and simmer until the meatballs are cooked through.
- Adjust seasoning and serve the meatballs and tomato sauce over the cooked spaghetti and garnish with more grated cheese.
Spaghetti and Meatballs Notes and Variations
- Sauce: Mincing the onions, pepper and garlic in a food processor works well and saves time. Try to use high quality canned tomatoes. The difference will be noticeable.
- Meatballs: Try using different types and proportions of ground meat: ground veal, ground turkey. Or try removing fresh Italian sausages from their casings and mixing with ground beef. Just make sure you have 2 pounds of meat altogether. Be careful not to add too much salt to the meatballs. The grated cheese adds a fair amount of salt already.
- Baking the meatballs: Preheat oven to 400°F. After rolling them in flour, place the meatballs on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, then transfer to the pot with the sauce and simmer another 15 to 30 minutes.
- Meatball sandwiches: If you have leftover meatballs and sauce, try serving the meatballs and tomato sauce in heated Italian rolls. Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese or shredded mozzarella.