Spaghetti and Meatballs
Spaghetti and Meatballs has to be one of the all-time family favorites, loved by children and adults alike.
Lots of people serve this dish once a week and in some homes the Sunday Special is the pot of ‘Gravy’ simmered on the stove for hours filled with giant meatballs and served in a large bowl as a featured table side dish or mixed with any variety of pasta from raviolis to plain old thin spaghetti.
Making one’s own tomato sauce from fresh tomatoes has its merits and is incomparable during the summer months roasting off fresh juicy tomatoes, whizzing them up and straining before use or plunging plum tomatoes in boiling water, removing the skins and simmering with a variety of vegetables.
Still, during the cooler months or otherwise, using a broad variety of canned or jarred tomato products is one of the most family friendly, easiest of dishes to produce and totally delicious too.
The best food preparations are anything that produces a truly rich and satisfying flavor enjoyed by you, your family, and friends.
When preparing Spaghetti and Meatballs using canned or jarred tomato versions I simply begin warming the olive oil, and gently heating some garlic for a few minutes before stirring in the tomato paste, seasonings then adding in the red wine. Red wine in tomato sauce for spaghetti and meatballs is a must for it provides fuller body and richer depth of flavor to the sauce.
After the red wine reduces, I then add in the canned whole tomatoes, chopped with the juice. If I have any extra soft tomatoes in the refrigerator, I chop them up and throw those in too cooking down fully before adding in the tomato puree.
Some folks end the sauce addition process here perhaps adding in more tomato puree before the long simmer begins but this is where I add in a jar of Marinara. To me, finishing off the sauce with the bottled tomato sauce is kind of like the red wine, adding fuller body and rounding out the flavor. Try it. You’ll like it.
I also bake my meatballs rather than fry them, cooking until just done or a little underdone before adding them to the sauce. While firming up simmering in the sauce, the meatballs add in another dimension of flavor and all combined what a treat.
Besides being so easy to prepare with such flavorful outcome, meatballs in sauce make a great side dish too or a tasty meatball sandwich on a roll topped with some provolone.
Sauce with meatballs also freezes well prepared in advance of an event or even just for a busy weeknight thawed before using.
Today with so many food choices including many other flavor dishes from around the world I tend not to make Spaghetti and Meatballs as often. Still with the easy combination of cans and jars transformed to the rich and satisfying flavors in this family friendly comfort dish, Spaghetti and Meatballs will always remain an all time favorite!
- Preparing the Tomato Sauce:
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt, or more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 1 six ounce can tomato paste, plus one can of water filled after emptying the tomato paste can
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 28 ounce can tomato puree
- 1 28 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, chopped
- 1 24 ounce jar good quality Marinara Sauce
- For Preparing the Meatballs:
- 5 pounds ground beef
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 3/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
- 1 teaspoon each oregano, kosher salt, fresh cracked pepper
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 3/4 cup chopped parsley
- 1/2 cup fresh chopped basil
- For Assembling the Spaghetti and Meatballs:
- 1 16 ounce box thin spaghetti
- Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
- Preparing the Sauce: Heat a large pot on very low temperature, add olive oil, swirl to cover the bottom of the pan, add in the garlic, cook for a minute then sprinkle in the oregano, garlic powder, salt, and pepper, stir, cook for forty-five seconds
- Add in tomato paste, stir, cook a minute or until heated through, pour in the red wine, stir, increase heat to medium and reduce by half
- Stir in the water from the tomato paste can, the chopped whole tomatoes with juice and the tomato puree, cook until hot, reduce temperature back down to lowest heat, pour in 1 jar of Marinara sauce, stir, add meatballs to sauce, stir,
- Continue to simmer on very low heat for about an hour and a half or longer, stirring occasionally to prevent sauce from sticking to the bottom of the pan
- Preparing the Meatballs: Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- In a large bowl, mix the ground beef with the bread crumbs Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, salt and pepper, pour in the milk and water and blend thoroughly, sprinkle in the parsley and basil and mix throughout, shape meatballs and set onto a baking sheet, bake fifteen to twenty minutes then gently add into the simmering Tomato Sauce
- Assembling the Spaghetti and Meatballs: Cook spaghetti in salted boiling water to el dente, top with Meatballs and Sauce
- Pass around fresh grated Parmesan Cheese for the finish