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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Spaghetti and Meatballs

I have an easygoing style of cooking.  I estimate rather than measure most ingredients.  I improvise when I discover I'm out of an ingredient (though that rarely happens) and I modify recipes to accommodate peoples' preferences.  As a result I have a difficult time giving specific instructions for certain recipes, especially original recipes.

Tonight I had to look up a recipe that I generally cook from memory.  I don't measure anything when I make this.  I pour a little cheese in, drizzle some olive oil, and sprinkle some spices.  I looked up the original so that you could have some actual measurements for these delicious meatballs and the sauce that goes with them.

Give yourself lots of time with this recipe because the sauce needs to simmer for a couple of hours in order for the flavors to develop.  These meatballs can be frozen raw if you don't plan on eating them all.  The leftovers also make great sandwiches.  We also make a version of this that is a baked with pasta shapes with mini meatballs.  Bailey likes food that is just her size.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

For the sauce:
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (28 oz.) can tomato puree
2 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp sugar
about 1/2 cup water

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

To serve:
1 box freshly cooked pasta
Parmesan cheese

Place a large pot on the stove over medium heat.  Add the olive oil and the onion and cook about 5-8 minutes, until the onion becomes tender.  Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add the tomato sauce and puree, the parsley, basil, oregano, salt, and sugar.  Add enough water to thin the sauce to your desired consistency.  I usually go with about 1/4 cup.  Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.  The sauce should simmer for about 2 hours.

Start the meatballs about 1 hour before serving.  Combine 1/4 cup bread crumbs and milk in a medium mixing bowl.  Let sit for about 10 minutes.  Add all of the remaining ingredients and mix until combined.  Form the mixture into meatballs.  I usually get 16-20 regular sized meatballs.  Add the meatballs to the sauce and allow them to simmer in the sauce for about 35-45 minutes.  (Honestly, I usually make the meatballs as soon as the sauce starts to simmer and let them cook for most of the 2 hours.  I like that they absorb the flavors of the sauce.)

Serve over pasta and top with Parmesan cheese if desired.

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