; Supermarket Serenade: Real Meatballs and Spaghetti

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Real Meatballs and Spaghetti

Valentine's Day is just around the corner so I'm sure many of you are trying to think of the perfect romantic meal to prepare for your special someone. Look no further. Spaghetti and meatballs is the perfect dish for lovers everywhere.

Spaghetti and meatballs immediately brings to mind for me the most romantic scene from an animated feature film...you know, "The Spaghetti Scene" from Lady and the Tramp. Lady and Tramp sharing that single strand of spaghetti eating, slurping gently, just until their lips meet...ah Bella Notte.

It's Barefoot Thursday-that day twice a month when bloggers everywhere prepare a recipe created by the Barefoot Contessa herself, Ina Garten. Today's romantic selection was the choice of Rebecca from Ezra Poundcake.

While I love spaghetti (probably too much), I have never been a fan of meatballs-I don't like my beef mixed with eggs and bread...I suppose it's a texture thing. That being said, I still made the meatballs because my family have long been meatball lovers and sadly (because I don't like meatballs) they rarely have the homemade ones so this was a true treat. The meatballs were a hit-flavorful and moist. I made them smaller so I had about 30 meatballs-not to worry I froze some of them so my family will not have to wait so long for homemade meatballs again. The sauce however was a different story. While flavorful, the sauce came out too chunky and watery...probably because I mistakenly bought whole canned tomatoes instead of crushed.

Overall you can't really go wrong with spaghetti and meatballs...I ended up stirring in a little bit of jarred sauce to thicken up the sauce and that helped. This recipe like most of Ina Garten's recipes was solid and genuine...a keeper.

Real Meatballs and Spaghetti
Recipe by Ina Garten from The Barefoot Contessa Family Style

1/2 pound ground veal
1/2 pound ground pork
1 pound ground beef
1 cup fresh white bread crumbs (4 slices, crusts removed)
1/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 extra large egg, beaten
Vegetable oil
Olive oil
For the sauce:
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
1 1/2 teaspoon 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 flat leaf parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For serving:
1 1/2 pounds spaghetti, cooked according to package directions
Freshly grated Parmesan
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 skillet to a depth of 1/4 inch. Heat the oil. Very carefully, 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 meatballs to a plate covered with paper towels. Discard the oil but don't clean the pan.
For the sauce, heat the olive oil in the same pan. Add the onion and saute over medium heat until translucent, 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 bite in the pan, until almost all the liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, parsley, salt, and pepper.

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


The Blonde Duck said...

I love meatballs! So tasty!

Donna-FFW said...

Spaghetti and Meatballs classic favorite here. The dish certainly looks delicious!!! Chunky sauce suits me fine. YUM!!

Katherine Aucoin said...

The veal in the meatballs puts them over the top. I love homemade spaghetti and meatballs.

Anonymous said...

I was just talking to Chocolatchic and telling her I thought it was watery too! I don't know what happened there. Yours looks fantastic!


Dawn said...

My all time favorite dish! Awesome job here, really!

That Girl said...

For Valentine's Day every year we used to go to this chain - The Old Spaghetti Factory. They didn't take reservations, they were super cheap, and I loved having spaghetti and meatballs!

Penny said...

Like you, I had trouble with the sauce. But it was more the fact that there wasn't enough of it Your photos look great.

Lisa said...

I can't believe you don't like meatballs. Mine are on the stove right now. I used a different meatball recipe becuase I had some already frozen in the freezer and just made the sauce.

Anonymous said...

This is a great Valentine's dish! Do you remember the scene in Disney's "Lady and the Tramp" when the dogs are sharing spaghetti and meatballs and they meet in the middle with a spaghetti noodle?
Very romantic scene, I think, especially for a Disney cartoon...hahahaha!

Tonya @ What's On My Plate said...

I made the same tomato mistake and bought whole ones... my sauce was also watery :(

Jennifer said...

Nice job. This reminds me that it is time to make my turkey meatballs...this time I am using some of your suggestions. :)

Veggie Mom said...

This looks like comfort food with a twist-I'll bet that nutmeg lends a little bit of kick to the meatballs, oui?

Anonymous said...

We really liked the meatballs and the sauce, I think using crushed tomatoes must make all the difference. I froze some of the meatballs, too!