Everynow and then Laura and I get a craving for something specific. Usually we crazy something sweet, or something barbecue-y, or something meaty, etc. But last week we got the craving for spaghetti and meatballs. How did this happen? I dont know. We probably saw a show that had them, or overheard people at working talking about them. Whatever the reason, we couldn’t shake it, so we had to indulge!
I found several simple recipes online to get the framework for the meatballs. As somebody who has made them before I know the meatball is a hodge-podge of all the great italian flavors in one round package. The ratios of those flavors is really up to you. But here’s how we did it.
Ingredients you will need:
- 1 pound of lean ground beef
- 1 pound hot (or however you like it) italian sausage
- 1 tbsp oregano
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp fresh ground pepper (not that pre-grinded mess)
- 4 cloves of garlic (pulverized by the microplane)
- 2 tbsp chopped basil
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley
- 1/4 cup shredded or grated parmesan
- 2 eggs
- 2 splashes of red wine
- 1/2 cup to a 1 cup of italian style bread crumbs
When I have a list of this length I like to get all my ingredients set up first. Instead of putting in one ingredient, getting out the next one, measuring it, pouring it in, then repeating, I do all that in the beginning. This saves time, and when working with raw meat, saves number of times washing your hands. By having all your ingredients measured and set out (mise en place) you will also feel like a TV chef. The only thing you need to complete the transformation is a video camera and a contrived story about how you use to love making meatballs with your “Nana” when you were a child growing up in southern Italy.
First, in a small bowl, beat the two eggs along with the splashes of red wine. Pick a wine you like to drink becuase you will have the rest of the bottle at your disposal. Then mix together the rest of the ingredients in a separate, larger bowl. Once everything is in the bowl, pour in the egg/wine mixture and continue to combine until somewhat uniform. For this process you need to use your hands. Consider it a fun-tivity! Kid’s will love to help with this process.
Now roll the meat into golf ball sized mounds. Dont form them too tightly becuase you will want them to remain tender and soft when they are done. Some of our meatballs, by “accident” came out closer to racquet ball sized, but that was only by the grace of God. Place each meatball on a cooking sheet sprayed down with Pam. If you want to save your pan and not have much to clean up, put down a layer of foil. Trust me, you want to do this!
Bake the meatballs at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes rotating them once at the half way point. You will notice some of the cheese to start melting out of the balls, what a glorious site!
Since you had to open some win for the recipe, you might as well start drinking it!
Pull the meatballs out of the oven and transfer to a pot to simmer with your tomato sauce. If you are a little lazy like I am, I just used the store bought sauce. It turned out just fine. Maybe in the future I’ll make some badass tomato sauce, but not this time. Let the meatballs simmer with the sauce for 30 minutes. This will give the meat more flavor, and add some good spiciness and heartiness to the tomato sauce.
While the sauce and meatballs are simmering, preapre your spaghetti. Make sure you dont over cook the pasta. Over cooked pasta tastes very soft and mushy. Most of the time we Americans over cook the pasta. Note the package instructions for time of cooking. When you are approaching the reccommended time, taste the pasta. Does it have a little bite to it? If so, it’s probably cooked just right, or as my Italian friends say, Al Dente. Here’s a fun fact for you! Al Dente was actually an Italian explorer who discovered pasta while on a trip to the Grand Canyon. He is credited in most circles for the creation of fettucini, spaghetti, and spaghetti-o’s.
Plate up your spaghetti and meatballs, top with some parmesan and enjoy this wonderful, homecooked meal! I hope you love it!