Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti and Meatballs

One would think that since I have a food blog, dinner is always a happening, gastronomic event in our home. Wouldn’t that be nice? However, as any multi-tasking writer/parent may attest, after a day of meeting deadlines, planning a cooking class, driving kids to and from activities, bringing the dog to the vet and paying bills, dinnertime rolls around and the “what’s for dinner?” question looms with a blank stare in response. The most unfair aspect of this situation is that the supermarket was bypassed on the way to the vet, and I have spent a good part of the day immersed in the food web drooling over photos and recipes by many talented bloggers. So to add misery upon misery, not only is the family famished and the refrigerator empty, I am craving a delicious home-cooked meal worthy of TasteSpotting.

Yesterday this was the case. It was 6 pm, and I had no idea what to make for dinner. We were hungry, and the usual salad with cheese seemed so … wimpy. I pictured something warm and filling, a sturdy meal to feed a family. Peeking in the freezer, I spied a pound of frozen beef, and suddenly envisioned a Lady and the Tramp style platter of spaghetti with steaming red sauce and meatballs. The cook in me said, “Why not?” All the necessary ingredients were in the pantry. It would take less than an hour to prepare the meatballs and sauce, while filling the kitchen with tantalizing aromas as it simmered. I would rally and fight my fatigue. The reward was a perfectly delicious and rustic family-style dinner to launch the new week.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Adapted from a recipe by Ina Garten. I used all beef for the meatballs (that’s what was in the freezer!) Feel free to substitute some of the beef with veal or pork. Serves 4.

For the meatballs:
1 pound ground beef (or 1/2 pound beef, 1/2 pound veal or pork)
3 slices prosciutto, minced
1 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 large egg, lightly beated
1/3 cup warm water
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

For the sauce:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 –  28 ounce can Italian plum tomatoes with juice
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 pound spaghetti, cooked according to package instructions
Finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for serving
Whole basil leaves for garnish

Combine the beef, prosciutto, breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley, oregano, salt pepper and nutmeg in a bowl. Add the egg and water and mix in with your hands. Lightly form into 1 1/2 inch meatballs.
Heat olive and vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat. Carefully add the meatballs in batches, without overcrowding. Brown on all sides, turning gently with tongs or a spatula. Remove and set aside on a plate lined with a paper towel. When all of the meatballs are browned, pour off the oil. Without cleaning the skillet, add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add onion and saute until softened, 3 minutes. Add garlic and saute 1 minute. Add wine and cook, scraping up any brown bits, until reduced by 2/3. Add tomatoes, breaking them up with a spoon. Add tomato paste, oregano, salt and pepper. Return meatballs to the skillet. Cover and simmer over low heat until the meatballs are cooked through, about 30 minutes.
Serve over cooked spaghetti, garnished with grated cheese and basil leaves.

15 thoughts on “Spaghetti and Meatballs

  1. I love your site! Your photos are gorgeous and your spaghtti and meatballs look fantastic. I love anything Ina so I know that it has to be delicious!

  2. What a gorgeous plate of spaghetti! I love the idea of proscuitto in the meatballs…delish. Your photos are truly worthy of Tastespotting 🙂

  3. As my blog title might suggest, I LOVE classic comfort food, but spaghetti and meatballs is at the top of my list. Yours looks so tempting and delicious, Lynda, and I love your simple recipe. Thanks for sharing! I’m so glad I found your beautiful blog and am going to explore more of your recipes! 🙂

  4. I think there’s something wonderful in enjoying the quotidian, perhaps as a refresher in between all of our creative experiments in the kitchen. And I’m sure you do wonders with the humble meatball.

  5. Good for you, Lynda, pulling this dish together on a whim at the end of a long day. Your photos are bursting with flavor as always, deliciously done! – s

  6. Your pictures are just beautiful. I love the wine cork and the regular glass of wine. So pretty. Great looking recipe too. I don’t have kids and still getting dinner done every night after work can be a challenge, so I can only imagine.

  7. Spaghetti and meatballs are one of my favorites since childhood. This recipe sounds delicious and I just love your photos. I’m going to add your recipe to my features for Wednesday. Have a great weekend.

  8. I was looking for a good spaghetti and meatballs recipe to make this weekend and this looks perfect. Can’t wait to try it.

  9. That certainly looks very delicious! I really love this dish not just because it is very appetizing but because it is very easy to prepare. Thank you for this recipe. I will certainly have this a try. I am pretty sure that the kids will love this.

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