Okay... I am new to this whole blogging thing, and I have already- within my first three posts- discovered the value of the "save" button. I had spent a good hour typing out perfect directions for perfect spaghetti and meatballs. I went to upload a picture, and my blog decides to perform an unwanted magic trick. And now... drumroll, please... the entire post will disappear with the push of a single button! I was not a happy camper. I protested retyping it, but this recipe needs to be shared with the world. I love it. My husband loves it so much that he dances around kitchen when he gets a mere waft of the unbelievable aroma that fills the kitchen while this bad boy simmers for 3-4 hours. S0- Here I am... again. I will save after every two sentences to make sure it doesn't get lost this time. And by the way- if you ever buy bottled spaghetti sauce, you need to stop. Now. This is loads better, and it really isn't much effort. It is well worth it. Mark my words. Enjoy!Here's a glimpse of what you are going to make!
Savory Spaghetti Sauce:
2 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1/2 stalk celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, fresh, minced
1 1/2 t each oregano, thyme, Italian seasoning, basil, black pepper
2 t salt
1 T brown sugar
1/2 t red pepper flakes, optional
6 oz tomato paste
2 15 oz. cans diced tomatoes
1/2 c water
1 T olive oil
Put the olive oil in a large saucepan or cast iron skillet. Add chopped onion, celery, and garlic. Cook over medium heat for two minutes. Add the seasonings. If you don't like your spaghetti sauce to have any kick, do not add the red pepper flakes. If you don't add the red pepper flakes, you really are missing out and may God have mercy on your soul. jk ;)
Put the diced tomatoes in a food processor and pulse a few times to smooth out any large chunks of tomato. I pulse quite a few times because I'm not a fan of big chunks in sauces of any kind. If your a chunky-liking type of person, there is no need to smooth them out. Add the tomatoes and the tomato paste to the pot and stir. Add the water and olive oil.
Simmer over low heat for 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally.
If you don't have 3-4 hours for it to simmer, it will still be delicious if it only simmers for 30 minutes. It just gets better the longer it sits in there and cooks.
Cheese stuffed Meatballs:
1/4 c dry bread crumbs
1/4 c Parmesan cheese
1 t parsley, oregano, thyme, and Italian Seasoning
1/4 t red pepper flakes, optional
3 T milk
1/4 c chopped onion
1 lb ground beef
mozzarella cheese (I used string cheese and cut it into 3/4 to 1 inch cubes)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Put everything but the ground beef in a mixing bowl. Mix it together. Crumble the beef over the mixture and squish it all together. Your hands will work best for this, but if that freaks you out, you can use a wooden spoon or something.
If it feels too wet, add some more bread crumbs. If it is too dry, add some more milk. To be honest, I didn't write down the amount of ingredients I used when I came up with this, so I'm playing it by ear. :)
Take a small handful of the meat mixture and put a piece of cheese in the middle. Press the meat mixture around the cheese to enclose it completely.
Place on a greased cookie sheet. Once all the meatballs are finished (it should make about 20 meatballs), bake them for 20 minutes.
While the meatballs are cooking, prepare the spaghetti noodles according to package directions. Drain the noodles.
I prefer to put the noodles in big bowl, add half of the sauce, and stir it up. Put the meatballs on top, add a little more sauce, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.
You can save half of the sauce for another time. I freeze it, and it keeps very well in the freezer for a few months.
I serve this with a green salad and french bread.
This is the cooked meatball. Yum! I mean, come on, who wouldn't love a cheese-stuffed meatball? Anything stuffed with cheese is better. A cheese-stuffed Twinkie? Bring it on! A Cheese-stuffed blueberry muffin? Why not!