July 14, 2010

Spaghetti and Meatballs...from scratch

My camera is broken. It must of have got sand in it while we were at the beach last weekend...the lens won't even open. I think Steve brought it in to get looked at, but in the meantime......

Instead of my terrible point and shoot pictures, you are going to be subjected to my terrible iPhone pictures!!! Hooray!!! Sorry. Anyway...

I wanted to make something special for the kids (by special, I mean delicious and healthy) for dinner on Tuesday night because: 1. I kinda like them, 2. I love to cook, and 3. I know Steve doesn't love to cook - especially on weeknights when he has the kids because time is so limited. I have been probing them about food lately (Do you like this? Do you like that? Have you ever tried this?), and found that they ALL like spaghetti...Katy and Chris with meatballs, Andy without (but he said he would be willing to pick them out).

Then, Steve's mom gave me a pile of fresh basil from her garden (as you will see in a future post, my basil is still limping along), and I promised Katy that I would make her something with it.

*Lightbulb!* I could make spaghetti and meatballs with fresh tomato basil sauce!!! Plus, I have large quantities of Steve's family's homemade Italian sausage in the freezer which would be perfect mixed with beef for the meatballs! It just seemed meant to be.

So, Monday after work I went to the grocery store, armed with my list.

I got home around 5:15pm and went to work.

Steve and the kids were out of town for soccer, so it was perfect. I could make the meal, put it in the fridge overnight, and then on Tuesday night while I was at yoga, Steve would have a delicious home-cooked meal to serve the kids.

Holy labor intensive, batman.

I have never made meatballs before...I usually prefer bulk hamburger, venison or sausage mixed in with my spaghetti.

And evidently I usually make real tomato sauce on weekends when I have plenty of time to cook. Or I just make it from canned tomatoes. Or something.

It was 9:30pm before I was done. And that didn't include cleaning up or letting the sauce cool enough to put it in tupperware.

Can you say "Meal of Love"???

All I could think was that they better really enjoy this dinner. Which, according to Steve - they did. Although, after finding out how much effort went in to it, I think he would be afraid to tell me anything different.

But I thought it was delicious! So I am going to share the recipe with you. Just be forewarned that this probably isn't a good weeknight meal...unless you don't have a job, or can start early afternoon. Enjoy!

Meatball! (Again - sorry for the terrible pics)

Yum! I used whole wheat fettuccine noodles because that was all I had. I told Steve to pick up some thinner pasta for the kids though.

My table for one, outside on the deck with a much needed glass of wine (I had to sample it before I fed it to the kids, right? I mean, what if it was disgusting?).

Spaghetti and Meatballs (serves 6 - 8)

  • 5 lbs fresh or frozen tomatoes, cored (And peeled if you desire. I didn't.)
  • 4 - 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons butter (or olive oil)
  • 4 whole carrots, chopped (I was sneaking veggies in! hee hee hee)
  • 1/2 cup of white wine (don't worry - the sauce cooked for about 4 hours, so the alcohol was gone)
  • 1 1/2 cups of fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar (depending on the sweetness of your tomatoes, you can adjust this)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 - 3 teaspoons of beef bouillon
  • dried or fresh oregano and thyme
  • 2 pinches of crushed red pepper flakes (adjust to your tastes)
 Melt butter in large sauce pan or soup pot (I use my enamel coated cast-iron dutch oven), saute onion, carrot and garlic until tender. Add wine, let simmer for 3 - 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and let cook for 1 - 2 hours, or until tomatoes are broken down (while this is cooking, you could assemble the meatballs...if you were smart...and didn't want to create a new playlist for your ipod to listen to while you were running). Reduce heat to low. Add basil and if desired, blend with an immersion blender until desired consistency is reached (you could also use a blender or food processor, or just chop tomatoes and basil into small pieces). Season with sugar, salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, and crushed red pepper.Continue cooking on low until you are ready to add the meatballs (see below).

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 lb. bulk Italian sausage
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs (or you could use regular bread crumbs)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of fresh grated Parmesan cheese (grate extra for topping pasta)
  • Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil for frying
Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix with hands until combined. Roll meatballs into golf ball sized pieces (I got almost 20), and set aside. Heat oil in a skillet over medium - medium high heat. Fry the meatballs in batches (don't crowd them) until they are browned on each size. This took me about 10 minutes per batch and I did it in 2 batches. When they are good and brown, place on a plate lined with paper towels to drain. After all meatballs are browned, increase sauce heat to simmering. Place meatballs in sauce, cover and let cook for 30 minutes.

While meatballs are cooking, cook spaghetti noodles until al dente, heat up some garlic cheese bread, and make a salad. Check the seasonings in the sauce one more time and add salt, sugar or spices if necessary. Serve spaghetti and meatballs with a generous topping of Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!!!

Printable Recipe

1 comment:

  1. i don't like labor intensive. your nuts.
    i prefer to get it premade(you?)he he