Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti and Meatballs

What can I say about this classic dish? Spaghetti and Meatballs is probably one of the most known classics. Executed well – and you got yourself a phenomenal dinner for just you or worthy of any company.

If you have little kids, chances are, they adore meatballs, just like mine do. So it’s important for me to make them from scratch, knowing exactly what goes into the food that often makes it to my dinner rotation. Plus making it from scratch is a lot more cost effective. But obviously, you don’t have to have kids to crave this dish.

My version is very similar to basically every other recipe on the internet. I mean how many ways can you combine the same ingredients!?

But I do use the specific set of techniques to ensure the meatballs stay soft and moist, while trying to render as much fat as possible without compromising the texture of the meatball.

Yields8 Servings

For Meatballs:
 1 lb ground beef
 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs, other breadcrumbs will also work
 ½ yellow onion, minced, optional (I often make meatballs without onions and they still turn out great)
 3 coves of garlic, finely minced
 1 tsp kosher salt
 1 egg
 ¼ tsp pepper
 2 tsp italian seasoning
 1 tsp oregano
 2 tbsp Parmesan
 1 tbsp oil
 ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped, optional
For the sauce:
 2 tbsp oil
 1 tbsp butter
 1 medium yellow onion, minced
 5 garlic cloves, minced
 good pinch of red pepper flakes
 1 tsp oregano
 1 ½ tsp basil
 1 can tomato paste
 2 cans (28 oz each) whole tomatoes, diced tomatoes will work also
 2 tsp kosher salt
 1 tsp sugar
 1 bay leaf
 freshly ground black pepper
For the pasta:
 freshly shaved parmesan
 parsley, for garnish
 cooked spaghetti

For the sauce:
1

Heat oil and butter in a pot. Stir in red pepper flakes and onions and cook until softened, aromatic but not brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of basil, oregano and garlic and cook for another minute. Add tomato paste and cook for a minute or two to cook out the canned taste, it will slightly brown, but be sure not to burn it.

2

Stir in canned tomatoes. I prefer gently hand crushing each tomato as I add it. You can also leave them whole, blend them partially or to smooth consistency. Add the salt, bay leaf and sugar. Simmer covered on the lowest setting for one hour. Then remove the lid and cook for another half an hour uncovered to thicken it slightly. You may gently partially cover the pot with the lid to prevent the splatter. Keep stirring once in a while in the last half an hour to prevent scortching. After 90 minutes you will add the meatballs to the sauce. Before adding the meatballs, taste your sauce and adjust seasoning with more salt, pepper or sugar, as needed.

For the meatballs:
3

Sautee onions over medium heat until tender and just beginning to brown. I like the onions in the meatballs, however, this recipe works great without the onions also.

4

Place ground beef in a large bowl. Add cooked onion (cool it first,) egg, oregano, Italian seasoning, Parmesan, salt and pepper to the bread mixture. Mix gently with a fork. For tender meatballs, be sure to be very gentle and not overwork the meat - chunks of meat should still be visible, you are not looking to turn the meat mixture into a paste.

5

Shape the meatballs into the desired size. I use a tablespoon-sized ice cream scoop, but you can definitely make yours bigger.

6

Meatballs can be added directly to the sauce, they will be so moist and delicious. One problem I have with that, is that the fat is not rendered at all. If you go ahead with that option, simmer them in the sauce for aboout 15-30 minutes, depending on the size and heat used, until the internal temperature of 165. This option, by far, results in the most tender and juicy meatballs.

Another option is to pan fry or broil meatballs for just a few minutes. This will give them a nice sear, deepen the flavour and render out some of the fat. Don't worry about cooking them all the way. We are just looking to get a nice sear. Then toss them into the sauce and finish cooking there to the internal temperature of 165.

One more option is to cook them completely by broiling them or in 425 degree oven (for about 20 minutes until the internal temperature of 165.) This is a very good option for make ahead meatballs. Fully cooked meatballs could also be frozen and make a quick and simple dinner any day! Simply defrost them or even add them frozen to the sauce until they are heated through. This option is lighter on calories but will not be as moist and flavourful as adding raw (or gently seared) meatballs to the sauce.

7

Add your meatballs along with the remaining 1 tsp of basil to the sauce after it has been simmering for 1 1/2 hours. As mentioned in the prior step, the most flavourful and juicy meatballs will result in raw meatballs being added directly to the sauce. Simmer your meatballs in the sauce until heated through and the internal temperature has reached 165 (about 25-30 minutes for raw meatballs.)

8

Add some pasta to the bowl and top with meatballs and sauce. Garnish with shaved parmesan and parsley. Enjoy!

Ingredients

For Meatballs:
 1 lb ground beef
 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs, other breadcrumbs will also work
 ½ yellow onion, minced, optional (I often make meatballs without onions and they still turn out great)
 3 coves of garlic, finely minced
 1 tsp kosher salt
 1 egg
 ¼ tsp pepper
 2 tsp italian seasoning
 1 tsp oregano
 2 tbsp Parmesan
 1 tbsp oil
 ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped, optional
For the sauce:
 2 tbsp oil
 1 tbsp butter
 1 medium yellow onion, minced
 5 garlic cloves, minced
 good pinch of red pepper flakes
 1 tsp oregano
 1 ½ tsp basil
 1 can tomato paste
 2 cans (28 oz each) whole tomatoes, diced tomatoes will work also
 2 tsp kosher salt
 1 tsp sugar
 1 bay leaf
 freshly ground black pepper
For the pasta:
 freshly shaved parmesan
 parsley, for garnish
 cooked spaghetti

Directions

For the sauce:
1

Heat oil and butter in a pot. Stir in red pepper flakes and onions and cook until softened, aromatic but not brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of basil, oregano and garlic and cook for another minute. Add tomato paste and cook for a minute or two to cook out the canned taste, it will slightly brown, but be sure not to burn it.

2

Stir in canned tomatoes. I prefer gently hand crushing each tomato as I add it. You can also leave them whole, blend them partially or to smooth consistency. Add the salt, bay leaf and sugar. Simmer covered on the lowest setting for one hour. Then remove the lid and cook for another half an hour uncovered to thicken it slightly. You may gently partially cover the pot with the lid to prevent the splatter. Keep stirring once in a while in the last half an hour to prevent scortching. After 90 minutes you will add the meatballs to the sauce. Before adding the meatballs, taste your sauce and adjust seasoning with more salt, pepper or sugar, as needed.

For the meatballs:
3

Sautee onions over medium heat until tender and just beginning to brown. I like the onions in the meatballs, however, this recipe works great without the onions also.

4

Place ground beef in a large bowl. Add cooked onion (cool it first,) egg, oregano, Italian seasoning, Parmesan, salt and pepper to the bread mixture. Mix gently with a fork. For tender meatballs, be sure to be very gentle and not overwork the meat - chunks of meat should still be visible, you are not looking to turn the meat mixture into a paste.

5

Shape the meatballs into the desired size. I use a tablespoon-sized ice cream scoop, but you can definitely make yours bigger.

6

Meatballs can be added directly to the sauce, they will be so moist and delicious. One problem I have with that, is that the fat is not rendered at all. If you go ahead with that option, simmer them in the sauce for aboout 15-30 minutes, depending on the size and heat used, until the internal temperature of 165. This option, by far, results in the most tender and juicy meatballs.

Another option is to pan fry or broil meatballs for just a few minutes. This will give them a nice sear, deepen the flavour and render out some of the fat. Don't worry about cooking them all the way. We are just looking to get a nice sear. Then toss them into the sauce and finish cooking there to the internal temperature of 165.

One more option is to cook them completely by broiling them or in 425 degree oven (for about 20 minutes until the internal temperature of 165.) This is a very good option for make ahead meatballs. Fully cooked meatballs could also be frozen and make a quick and simple dinner any day! Simply defrost them or even add them frozen to the sauce until they are heated through. This option is lighter on calories but will not be as moist and flavourful as adding raw (or gently seared) meatballs to the sauce.

7

Add your meatballs along with the remaining 1 tsp of basil to the sauce after it has been simmering for 1 1/2 hours. As mentioned in the prior step, the most flavourful and juicy meatballs will result in raw meatballs being added directly to the sauce. Simmer your meatballs in the sauce until heated through and the internal temperature has reached 165 (about 25-30 minutes for raw meatballs.)

8

Add some pasta to the bowl and top with meatballs and sauce. Garnish with shaved parmesan and parsley. Enjoy!

Spaghetti and meatballs

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