Spaghetti and Meatballs
Today Scott ran the Philadelphia Half Marathon, so naturally, last night I convinced him that he needed to have spaghetti. Yay carbs! I immediately decided to use my mom’s tomato sauce recipe – the exact sauce I grew up eating at least once a week. Long ago, before carbs were demonized and I could (and would allow myself to) eat two bowls of pasta. I remember the excitement of coming home from school to the entire house smelling amazing, all the way up to my third floor bedroom. I would sneak tastes of the sauce when no one was around, often using chunks of mozzarella cheese as a spoon.
As for the meatballs, I found a pretty basic recipe on Epicurious, but of course had to call my mom for tips because her meatballs (the very ones I once ate 7 of in one sitting) are more tender and mouthwatering then any I’ve had before. I knew it was because she, unlike what most recipes instruct, didn’t brown hers in a pan or bake them in the oven. Turns out one of the secrets to my moms amazing meatballs is that she microwaves them before adding them to the sauce- another major yum-factor. On that note, I simply don’t understand why anyone would cook meatballs separate from sauce. This, in my opinion, is a crucial move! The second secret of soft meatballs is the addition of soggy bread. I know, soggy bread sounds unappetizing, but unlike just using breadcrumbs as a binder, the bread makes a great difference. I did however soak mine in milk, as opposed to water which is what my mom does. Anyway, I’m drooling just describing this so, onto the recipes!
Meatballs (makes 6 large meatballs – 2 is enough for one serving)
- 1/2 lb Ground Beef
- 1/2 lb Ground Pork (We got ours from Canuti’s in the Italian Market, which was great because they ground it fresh for us!)
- 2 Slices of Bread
- 3/4 Cup Milk
- 1 Small Onion, finely chopped
- 1 Egg
- 1/8 Cup minced Fresh Parsley
- 1/8 Cup breadcrumbs
- 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/4 tsp Pepper
Soak the slices of bread in the milk and squeeze out excess. Tear up well and add to a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix by hand until well combined. Roll into 2-inch diameter meatballs and arrange on a microwave safe plate in one layer. Microwave on high for 4 minutes. Flip the meatballs over and microwave another 4 minutes.
Once you have your sauce put together, add the meatballs to the sauce and let simmer for at least 1 hour. If you have more time, simmer it for up to 3 hours, because as my mom says, “the longer the better!”
- 2 Large Cans of Whole Peeled Tomatoes
- 2-3 Cloves Garlic
- 3 TBSP Olive Oil
- Large Handful of Fresh Basil Leaves, chopped
- 1-2 TBSP Sugar
- Salt + Pepper to taste
Pour canned tomatoes with juice into a blender and puree until smooth. Do in batches if necessary. Add to large pot over medium heat. Crush the garlic using a garlic press and add to the pot. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium heat and then lower heat, cover and let simmer at least 1 hour. Taste and season more to preference.
Serve your meatballs and sauce with the pasta of your choice, and top with Parmesan cheese. A favorite pasta of mine growing up was angel hair, but last night we used a whole wheat and flax spaghetti (health nerds!). Eat up!