Spaghetti and Meatballs
This is a dish that should really be served out of the big cooking pot on the table. It needs to slop, drip, and splatter. The spaghetti has to be piping hot and soaked with sauce, then sprinkled with freshly grated Parmesan. A 1-pound package of spaghetti will be fine for four to six people as long as you have plenty of meatballs-everybody loves meatballs, so make lots.
OccasionCasual Dinner Party
Recipe CourseMain Course
Dietary ConsiderationPeanut Free, Soy Free, Tree Nut Free
Taste and TextureGarlicky, Meaty
Type of DishDry Pasta, Pasta
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- 2 large onions, finely chopped
- Salt and pepper
- 3 cups fresh bread crumbs
- 2 lb ground beef
- Handful of chopped fresh parsley, or other herbs
- 1 cup red wine
- 6 large fresh tomatoes, chopped
- 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1 lb dried spaghetti
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Veal & Spinach Meatballs
Take about 14 oz. spinach leaves and wilt them in a saucepan, with only the water that’s left clinging to them after washing. Drain well and, once cool, squeeze the excess water out with your hands so the spinach is really dry. Put it in a food processor with 1 cup ground veal, 2 slices of bread that you have softened in a little water and squeezed dry, 2 eggs, some salt and pepper, and ½ tsp. grated nutmeg. Blend to a paste; Shape the mixture into balls, then roll them in flour and fry in vegetable oil, turning until brown on all sides.
Put the olive oil in a Dutch oven. Add the onions, plenty of black pepper, and some salt. Turn the heat to medium and cook the onions slowly until soft, but not colored. Remove from the heat.
Put 1 cup water in a large bowl. Add the bread crumbs and half the cooked onions, lifting them out of the pot with a slotted spoon. Lift out the rest of the onions, leaving as much oil as possible in the pot, and set them aside for the sauce.
Add the beef and chopped parsley to the crumbs. Season well with salt and pepper, mix until the whole thing becomes a paste, then shape into balls about the size of a Ping-Pong® ball.
Put the Dutch oven back over high heat, add the meatballs, and cook until browned, about 10 minutes. Gently turn them and continue browning. Take them out and set aside. Add the reserved cooked onions to the pot along with the wine. As it boils, scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pot.
Add the fresh tomatoes and stir over high heat until they start to break down. Add the canned tomatoes and half the can of water. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Put the meatballs back in the pot and return to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook and drain the spaghetti according to the package directions. I like to put everything together in the pot for serving, but many don’t, so it’s your choice.
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2008 John Torode