Spaghetti and Meatballs the Easy Way
Makes 6-8 servings and about 30 golf sized meatballs
Here is a dish that bases itself on simplicity and best of all, can be made one or two days ahead of time and then reheated very slowly. The sauce is extra creamy because of the butter in it and the meatballs are cheesy for a bit of a different twist. There are no added spices except for salt and pepper so that’s why I stress simplicity in nature. I made it for a friend of mine who just finished a brutal series of chemo treatments and could only taste and eat simple food. Pasta helps her settle her stomach and this was a perfect dish for her at this difficult moment in her life. However, you don’t have to have been through that kind of hell to enjoy this dish. I used my 10 inch wide deep pot (though I wished I had a 12 inch wide pot) and my food processors. Processors make life in the kitchen so very easy don’t you agree? As well, if you wish a saucier dish, either cut down on the amount of spaghetti to use and/or add one more 28 oz. can of tomatoes plus some more butter to the initial recipe. And of course, if you wish to add your favorite seasonings to the sauce, that is always an alternative but it is very delicious just as stated and that also is what my friend requested.
For the Sauce:
- 2- 28-oz. cans of whole peeled tomatoes in their juice
- 1/2 C. unsalted butter (1 cube)
- 2 medium yellow onions, peeled and halved through the root end
- 1/2 Tsp. salt (or more if you wish)
For the Meatballs:
- 1 C. fresh breadcrumbs made in the food processor from crust less French or country-style bread
- 1/3 C. whole milk
- 8 oz. ground beef
- 8 oz. ground pork
- 1 C. ground in the processor Parmesan cheese (about 5 oz. of the shaved variety will do the trick)
- 1/3 C. finely chopped Italian parsley (about 1 bunch) once again I used the processor
- 1 Tsp. salt
- 1/4 Tsp. ground pepper
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large garlic cloves that you’ll use your garlic presser to add to the eggs
- 1 pound spaghetti (cooked per directions al dente)
- Fresh grated Parmesan cheese for serving
- More Italian Parsley for decoration
Instructions for the sauce:
- In a 10 inch or preferably a 12 inch deep pot, place a strainer over the pot and pour the canned tomatoes into the strainer so that the juice goes in the pot and the tomatoes are reserved. Place the tomatoes in the processer and pulse very briefly—just so that they become finely chopped.
- Place the tomatoes in the pot along with the salt and onions.
- Simmer for 45 minutes without a top. I used a splatter pan to top my pot.
- Taste the sauce and if you feel it needs more salt and ground pepper, go for it.
- Also, if you want a smoother sauce, you can use an immersion blender the process the sauce briefly. But you don’t want a too smooth sauce and you do want to have texture. So, I skipped this step totally and find that my sauce is definitely smooth enough.
Instructions for the meatballs:
- Combine the breadcrumbs and milk in a small bowl; stir till the breadcrumbs are evenly moistened. Let stand for 10 minutes
- Place the beef and pork in a large bowl, mix the two and add the 1 C. ground Parmesan and parsley. I use my hands for the mixing.
- Whisk the 2 eggs in a separate bowl; press the garlic into the eggs along with the 1 Tsp. salt and 1/4 Tsp. ground pepper. Whisk once more to make sure it’s all blended
- Add the eggs to the meat mixture and combine it all with your hands. Try not to man handle it too much.
- If the breadcrumbs have been soaking for 10 minutes, now’s the time to squeeze the milk from the breadcrumbs and save the milk. My breadcrumbs sopped up all the milk so I didn’t have any to reserve and actually I didn’t need any more to form the meatballs. It all depends on the bread you use.
- Add the breadcrumbs to the meat mixture; using the hands, quickly and gently mix the meat mixture just until all the ingredients are evenly combined. Do not over mix.
- Place this bowl, covered with saran rap, in the frig for at least 15 minutes but it could be even one hour.
- By this time, I think that your sauce has finished its 45 minute simmering gig and you can then take the bowl with the meat out of the frig. and start forming golf sized meat balls to put in one layer in the tomato sauce. If the meat seems to be sticking to your hands, you can dip the hands in some milk and the balls will form easier.
- Bring the sauce with the meatballs to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer till meatballs are cooked through—about 15 to 20 minutes.
- If you are making this ahead of time, cool slightly and chill in frig. uncovered till cold and then place a cover on it. Re-warm gently before serving.
- When you are ready to serve this dish, cook the spaghetti and drain it. I always run cold water over it when done so that it’ll stop cooking.
- When serving I use a huge serving dish which has been heated so that guests can help themselves. (You can also individual plate it.) However, for my platter, I remove the meatballs from the tomato sauce to a separate dish, place the cooked spaghetti in the middle of the platter, spoon the sauce over the spaghetti and surround this with the meatballs and some extra sprigs of Italian parsley. You can also throw some shredded Parmesan over it all and/or place a dish with the Parmesan to the side of the dish for guests to help themselves.
- Of course, DON’T FORGET the hearty red wine such as Chianti to go along with this dish. A baguette of French bread is also a nice addition. For the green stuff, I actually just make my Original Caesar Salad. Desert? Fresh black cherries and my no-churn coffee ice cream. Bon Appétit.