Spaghetti and Meatballs

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Serving Size: 12
Prep Time:
Total Time:

A heaping platter of spaghetti and meatballs evokes a feeling of comfort—perfect for a family get-together. The stars of this dish are the meatballs, of course, and they don’t disappoint—lots of garlic and Parmigiano-Reggiano give them a robust flavor that stands up to the hearty tomato sauce.

 

For Tomato Sauce

  • 168 Ounce canned whole tomatoes in juice (preferably San Marzano)
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 0.5 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  1. Drain tomatoes, reserving juice in a large bowl. Crush tomatoes with your hands and add to juice.
  2. Cook onions in oil in pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes with their juice, 4 tsp salt, and 1 tsp pepper. Simmer sauce, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Season with salt.

For Meatballs

  • 1 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1.5 Pound ground beef (not lean)
  • 1.5 Pound ground pork
  • 1.5 Pound ground veal
  • 1 Tbsp grated lemon zest
  • 0.25 cup finely chopped oregano or 1 tsp dried, crumbled
  • 0.33 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3 cup whole milk
  • 3 cup torn day-old Italian bread
  • garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 0.5 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  1. Cook onions in extra-virgin olive oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl to cool.
  2. Soak bread in milk in another bowl until soft, about 5 minutes. Firmly squeeze bread to remove excess milk, discarding milk.
  3. Stir together cooled onion mixture, bread, eggs, parmesan, parsley, oregano, lemon zest, 5 1/2 tsp salt, and 1 1/2 tsp pepper until combined. Add meats to bread mixture, gently mixing with your hands until just combined (do not overmix).
  4. Form meat mixture into about 70 (1 1/2-inch) balls with dampened hands, arranging meatballs on 2 large baking sheets or in shallow baking pans.
  5. Heat olive or vegetable oil (1 cup) in a 12-inch heavy skillet (preferably nonstick) over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown meatballs in 4 or 5 batches (without crowding), turning frequently, about 5 minutes per batch. Return to baking sheets.
  6. Add meatballs to sauce and gently simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, 20 to 30 minutes. (If pot is not large enough, divide meatballs and sauce between 2 pots.)

For Pasta

  • 2 Pound dried spaghetti
  1. Cook spaghetti in 2 batches in pasta insert in boiling salted water (3 Tbsp salt for 6 qt water) until just al dente, draining and tossing each batch with some of sauce in a large serving dish.
  2. Serve with meatballs, remaining sauce, and grated cheese.

Garnish with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Cooks’ notes:
Meatballs can be made and simmered in sauce 5 days ahead and chilled (covered once cool).
Meatballs with sauce can be frozen in an airtight container or heavy-duty sealable bags up to 3 months.

Recipe by Maggie Ruggiero, Gourmet; photo by John Kernick.