Homemade Spaghetti and Meatballs

I feel any good Italian cook should be able to make a great spaghetti sauce. I have wanted to try for some time, but was concerned it wouldn't taste good enough for Justin, who is particularly picky about his "red sauce." He may be only 25% Italian, but his taste buds seem to claim otherwise. When I saw this recipe, I decided to go out on a limb and give it a try. When Justin finally went to the stove to give it the official taste test, I held my breath in anticipation of him saying, "Oh. It's... good," which in Justin-speak means, "thanks for cooking, but it's not quite what I was hoping for." After taking a heaping spoonful, he looked at me square in the eye and told me it was the best sauce he has ever had. I was shocked! We had a leftover jar of store-bought sauce in the fridge, and Justin was upset we have to eventually use it, instead of using my homemade sauce. The meatballs were also fantastic; they were the perfect compliment to the sauce. I will definitely be making this over and over again. Next time, I will double the batch so I can jar some in addition to freezing a couple individual batches. Definitely give this one a try!

Homemade Spaghetti and Meatballs

For the sauce:
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (29 oz.) can tomato puree
1 (29 oz.) can tomato sauce
2 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 cup of water
1 bay leaf (optional)

For the meatballs:
1 lb. ground beef or ground turkey
1/2 cup bread crumbs, divided
1/4 cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp. dried parsley
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. salt

To make the sauce, heat the olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion to the pot and saute' until tender, about 5-8 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, stirring, about 1 minute. Add the tomato puree, tomato sauce, parsley, basil, oregano, salt, sugar and water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Add bay leaf and let simmer with tilted lid for at least 2 hours.

To make the meatballs, in a medium mixing bowl, combine 1/4 cup of the bread crumbs with the milk. Let the bread crumbs soak for 10 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and mix thoroughly. Form the mixture into meatballs (I was able to make 20). Add the meatballs to the simmering sauce about 45 minutes before the sauce will be finished cooking. Let simmer with tilted lid for 45 minutes.

Remove bay leaf from sauce and discard, then remove meatballs with a slotted spoon. Using an immersion blender, blend sauce until smooth. If you don't have an immersion blender, scoop out 2 cups of the sauce and carefully blend in your traditional blender. Add meatballs back to sauce. Serve over freshly cooked pasta, with shredded Parmesan and fresh basil, if desired.

Source: adapted from Annie's Eats, originally Brown Eyed Baker


Lindsey Jo said...

i made this sauce to go with some stuffed shells. it was perfect! i just added some diced tomatoes, and of course doubled the recipe to freeze :D thanks for the blog. I'm making the mozzarella stuffed chicken tomorrow, looks delish!

Anonymous said...

Yum, yum, yum! We loved this. :)