Posts Tagged 'Spaghetti and Meatballs'

Update: Spaghetti and Meatballs

Maybe I should search for recipes on my blog before I write them up…  I was convinced that I’d never posted this recipe (one of my all-time favorites), but I did (in August of 2008).  However, since it’s so good and since I have a much-improved photo, I think it’s worthy of a repeat.  I made it recently for Dr. O and my friend Christopher; subsequently, Christopher has been signing me up for meatball throwdowns with friends’ Italian mothers, convinced I’ll win.  It’s a pretty amazing recipe.

In Dallas, I would routinely make this dish, along with Penne with Vodka Sauce, when we’d have dinner guests.  I always appreciated that I could make the meatballs ahead and have them waiting in the refrigerator; sautéing them and making the sauce was easy enough, even in the presence of company.  If you’re like my family (not a drop of Italian blood in us, yet we have Italian food for Christmas dinner), this could be a great option for a holiday meal.

Spaghetti and Meatballs
Serves 4 – 6
Prep time: 20 minutes | Total time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:
1 large egg
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 large onion, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
8 ounces ground pork
8 ounces ground dark-meat turkey
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
3/4 pound spaghetti

Method:
In a large bowl, whisk together egg, 1/4 cup water, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Stir in half the onion and half the garlic.  Add breadcrumbs, cheese, pork, turkey, and 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning.  Mix gently.  Form into 16 balls.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add half the meatballs; brown on all sides, 4 to 6 minutes.  Transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon.  Cook remaining meatballs in remaining tablespoon oil; remove meatballs.

Add remaining onion; cook over medium-low until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add remaining garlic and 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning; cook 30 seconds.  Season with salt and pepper.  Stir in tomatoes and 3/4 cup water.  Return meatballs; cover, and simmer until cooked through, about 20 minutes.  Remove meatballs.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook spaghetti according to package directions until al dente.  Drain, return to pot.  Toss with sauce; serve meatballs on top, sprinkled with more cheese.

Note:  If you have time, chill the meatballs for about 30 minutes before cooking them; this will help them keep their shape and make them easier to handle.

Source: Everyday Food, April 2004

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Oh, these meatballs are soooo good.  They’re super flavorful (thank the seasoning and the beautiful browning!), and Christopher characterized them as “fluffy,” as opposed to the super-dense meatballs you get with some recipes.  The sauce is garlicky deliciousness; just make sure you taste and season it to your liking before serving the dish.

TIPS:  This is a repeat from the original post, but at most grocery stores, ground pork and turkey come in 16-ounce packages, not 8-ounce packages.  In the interest of efficiency, I always double the meatball part of the recipe (making 32 meatballs) and freeze half of them.  When I’m ready to cook them, I just thaw them overnight in the refrigerator and start with the second step of the recipe.

Recipe link: Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Want to make someone feel really special this weekend? Make them one of my all-time favorite dinners – Spaghetti and Meatballs from the April 2004 issue of Everyday Food. I’ve been making this one for years, and I’m convinced that it’s one of the best spaghetti and meatball recipes out there.

These meatballs are a little unusual because there’s no ground beef in the recipe; they’re actually half turkey and half pork. (Perhaps that’s why they’re so good?) They’re also perfect for freezing, which makes me love them even more.

To make the meatballs, I whisked together 1 large egg, 1/4 cup of water, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a large bowl. I stirred in half of a large onion (finely chopped) and 3 minced garlic cloves. Next, I added 1/2 cup of plain dried breadcrumbs, 3/4 cup of finely grated Parmesan cheese, 8 ounces of ground pork, 8 ounces of ground turkey (93% lean is perfect), and 1/2 teaspoon of Italian dressing. Using clean hands, I gently combined the ingredients and formed the mixture into 16 balls. To achieve the best results possible, I put the meatballs on a plate, covered them with plastic wrap, and refrigerated them for 30 minutes before cooking.

When the chill time had passed, I heated 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. (I also put a pot of water on to boil so the pasta could cook while the meatballs and sauce simmered.) I added half of the meatballs to the skillet and browned them on all sides (about 5 minutes). I transferred the browned meatballs to a plate using a slotted spoon and repeated the process with a second tablespoon of olive oil and the remaining meatballs.

Once I had all the meatballs browned and on the plate, I added the second half of the onion (finely chopped) to the skillet, reduced the heat to medium-low, and cooked until it was soft (about 5 minutes). I added 3 minced garlic cloves and 1/2 teaspoon of Italian seasoning and cooked for 30 seconds. I seasoned the mixture with salt and pepper and then stirred in a 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes and 3/4 cup of water. I placed the meatballs in the sauce, covered the skillet, and simmered everything until the meatballs were cooked through (about 20 minutes).

Following package directions, I timed my spaghetti to cook during the last 12 minutes of meatball/sauce simmer time. I drained the spaghetti and placed it in a serving dish. When the meatballs had finished cooking, I removed them from the skillet, topped the spaghetti with the sauce, topped the sauce with the meatballs, and sprinkled it all with fresh grated Parmesan to serve.

These meatballs are just to die for. They’re moist and exceptionally well-seasoned, and they have great texture to boot. (As long as you use 93% lean turkey and give them the 30 minutes in the refrigerator, they’ll be firm enough to dish up but they’ll easily give way to a fork. No knives necessary!) Don’t even get me started on the sauce… It’s light, fresh, and perfectly garlicky. I would make it on its own to eat with pasta, meatballs or no meatballs. To me, spaghetti and meatballs is one of the classic comfort foods, and this recipe really – REALLY – does the dish justice. Mmmm!

TIPS: I’ve seen few meat counters that carry fresh ground turkey and pork, so I usually have to buy the meats in 1-pound packages. Since that gives me exactly twice the amount of meat I need, I just make a double batch of the meatballs and freeze them. I thaw them overnight when I’m ready to cook them, and I just start from the meatball-browning step of the recipe. When the meatballs are already ready to go, I can get this meal from stove to table in 30 minutes or less.

Recipe link: Spaghetti and Meatballs




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