Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Spaghetti and Meatballs--Classic Timeless Cuisine

One of the first recipes I asked my mother for after I left home was her spaghetti sauce recipe.  It had quite a history.  She got it many years earlier from a neighbor, who in turn got it from an Italian immigrant.  Or so the story went.

Now, I have good news and bad news.

Somewhere in my life's travels I lost the recipe.

The good news, I have tweaked it over the years, and have committed it to memory.

I decided to try a variation this time around.  Instead of meat sauce, I decided to try it with meatballs.  The result--a classic, timeless dish that is both economical and delicious.

CLASSIC SPAGHETTI AND MEATBALLS

1 medium white or yellow onion -- chopped
3 or 4 cloves garlic -- chopped or pressed
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cans (15 oz) chopped tomatoes
4 or 5 cans, (6 oz) tomato paste
1 can tomato sauce (15 oz) -- optional
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons basil
3 tablespoons parsley
1 tablespoon rosemary or Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Saute chopped onions and garlic in olive oil in a large stockpot until the onions are soft and the garlic is slightly browned.  Add tomatoes and tomato paste.  If a thicker sauce is desired add another can or two of tomato paste.  For a thinner sauce add a can of tomato sauce.  Blend tomato mixture thoroughly.  Add sugar and seasonings, and bring to a slight boil.  Reduce heat to the lowest setting.  Allow sauce to simmer, stirring periodically, for approximately 3 to 4 hours.  Do not allow the sauce to scorch on the bottom of pan.  If necessary, turn heat off, briefly, and allow the sauce to cool slightly, then turn the heat back on to the lowest setting.

Meatballs

1 pound ground beef
1 pound sweet or mild Italian sausage
1 egg
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, if desired
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Remove sausage from casings, if necessary, and place it, along with the ground beef, in a large mixing bowl.  Add egg, bread crumbs and seasonings.  Mix thoroughly, either kneading by hand or with a large spoon, until all ingredients are well blended.  Roll meat mixture into golf ball sized meatballs and set them on a plate until all of the meat mixture has been rolled.  Gently place meatballs, one or two at a time, in a large spoon, and lower them into the sauce mixture.  If necessary, gently stir the sauce, being careful not to break the meatballs.  Simmer sauce on low for another 2 1/2 to 3 hours, again periodically stirring to keep the sauce from scorching. 

Prepare spaghetti, linguine, or your favorite pasta according to the package directions.  Serve with garlic bread.  Leftover sauce can be frozen.

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