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There is nothing ground breaking about Spaghetti and Meatballs but once you make it yourself, from scratch, you will never want to go back to using packaged, frozen meatballs with jarred sauce.
Yes that’s right, lets do this. A big heaping serving of spaghetti and meatballs with a glass of red wine, a little bread, and a nice salad. Life is good.
This is always a good choice to serve to dinner guests on a relaxed weekend evening, but there’s no reason why you can’t make a meal like this on a busy weeknight with a little advance planning.
Quite often at this time of year, I’m sitting out on a cold pool deck watching my boys play water polo when I should be home getting dinner going. Here is Boy #4 doing his thing one recent evening. On these nights, I’ve got to be sure to plan meals where most of the work can be done in advance. This is one of my many game night meals. There’s nothing better than coming home to a warm dish of spaghetti and meatballs on a cold night.
Here’s my take on this Italian classic.
I start with a basic red sauce that you’ll conveniently need to open a bottle of red wine for. You’ll only use a little for the sauce – the rest is to drink with the finished product. Get your sauce simmering. Easy, now on to the meatballs.
Here is all the good stuff you’ll mix together to make the meatballs. Lean ground beef, hot Italian sausage, a couple of eggs, some Italian style panko bread crumbs, Parmesan, fresh parsley, salt and pepper. When the boys were younger I used mild Italian sausage, but now that they like a little heat I use hot – you can use either.
Get your hands in there and mix away. Now on to forming the meatballs.
No need to fry them, just place them on a foil lined baking sheet and cook em’. Super easy clean up cause you can just toss the foil after.
Then drain them on some paper towels. Perfect, delicious meatballs.
Now here’s my super, duper make-ahead tip. At this point, carefully transfer the sauce and your lovely meatballs to a crock-pot. Put it on low and let it go.
This is what you’ll come home to. Just boil up some spaghetti, toss a quick salad, slice some bread, and dinner is served!
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Basic Red Sauce
- Olive oil as needed
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/2 small onion chopped
- 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
- Red wine enough to fill the tomato paste can
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- Water enough to fill crushed tomatoes can
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- About 1 teaspoon sugar if needed to cut acid
- 1 pound spaghetti cooked al-dente
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound ground mild or hot Italian sausage
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- 1/2 cup Italian flavored panko style breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley or 1 tablespoon dry parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
Basic Red Sauce:
- Add enough oil to heavy pot just to coat the bottom and place over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and cook, stirring, until onion has softened and is translucent. Add the tomato paste. Fill the tomato paste can with wine and pour into the pot. Add the crushed tomatoes. Fill the empty can with water and add the water to the pot. Add the parsley, basil, salt and pepper.
- Stir well and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if needed. Can add sugar to reduce acidity.
- While sauce is simmering, prepare the meatballs.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
- In a bowl mix together all ingredients. Get your hands in there and mix well.
- Form into meatballs. Place meatballs on foil lined baking sheet and bake for 15 - 20 minutes till cooked through. Drain cooked meatballs on a couple of layers of paper towels.
- After sauce has simmered about an hour, add meatballs to pot. Allow to simmer an additional 30 minutes. Serve over cooked spaghetti. Top with additional Parmesan cheese if desired.
Make ahead method: Meatballs can be made a day or two in advance. Just place them in a plastic storage bag and refrigerate till needed. Crock-Pot method: After sauce has simmered and cooked down for an hour, remove from heat and carefully transfer to a crock-pot. Add meatballs. Cover and cook on low setting till ready to serve.