Sunday, May 21, 2006

Real Meatballs & Spaghetti

This is an excellent and easy recipe. I made it for Kevin's double-nickel birthday.

This is not something my mother made when I was growing up, so I had to do some research about spaghetti and meatballs. the best idea came from the famous New York Italian restaurant call Roao's; they add water to the meatballs, which keeps them moist and delicious. I may not be Italian, but this has definitely become a staple in my house. --Ina Garten

For the Meatballs

1/2 pound ground veal (I didn't have any veal so I used 3/4 pound of pork and 1 pound of ground round)
1/2 pound pork
1 pound ground beef (ground round)
1 cup fresh white bread crumbs (4 slices, crusts removed)
1/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs (I used plain Panko)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teasopoon ground nutmeg (I omitted this)
1 extra-large egg, beaten
Vegetable oil
Olive oil

For the Sauce

1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion, chopped fine)
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup good red wine, such as Chianti
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, or plum tomatoes in puree, chopped*
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (I didn't use this much salt)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For Serving

1 1/2 pound spaghetti, cooked al dente (I found 1 pound was almost too much for the amount of sauce)
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Place the ground meats, both bread crumbs, parsley, Parmesan, salt, pepper, nutmeg, egg, and 3/4 cup warm water in a bowl. Combine very lightly with a fork. Using your hands, lightly form the mixture into 2-inch meatballs. You will have 14 to 16 meatballs.

Pour equal amounts of vegetable oil and olive oil into a large (12-inch) skillet--I used my big Le Crueset pot--to a depth of 1/4 inch. Heat the oil. Very carfully, in batches, place the meatballs in the oil and brown them well on all sides over medium-low heat, turning carefully with a spatula or a fork. This should take about 10 minutes for each batch. Don't crowd the meatballs. Remove the meaballs to a plate covered with paper towels. Discard the oil but don't clean the pan.

For the sauce, heat the oilve oil in the same pan. Add the onion and saute over medium heat until transulcent, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the wine and cook on high heat, scraping up all the brown bits in the pan, utnil almost all the liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, parsely, salt, and pepper.

Return the meatballs to the sauce, cover, and simmer on the lowest heat for 25 to 30 mintues, until the meatballs are cooked through. Serve hot on cooked spaghetti and pass the grated Parmesan cheese.

*I like to use D.O.P. tomatoes; they're expensive but worth the price.

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