A couple of weekends ago, I had to prepare dinner for six guys. I needed a dish that was comforting, delicious, filling, and most importantly, could easily feed a crowd. I decided on classic spaghetti and meatballs. While the tomato sauce requires several hours, the resulting dish is wildly satisfying and not only did the boys love it, but so did I! Ladling out bowls of saucy spaghetti and perfectly juicy meatballs, I felt like a little Italian grandmother. Although there are tons of spaghetti and meatball recipes on the Internet, I chose this one because of some unusual twists. The addition of pancetta subtly flavors the marinara sauce and a half cup of water ensures that the mixture of ground pork, veal, and beef stays moist. I highly recommend you make this rewarding Italian favorite for your loved ones. To do so, get the recipe.
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 pound diced pancetta
2 large Spanish onions, cut into 1/4-inch dice
4 large garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
4 (28-ounce) cans Italian plum San Marzano tomatoes
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, 1/4-inch dice
2 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
Pinch crushed red pepper
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground veal
1/2 pound ground pork
2 large eggs
1 cup grated Parmigiano
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup water
spaghetti, for serving
- Make the sauce: Coat a large saucepot with olive oil and add the pancetta. Bring the pot to a medium-high heat and cook the pancetta for 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add the onions, season generously with salt and stir to coat with olive oil. Cook the onions for 6 to 7 minutes stirring frequently. The onions should become very soft and aromatic but have no color. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes stirring frequently.
- Pass the tomatoes through the food mill. Be sure to pass all of the pulp through the holes leaving only the stems and the seeds, and be sure to scrape the pulp off of the bottom of the food mill. Alternately, puree the tomatoes, in batches, in a food processor until smooth.
- Add the tomatoes to the pot and rinse out 1 of the empty tomato cans with water and add that water to the pot (about 2 to 3 cups). Season generously with salt.
- Cook the sauce for 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally and tasting frequently.
- Meanwhile, make the meatballs: Coat a large saute pan with olive oil, add the onions and bring to a medium-high heat. Season the onions generously with salt and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes. The onions should be very soft and aromatic but have no color. Add the garlic and the crushed red pepper and saute for another 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off heat and allow to cool.
- In a large bowl combine the meats, eggs, Parmigiano, parsley and bread crumbs. It works well to squish the mixture with your hands. Add the onion mixture and season generously with salt and squish some more. Add the water squish to combine. The mixture should be quite wet.
- Test the seasoning of the mix by making a mini hamburger size patty and cooking it. The mixture should taste really good! If it doesn't it is probably missing salt. Add more.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Shape the meat into desired size. Coat a large saute pan with olive oil and bring to a medium-high heat. Brown the meatballs on all sides. Place them on a cookie sheet and bake them in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked all the way through.
- Add them to the big pot of marinara sauce. To serve, toss spaghetti with pasta and scoop meatballs (along with more sauce) over the top.
Makes 18-20 meatballs and 2 quarts of sauce.
- Pasta, Main Dishes