A good old-fashioned spaghetti and meatball recipe. I have ruined other meatballs for my children and myself with this meatball recipe. The recipe is originally from Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen cookbook but I have changed it and made it my own to make it simpler. It is the best meatball recipe I have found and I have become an expert at making them. It really isn’t as difficult as it looks, give it a try.
Picture above from our trip to Venice, Italy in 2018 and my daughter enjoying her spaghetti when she was 5 years old (2008)….both great memories.
- 2 35-ounce cans diced tomatoes
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1 tsp crushed hot red pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 pound ground pork
- 1/2 pound ground beef
- 1 cup fine, dry bread crumbs
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese + 2/3 cups for cooked pasta
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped fine
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- All-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 pound spaghetti
Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a 4- to 5-quart pot over medium high heat. Stir in the onion and cook, stirring, until wilted, about 4 minutes. Pour in the tomatoes, crushed red pepper and bay leaves, and season lightly with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat so the sauce is at a lively simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, crumble the pork and beef into a mixing bowl. Add the bread crumbs, 1/3 cup grated cheese, the parsley, and garlic over the meat. Beat the egg with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in a small bowl until blended. Pour over the meat mixture. Mix the ingredients with clean hands just until evenly blended. Don’t over mix. Shape the meat mixture into 1-1/2 inch balls.
Dredge the meatballs in the flour until lightly but evenly coated. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil and the vegetable oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Slip as many meatballs into the skillet as will fit without crowding. Fry, turning as necessary, until golden brown on all sides, about 6 minutes. Adjust the heat as the meatballs cook to prevent them from over browning. Remove the meatballs, and repeat if necessary with the remaining meatballs.
Add the browned meatballs to the tomato sauce and cook, stirring gently with a wooden spoon, until no trace of pink remains at the center of the meatballs, about 30 minutes.
Stir the spaghetti into the boiling water. Return to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook the pasta, semi-covered, stirring occasionally, until done, about 8 minutes.
Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Spoon in about 2 cups of the tomato sauce, tossing well until the pasta is coated with sauce. Remove from the heat and toss in 2/3 cup grated cheese. Check the seasoning, and add salt and pepper if necessary. Serve the pasta in warm bowls or piled high on a large warm platter. Spoon a little more of the sauce over the pasta, and pass the remaining sauce separately. Pass the meatballs family-style in a bowl, or top the bowls or platter of spaghetti with them.
Enjoy! I know you will love it.