Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti and meatballs

About as Italian American as you can get.  I’ll be gone to Phoenix this weekend, and wanted to make a large enough batch of something I know John will gladly eat rather than going out for KFC.  Put on “Ole Blue Eyes” or Louis Prima, pour some Chianti into a stubby trattoria glass, get out the spoon and fork and you’ll swear you were in Little Italy in a City on the East Coast.  This recipe feeds eight or one very hungry husband throughout a football-laden weekend.

Meatballs

  • ½ cup coarse bread crumbs (I save stale bread – broken into pieces, whirl it in the food processor, put it in a plastic bag, and place it in the freezer until it’s needed)
  • ½ cup non-fat milk
  • ½ cup liquid egg substitute (i.e. egg beaters)
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • ½ cup shallots, minced
  • 3 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano minced
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef

Sauce

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound mushrooms sliced
  • ½ green pepper chopped
  • 1 28-oz can tomato puree (or whole tomatoes whirled in food processor or blender
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh oregano and basil, respectively
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Spaghetti

  • 1 pound dry spaghetti
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Additional parmesan cheese for topping
  • Additional chopped parsley for topping

 Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Pour milk over bread crumbs to soften them.  While they are softening, mince garlic, shallots and oregano, chop parsley.  Add eggs, garlic, shallots, 3 tbsp parmesan cheese, organo, parsley, salt and pepper to crumb mixture.  Mix well with a spoon.  Add ground beef and mix well with your hands.

 Cover the broiler pan with foil for easy clean up. Place broiler rack above it and spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Using your hands, form the meat mixture into 1-1/2 inch meatballs.  This recipe makes 24 meat balls.  Place on the rack, leaving space between them and put in the preheated oven.  Bake for about 15 minutes or until the meatballs are lightly browned.  (Traditional recipes call for frying the meatballs, but I find this allows the fat to drain away, and they aren’t as greasy).

 While meatballs are baking, in a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onions, garlic, mushrooms and green pepper.  When soft, add puree, wine and herbs.  When the mixture comes to a boil, lower heat and simmer.  Salt and pepper to taste.  When meatballs are browned, add them to the sauce and continue to simmer until the pasta is done (if you are pressed for time, you can use a premade pasta sauce, just add 8 oz drained canned sliced mushrooms and meatballs).

 In a large pot heat plenty of water so spaghetti has room to move around freely.  Bring to a boil, add oil, salt, and spaghetti.  Stir frequently to prevent sticking.  Cook about 10-12 minutes until al dente.  Drain spaghetti well, spoon sauce on top and mix well.  Serve on plates topped with meatballs, extra parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.  Phoenix here I come!

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