Friday, December 5, 2008

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Cook Time: 1 hr
Level: Easy
Yield: 4 to 6 servings


* Extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 onion, chopped
* 2 garlic cloves, smashed
* 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh parsley leaves
* 1 cup milk
* 4 thick slices firm white bread, crust removed
* 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
* 1 1/2 pounds ground pork
* 1 large egg
* 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
* Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 4 cups heated Pomodoro Sauce, recipe follows, or good quality
jarred tomato sauce
* 1/2 pound mozzarella cheese, cut into chunks
* Leaves from 3 sprigs fresh basil
* 1 pound spaghetti


Bring a big pot of salted water to a boil for the spaghetti. Heat 3
tablespoons oil in an ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the
onion, garlic, and parsley and cook until the vegetables are soft but
still translucent, about 10 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and let

Pour enough milk over the bread in a bowl to moisten and let it soak
while the onions are cooling. Combine the meats in a large bowl. Add
the egg and Parmigiano and season generously with salt and pepper. Use
your hands to squeeze the excess milk out of the bread and add that to
the bowl along with the cooled onion mixture. (Hang onto the pan -
you'll need it to cook the meatballs.) Gently combine all the
ingredients with your hands or with a spoon until just mixed together.
Don't overwork or the meatballs will be tough. Divide into 10 equal
pieces and shape them into 10 nice looking meatballs.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat a 3-count of oil in the frying pan over medium heat and brown the
meatballs on all sides, about 10 minutes. Put them into a baking dish
and spoon about half of the tomato sauce over. Shower with the
mozzarella and drizzle with olive oil. Put the meatballs in the oven
and bake until the meatballs are cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in the boiling water until al dente,
about 8 minutes. Drain and put it onto a large serving platter. Pour
on the rest of the sauce and mix well. Spoon the meatballs on top of
the spaghetti and garnish with basil leaves. Serve immediately along
with extra cheese.

Pomodoro Sauce:

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped

2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes, drained and
crushed by hand, liquid reserved

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the
onion and garlic and cook until the vegetables are soft, 4 to 5
minutes. Carefully add the tomatoes (nothing splashes like tomatoes)
and about 1/2 cup of the reserved liquid and season with salt and
pepper. Cook until the sauce is thick, about 15 minutes. Taste and
adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring for a
few minutes with a wooden spoon to further break up the tomatoes.
Reduce the heat and let simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Stir in the fresh
basil and season again.

Yield: 4 cups

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