Monday, October 18, 2010

Spaghetti and Meatballs

What are we having for dinner?  


That is what we always called spaghetti with marinara sauce growing up.  Just spaghetti.  And when my mom made it, it was a huge pot of "spaghetti sauce" with meatballs, sausage and ribs.  It was a family favorite.  It took all day to make.  Throughout the day, everyone would go tear off a piece of bread and dip it in the pot.  You know, to see how it was coming along.  

This recipe is much different from my mom's.  But I love them both.  For different reasons.  

This is the 3 ingredient, simple tomato sauce that I fell in love with last winter.  Tomato, butter and onions.  It such a delicious sauce.  Can I say it is beautiful?   

The meatballs are pretty typical Italian meatballs.  The main difference from most that I have made is that they aren't pan fried in oil before being submerged in the sauce.  They are cooked all the way through in the sauce.  The result is a much softer meatball.  Kind of to die for.  I was eating some leftovers for lunch and I was seriously giving myself mad props up in the cubicle.  

I love this recipe.  

Spaghetti and Meatballs
by Molly Wizenberg via Bon Appétit

For the sauce:
2 28-ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes in juice, drained, juice reserved,
tomatoes finely chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 medium onions, peeled, halved through root end
1/2 teaspoon (or more) salt

For the meatballs:
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs made from crustless French or country-style bread
1/3 cup whole milk
8 ounces ground beef (15% fat)
8 ounces ground pork
1 cup finely ground (not grated) Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
2 large garlic cloves, pressed
1 pound spaghetti
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (for serving)

For the sauce: Combine tomatoes with juice, butter, onions, and salt in large wide pot. Bring to simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Discard onions. Using immersion blender, process sauce briefly to break up any large pieces of tomato (texture should be even but not completely smooth). Season sauce with more salt and freshly ground black pepper. Remove from heat.

For the meatballs: Combine breadcrumbs and milk in small bowl; stir until breadcrumbs are evenly moistened. Let stand 10 minutes.

Place beef and pork in large bowl and break up into small chunks. Add 1 cup ground Parmesan, parsley, salt, and pepper.

Whisk eggs to blend in small bowl; whisk in garlic. Add to meat mixture. Using hands, squeeze milk from breadcrumbs, reserving milk. Add breadcrumbs to meat mixture. Using hands, quickly and gently mix meat mixture just until all ingredients are evenly combined (do not overmix). Chill mixture at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour.

Moisten hands with some of reserved milk from breadcrumbs, then roll meat mixture between palms into golf-ball-size balls, occasionally moistening hands with milk as needed and arranging meatballs in single layer in sauce in pot. Bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until meatballs are cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.

DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Cool slightly. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled. Rewarm before continuing.

Cook spaghetti in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain.

Using slotted spoon, transfer meatballs to platter. Add pasta to sauce in pot and toss to coat. Divide pasta among 6 plates. Top each serving with meatballs. Sprinkle meatballs with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and serve.

(Servings: 6, Prep time: 90 min., Cook time: 75 min., Difficulty: Easy)

foodforscot Ratings:  

Shanon (taste):  9/10
Scot (taste):  8/10
Effort:  4/5
Dishwashing Effort:  4/5


  1. do you think i can make this with leftover ground turkey? we made your turkey burger recipe last night and it was soooo good.
    i didnt know if brian would like them bc hes more beefy than turkey-y? i dont know but they were rullly good and he ate 2 which means yum on the brian scale.

  2. glad you guys liked them!! you can use some ground turkey for the meatballs. but, i would think you would still want to have plenty of fatty ground meat in the mix. so maybe do turkey and pork? maybe a pan fry before putting them in the sauce might help too. but im sure they will very tasty. you could also make lettuce wraps, i have a recipe for ground chicken/turkey.

  3. I'm going to make this recipe!!!! It is a litlle like half my spaghetti and half the porcupine meatballs I used to make. I haven't made the porcupine meatballs for a very long time. I'm excited to try this recipe.

  4. I read an article by Molly about meatballs (I think she includes this same recipe) and I've been wanting to make some ever since. Thank you for sharing it with me. Yours turned out just beautifully. How can you go wrong with tomatoes, butter and onions?

  5. OMG...this is so delicious mom was Italian and that is what we did to her sauce, too...I have a recipe for sauce that an Italian friend gave me...and that is the one I have been mom's was not a written out recipe and as much as I try...I can't replicate it...I really think she made it a different way every single time. But I am going to make this one...