Monday, September 17, 2012

Amazing Spaghetti and Meatballs

I think I have the pickiest child on the planet.  I'll spend two hours in the kitchen preparing an awesome five-course meal.  He'll look at his plate and tell me, "umm.. Mom, can I please have cereal instead?"  sigh.  Despite his pickiness, I can always rely on spaghetti and meatballs.  Everyone in the family loves that- especially this recipe.  The original recipe was from a Taste of Home cookbook for puttanesca sauce, but I omit the anchovies, olives, and capers to make it more similar to regular ol' spaghetti sauce.  I upped the garlic and oregano from the original recipe as well.  I've sort of made it my own, but I love it.  The flavor and consistency is the best.  This is also perfect sauce for Chicken Parmesan.  The meatball recipe is one I made up as well.  I don't claim it to be the best meatball in the world, but once it's covered in this sauce, they can't get much better.  Serve this with rosemary focaccia for a meal worthy of any Italian restaurant.  
 Amazing Spaghetti and Meatballs
source: adapted from pasta alla puttanesca from Taste of Home Cookbook- New Edition

3 T olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (14 1/2 oz) diced tomatoes, pureed in a blender or chopper
1 1/4 c water
1 can (6 oz tomato paste)
1 t dried basil
1 t dried parsley
1/2 t salt
1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 t dried oregano
1/4 t pepper

Thin Spaghetti Noodles

1/4 c Panko bread crumbs
3 T milk
1 lb ground beef
1 egg
1/4 c Parmesan cheese
1 T dried parsley
1 t oregano
1 t minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Once the oil is warm, add the onion.  Cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook another minute.

Add the tomatoes (You can put them in without pureeing them, but I don't like chunks).  Add the water, tomato, paste, and seasonings.  Bring it to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer.

The original recipe says to simmer for 10-15 minutes, but I let mine simmer for at least 1-2 hours.  That way, it thickens up and the flavors tend to blend a little better.  If you want to use fresh herbs instead, add them in during the last 20 minutes of simmering.

While it is simmering, prepare the meatballs.  Preheat the oven to 400.

In a large mixing bowl, add the panko bread crumbs.  Pour the milk over them. Let this sit for about ten minutes.  The milk will soak into the crumbs.  Crumble the ground beef over the top.  Add the remaining ingredients.  Mix well, but don't overmix.  If the mixture seems too wet, you can add some more Parmesan or some italian style breadcrumbs.

Shape them into golf ball-sized meatballs.

Place them on a aluminum foil-lined cookie sheet.

Bake for 25 minutes.

Once they're done, place them in the sauce.

Prepare the spaghetti noodles to 'al dente' according to package directions.  Drain.

Plop some noodles onto a plate, and top them with some sauce and meatballs.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
What is it about spaghetti and meatballs that is so delicious?

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