One of my favorite comfort foods is spaghetti and meatballs. We like to make this on a Sunday and let it simmer for a while on the stove top. However, we can also make this on a weeknight when it doesn’t have as much time to simmer (and we don’t have as much time to make it) and it still tastes great. This is a basic recipe that we use, but to be honest every time that we make some it’s probably a little bit different depending on what we have in the pantry or the fridge. If we have some bread that needs to be used up we will use fresh breadcrumbs. If we are in a hurry we will use panko. Sometimes we will use straight ground beef and sometimes we will also add some pork. If we want to get really crazy we might use part Italian sausage. On any given day this dish can turn out in many different ways. It’s always good though and with some freshly grated cheese it’s a great meal for the whole family.
This is a recipe that Jim and I made together. He was mostly responsible for the meatballs and I put the sauce together. We hope you enjoy!
Spaghetti and Meatballs
1-1.5 lbs ground beef – we use lean and it tastes great
1/3 c onion minced
2 garlic cloves minced
1 tsp dried Italian herbs or a handful of fresh basil, oregano, parsley finely chopped
1/2 cup panko
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
You can also add some grated parmesan if you would like some more flavor.
Gently combine all ingredients and shape into golf ball sized meatballs. Cook on the stovetop in a little bit of olive oil until browned on all sides. Drain some of the fat and remove meatballs from the dutch oven to a plate.
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 red wine
Cook the onion in the fat that remains in the dutch oven until translucent. Add the red wine and reduce by almost half.
28 ounce can of good whole peeled tomatoes
14 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
3 garlic cloves minced
Salt, pepper dried or fresh herbs and sugar to taste.
Add the remaining ingredients to the onion/wine mixture adding only half of the paste at first. Break up the whole tomatoes with a potato masher. As the spaghetti cooks down add more of the paste to your own preferences. Add the meatballs back in. Let this simmer ideally one hour (longer is good), but if you have less time, that is fine, too. Serve over hot noodles and freshly grated parm. I use my microplane to shred the cheese.
If you want more sauce than this you can also add another can of sauce or some more diced tomatoes. If you want your sauce less chunky you can throw it in a blender and process.
**Note: if you want to make this more healthy use the lean ground beef and drain all of the fat and then use olive oil to saute the onions. Use whole wheat noodles – or the Barilla Plus noodles which is a good compromise. Also, instead of serving garlic bread serve with a veggie salad and toss with an olive oil based dressing. If you can’t live without the bread, get a whole wheat baguette and dip in some extra virgin olive oil flavored with herbs***
We have also added red peppers or zucchini into the sauce for more flavor. Mix it up to your own taste and enjoy!