Personal observation has led me to believe that spaghetti and meatballs is a very popular dish – in reality and fiction. The dish served as a the point of contention for Jigen and Lupin in The Castle of Cagliostro. Sadly, my experiences eating spaghetti prepared by other people, and most restaurants, has been unappetizing. I attribute this to a lack of sauce – specifically too little. Or it could be that the sauce is tasteless. Or I am just too picky of an eater. Today though, I am sharing one of the ways I prepare spaghetti and meatballs. Serve it in a mountainous pile and you’ll be emulating Jigen.
2 – 28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes
1 – 6 oz can of tomato paste (Unsalted)
6 – cloves garlic, minced or pressed (Frozen will work, as well.)
.5 cup – dry red wine or cooking wine (Cooking wine is very salty and not especially tasty, but it works when you have no real choice. You can smooth it out with one-two teaspoons of sugar.)
.5 cup – chopped onion
1 tbsp – fresh or frozen basil (if fresh or frozen not available, use dried)
1 tsp each – dried oregano, thyme, marjoram, and rosemary
1 tsp – Red pepper flakes (optional)
1 tsp – Olive Oil
Parmesan Cheese (for serving)
1. Heat the oil in a pan over medium-low heat and add onion. Once the onion begins to soften, add garlic. Cook until fragrant.
2. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, and wine. Cook until smooth and bubbly. Turn heat to low. Simmer 15 – 20 minutes
3. Add dried herbs about five minutes before serving. Mix well. Don’t add too early in the process or you will lose the flavor.
4. Cook spaghetti in boiling water until desired tenderness. Note: olive oil and salt are unnecessary. If sticky pasta is a concern, before draining save a half-cup of the starchy water from the pasta water. Return the water to the pan with the drained spaghetti. The starch water will prevent sticking.
Sometimes I add fresh mushrooms and peppers as well. Cook them with the onion, if you do. Also, don’t over-salt the dish. The ingredients come loaded with sodium, so add more cautiously.
1 lb – Ground Beef (the leaner the better, no more than 10%)
.5 lb – Italian Sausage
.5 cup – onion, minced or finely chopped in food processor
.25 cup – Milk
.25 cup – Breadcrumbs
3 tbsp – Italian parsley, chopped
3 tbsp – Parmesan Cheese
1 tbsp – Garlic, minced
.25 tsp – Fresh ground pepper
1. Preheat oven to 400.
2. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Mix well.
3. Shape the mixture into 1-inch ball. Use a tablespoon to measure if needed.
4. Place the meatballs onto a broiler pan that has been sprayed or brushed with olive oil. The meatballs should be elevated in some way to allow the fat from them to drip below them.
5. Bake for 20-30 minutes until the meatballs are done. Check them after 20 minutes.
6. Serve with spaghetti and sauce.