I’m a pasta-holic! Any way to jazz it up and give it a new twist, I’m there! However, you have to start with the basics before you can advance to the pros! So let’s make some Spaghetti and Meatballs!
1 pound ground beef , ground turkey, or ground chicken (or you can combine 1/3 pound each of ground beef, pork, and veal if you like the flavor combo)
½ cup white bread crumbs
¼ cup seasoned Italian bread crumbs
2 tbs fresh flat leaf parsley chopped
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
1 ¼ tsp Kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 cloves grated garlic
½ of a small white or yellow onion –grated
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Fresh Mozzarella (go for either a log or ball because it has less moisture, but if you prefer the kind in water that is okay as well, pat it dry with paper towel really well, and let sit for about 15-20 minutes to ensure total dryness) cut into little cubes (approximately a 1 cm x 1 cm cube – about half the size of something you would find on a cheese plate)
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ of a small white or yellow onion chopped (use the remaining portion from the meatballs)
3 cloves minced garlic
½ cup chicken stock
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon fresh flat leaf parsley chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt (add more or less to your tasting)
½ teaspoon black pepper (add more or less to your tasting)
½ tablespoon fresh oregano chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried)
½ tablespoon fresh thyme chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried)
16 ounce box (1 box) of your favorite spaghetti cooked according to package
Grated parmesan cheese
Now let’s start cooking!!!
Preheat oven to 400 degrees, line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and spray with cooking spray (you may need 2 sheets depending on the size of your meatballs). Also start boiling your pot of water for the spaghetti.
In a bowl, combine all the ingredients for the meatballs EXCEPT the mozzarella. Add 1/3 cup of warm water to the bowl as well. Combine all ingredients in bowl very lightly with a fork. It is highly important not to over mix – otherwise you will have tough meatballs. Now, for your pro step! Take a piece of the cubed mozzarella (this is going to be the center of your meatball). Using your hands, lightly form the meatball mixture around the mozzarella into a 1 – 1 ¼ inch meatball, as you make each meatball place it on your baking sheet. ***NOTE*** it is important to make sure the mozzarella is well sealed within the meatball; otherwise it will leak out of the meatball. You should be able to make about 15- 20 meatballs, however more or less is okay! Once all meatballs are formed place in the oven and cook for about 20-25 minutes.
While the meatballs are baking, prepare the sauce. But first, season your pasta water with a generous heaping of salt, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and drop spaghetti into the water.
In a large skillet (about 12”) or even the Rachel Ray type sauté pan (which ever you have is fine) heat the olive oil. Add the onions and sauté over medium heat until translucent, this will take about 5 to 10 minutes. Be careful not to burn. If you find that they are cooking to fast and starting to brown turn heat down to medium low. Once onions are translucent, add the garlic and cook for about a 1 minute, if you turned the heat down to medium low, raise it back up to medium. Add the chicken stock and cook on high heat, combining the onions and garlic. Let the liquid boil a little; along with reduce/evaporate about 3-5 minutes. Turn the heat back down to medium, stir in the tomatoes, parsley, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper. Your meatballs should be done cooking by now, reduce the heat on the sauce to low and let all the flavors get happy together while you are waiting for the meatballs. Once the meatballs are done, remove from the oven, let them cool for a minute or two and then with a pair of tongs, gently place them into the sauce mixture. Gently coat the meatballs with sauce, and allow simmering on med-low for 5 minutes.
While the sauce is simmering drain your pasta. Plate out your portions of pasta, and pour the wonderful meatballs and sauce over the spaghetti, top it off with some parmesan cheese! As you dig into the meatball, enjoy the oozing of the mozzarella center :-) That my friends, is a scrumptious serving of spaghetti and meatballs!!!