My second son has been hounding me to make spaghetti and meatballs. Everytime I said I was going to make them, I ended up making spaghetti and meat SAUCE instead. I know he loves the meatballs but he doesn’t know the time it entails to make them. Meat sauce is easy, fast, and I can make it without much planning. Even though he does help me crush the tomatoes, it doesn’t shave off that much time 😉 Making meatballs, at least good meatballs, takes time.
I’ve made tons of meatballs and followed dozens of recipes in the past. But I find Lidia Bastianich’s recipe easy to make and uses simple ingredients that produce juicy meatballs. I love watching Lidia Bastianich’s show on PBS or the Canadian equivalent of public television. It’s just so comforting watching her describe and cook her Italian dishes. When I search for “Lidia Bastianich meatballs”, lots of different recipes show up. The recipes are all slightly different but I found this one is the closest to the one I saw on her show.
Spaghetti and meatballs is a comforting dish that I wish I could make more often. It always brings a smile to my kids’ faces. When they heard that I was making spaghetti and meatballs, they got so excited and gave me big hugs and kisses. This Memorable Dish is a tribute to my Bubby. This dish definitely describes him to the core. Round (his round face) and comforting. 🙂
- For Meatballs:
- 1 medium Carrot, coarsely chopped
- 2 stalks Celery, coarsely chopped
- 2 medium Onions, coarsely chopped
- 1 pound ground Beef
- 1 pound ground Pork
- 1 pound ground Veal
- 2 large Eggs, beaten
- 1/2 cup Parsley, chopped
- 2 cups Bread Crumbs
- 1 tbsp Kosher Salt
- For Sauce:
- 1/4 cup extra virgin Olive Oil
- 1 medium Onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 2 tsp Kosher Salt, plus more as needed
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 1/2 tsp Peperoncino
- 3 (28-ounce) cans San Marzano Plum Tomatoes, crushed by hands in large bowl
- 1 pound Spaghetti
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- In a food processor, combine the carrot, celery and onion. Pulse to make a fine-textured paste or pestata.
- Scrape the pestata into a large bowl and add the remaining meatball ingredients.
- Mix well with your hands to combine all of the ingredients.
- Roll into golf ball sized meatballs and place on baking sheets approximately 1/2 inch apart. You should fit approximately 24 meatballs on your baking tray. This recipe yields about 4 dozen (48) meatballs.
- Bake meatballs until browned all over, about 18 to 20 minutes. The meatballs do not need to be entirely cooked through because they will cook more in the sauce.
- While the meatballs are baking, begin the sauce.
- In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
- Add the onion and sauté until softened about 5 minutes.
- Add 1 teaspoon of salt and peperoncino. Let the peperoncino toast for a minute.
- Add the crushed tomatoes. Slosh out the tomato cans and bowl with 4 cups of hot water and add to the pot.
- Add bay leaf and remaining teaspoon of salt.
- Bring sauce to a simmer while the meatballs finish baking, about 10 minutes more.
- When the meatballs have finished baking, gently add them to the sauce and return to a simmer.
- Simmer, shaking the pan periodically to move but not break the meatballs, until sauce is thick and flavourful, about 30 minutes.
- Add 1 pound of spaghetti to boiling salted water. When the pasta is al dente, drain with tongs and add directly to half of the sauce.
- Toss and serve immediately with some grated Grana Padano or Parmesan cheese.
- Top with meatballs and extra sauce to your taste.
Note #1: You could use two out of the three combination of meats. If you like, substitute ground turkey for one of the meats but be aware that the meatballs might be a little bit drier because it has less fat.
Note #2: The original recipe has 1 teaspoon of ground oregano in it. I omitted it so that I can use my extra meatballs for different recipes.
Note #3: After baking the meatballs, I freeze the extra ones to be used in other recipes.