Spaghetti & Meatballs

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A few weeks ago, when I prepped a bunch of meals for freezing, one of the things I made was spaghetti and meatballs. Well, more accurately, I made meatballs and sauce.

When we do pasta night at our house, we typically go with pasta and marinara sauce (out of a jar. I KNOW). If we do spice things up and add meat to the dish, we generally choose to make meat sauce, since it's quick and so tasty.

My husband has been begging for homemade meatballs for months, so when it came time to plan for frozen meals, I finally added them to the list. I had bookmarked a recipe at Annie's Eats a long, long time ago, so I went back to that. It was relatively simple, so we bought enough ingredients to double the recipe--to make one batch for eating right away, and another for freezing to eat after the baby was born.

The end results are meatballs that are tender and flavorful, and a great, traditional sauce. The great thing about sauce recipes is that you can adapt them to your tastes. Add whatever spices you like, add more or less, and make it into what you want it to be. For us, we added a bunch of crushed red pepper because we like a little spice.

If you're looking for a basic spaghetti and meatballs recipe to become a dinner "staple," this could be it. Give it a whirl.

Spaghetti and Meatballs
(Source: Annie's Eats)

For the sauce:
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (28 oz.) can tomato puree
- 1 (28 oz.) can tomato sauce
- 2 tsp. dried parsley
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
- 2 tsp. salt
- 2 tbsp. sugar
- 1/2 cup of water (or more)

For the meatballs:
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs, divided
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tsp. dried parsley
- 1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 lb. ground beef, pork and veal mixture (or 1 lb. ground sirloin)

For serving:
- Freshly cooked spaghetti
- Shredded Parmesan cheese
- Minced fresh basil

1. To make the sauce, heat the olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion to the pot and saute until tender, 5-8 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, stirring, about 1 minute. Add the tomato puree, tomato sauce, parsley, basil, oregano, salt and sugar. Add water to thin the sauce out to your desired consistency (I would estimate that I add about 1/2 cup). Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Let simmer for at least 2 hours.

2. To make the meatballs, in a medium mixing bowl combine 1/4 cup of the bread crumbs with the milk. Let the bread crumbs soak for 10 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and mix thoroughly. Form the mixture into meatballs (I usually get about 20-25 out of one batch). Add the meatballs to the simmering sauce about 45 minutes before the sauce will be finished cooking. Cover and let simmer until the meatballs are cooked through, 35-45 minutes.

3. Transfer freshly cooked pasta to serving dishes. Top each serving with sauce and meatballs. Garnish with shredded Parmesan and fresh basil, if desired.


Anonymous,  September 22, 2010 at 7:45 PM  

My family is Italian and we have our own sauce recipe but I recommend adding beef chuck (pieces) and sausage (halves) when you slow cook sauce. It gets SO tender and then you always have meat with your sauce. Sauce freezes really well and when I split it to freeze, I just make sure each container has some meat in it already. Of course, we always have meatballs, too, but this is a quick way to make sure you have meat cooked since you're already cooking the sauce.

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