Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Spaghetti & Meatballs

Spaghetti and Meatballs

For those of you who aren't in the know, the newest season of one of the best shows ever started up again last night. That's right, The Bachelor.

Judge away, my friends - if you don't watch, you're missing out on one of the most glorious products of modern day television. Surely, most of you know the premise of The Bachelor, but in case you're a dude, or live in a country that doesn't televise this show, I'll summarize it for you: one handsome man and 25 beautiful women come together in a competition to find true love. Unintentional hilarity ensues. I don't watch sports unless there are appetizers and beer involved, so my desire to see televised competition is primarily satisfied by ABC's biannual train wreck.

Ladies, if you're single, prepare to feel really good about yourself, as many of these women fall firmly into what Barney Stinson refers to as the Shelly Gillespie Zone. I mean, one of these gals got hammered and attempted to reenact scenes from 50 Shades of Grey with a dude she just met. The entire time I was watching, I kept thinking "man, what would my mom say if I went on television and behaved like this?" At the end of the episode, Miss 50 Shades looks into the camera and says "don't be mad mom." Honey, I assure you that mad is an understatement for what your mother is probably feeling. The Bachelor himself, Sean, actually seems like a quality human being, so hopefully his final selection is among the non-wackadoos.

Anyway, episodes of The Bachelor are two hours a pop, so I decided to get myself some wine and make a big, hearty dinner to go along with it. This recipe isn't reinventing the wheel - it's a basic spaghetti and meatballs recipe, but it's hands down the best one I've ever tried. Most spaghetti and meatball recipes that I've tried call for simmering the meatballs in the sauce until they're cooked through, but I realized that frying the meatballs first makes a tremendous difference in flavor. Additionally, I will never go back to making meatballs with just ground beef. These contain both pork and beef, which is infinitely more delicious. This will be my go-to meatball recipe from now on!

Here's what you'll need:

For the meatballs:
3/4 pounds ground beef
3/4 pounds ground pork
4-5 cloves garlic, finely minced
3/4 cup bread crumbs (not panko)
2 eggs
3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
4 teaspoons dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
Black Pepper (a few shakes)
Splash of milk
1/2 cup olive oil

For the sauce:

1 yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
Black pepper (a few shakes)
4 teaspoons dried parsley

For serving:
Cooked spaghetti
Shaved Parmesan Cheese
Warmed, crusty bread and red wine! (I don't know jack about wine, but I drank Sangiovese with this because the bottle told me it was dry, and good with Italian food.)

In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the meatballs except for the olive oil. Don't overwork the mixture (this causes tough meatballs), but ensure all the ingredients are evenly distributed. Roll into 24 1 1/2-inch balls, and place on a wax paper lined cookie sheet. Place into the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up.

After the meatballs have chilled, heat 1/2 cup olive oil in a large cast iron dutch oven over medium heat. Brown meatballs 8 at a time, and drain on a paper towel lined plate after each batch. You're not looking to cook the meatballs through here, just give them some color.

In the same pan, add the onions and saute until translucent. Turn the heat to medium low, and add the garlic. Saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add in the remaining sauce ingredients. Stir to combine, and cook over medium low heat for 20 minutes, crushing the whole tomatoes as they cook.

Add the meatballs to the pot in a single layer, reduce heat to a simmer, and stir gently. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring gently a couple times while cooking.

To serve, toss cooked spaghetti with a small amount of sauce. Serve with meatballs, additional sauce, and parmesan.

Yield: 24 meatballs (I just made a small portion of pasta for one to go with this, but if you're serving a crowd, I'd make 2 pounds of spaghetti to go with this amount of sauce and meatballs.) 

Note: I use a large cast iron dutch ovenfor this recipe. If you're using a similar pot, the temperatures noted in the recipe will work just fine. I've found that this pot works best when using low to medium heat for cooking. If you're using a stainless or non-stick pan you may need higher temperatures to get the same results.

Source: Adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier

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  1. I'm a day late but watching The Bachelor now! Eeeek! So great :)

  2. Your description of The Bachelor might be the greatest thing ever. This spaghetti and meatballs looks delicious!!

  3. I've never tried red wine in red sauce -- sounds amazing!

    And I am always so fascinated by the women who go on the Bachelor. Like, what is their life plan? I went to college with this actually cool and smart girl who wound up on TWO episodes of Millionaire Matchmaker, and I just...had no words.

  4. OMG.....love your description! I dont watch it anymore but I used too. I think I just like seeing what a train wreck all the girls were....made me feel normal.

  5. Yes yes yes. To The Bachelor and this recipe!!

  6. Judging, totally judging... ;)

    This recipe looks great, definitely going to try it soon!

  7. I haven't watched the Bachelor in for-ever, but you may have convinced me to change my mind. HAHA! Those meatballs? Mad-crazy-good-look'n. And I love what you say about wine, I'm right there with ya. Happy NY doll.

  8. I think I watched the very first season of the bachelor...I get too rant-y for most reality tv, ha!
    Spaghetti and meatballs is definitely one of my favorite things ever. I love adding ground pork as well!

  9. Sounds like a great evening! This recipe looks awesome!

  10. Your balls look gorgeous! I agree with the different types of meat, add infinite flavor. I also watched the Bachelor. I felt the amount of shirtless shots in the first three minutes was waaaaayyyy too much. I am a fan of his nice bod, but that was just too much! That scene with him and Ari was too much! I love your HIMYM reference. Let's set a twitter date for the next episode!!!

    1. Yes! If I'm watching it live I'll tweet you for your thoughts :) By the way - the winner is posted on Reality Steve in case you're into spoilers!

  11. how did you know i've been on a mad search for the perfect meatball recipe to make for my boyfriend? this is fate. :)

  12. Yuuum, I have been craving spaghetti and meatballs and have plans to make it this weekend!

  13. That looks delish! I will be making something similar tonight :)

  14. Nothing like good spaghetti and meatballs, especially with a great show to watch while eating it!


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