Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti and meatballs is such a comfort food classic! The meatballs are made from ground beef and Italian sausage, served with a sauce with mushrooms, onions, basil, and Parmesan. Dig in!

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6

Ingredients

For the sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 chopped sweet yellow onion
  • 3 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1 cup very finely chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped cremini brown mushrooms
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans Italian plum tomatoes (San Marzano, if possible)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan-Romano cheese blend
  • Salt to taste (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1/4 cup red wine

For the meatballs:

  • 1 pound ground beef (at least 16% fat)
  • 1/2 pound fresh bulk Italian style pork sausage
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped basil
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cremini brown mushrooms
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan-Romano cheese blend
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Red wine

For the pasta:

  • 1 1/2 pounds dry 100% semolina spaghetti, thin spaghetti, or bucatini

Method

1 Prepare the sauce: Heat olive oil in 4 to 5 quart pot on medium-high heat. Add onions and cook for 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds longer or until fragrant.

Add the carrots and mushrooms, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste concentrate, stir to blend, and cook for a minute longer.

Add the canned tomatoes, basil, and parsley. Mash and stir the tomatoes with a potato masher until the sauce starts to thicken, about 5 minutes over medium high heat.

Reduce heat to low and simmer gently while preparing meatballs, stirring occasionally.

2 Form the meatballs: In a large bowl, mix by hand the beef, Italian sausage, basil, parsley, mushrooms, eggs, breadcrumbs, cheese, salt, and pepper. Do not over-mix or the meatballs will be tough.

Use small melon baller (or teaspoon) to form 1-inch round meatballs. Roll and compress into tight balls.

3 Brown the meatballs: In a separate wide, shallow pan, heat the olive oil on medium high heat. Brown meat balls on all sides, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Depending on pan size you may need to brown two batches of the meatballs. Cook them in a single layer; do not crowd the pan by stacking them.

Do not overcook the meatballs; they will continue to cook in the sauce. You just want to brown them on all sides. Towards the end of browning the meatballs, add a little bit of red wine to deglaze the pan.

4 Finish and simmer the sauce: Add the red wine to the sauce and stir in the cheese. Add salt to taste. Add meatballs and gently stir. Simmer the sauce and meatballs for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5 Cook the spaghetti: While the sauce is simmering, bring a large pot with 4 quarts of salted water in it to a boil (1 tablespoon of salt for every 2 quarts of water). When the water returns to a boil add the pasta to the pot.

Leave the pot uncovered while you cook the pasta on high heat with a vigorous boil. Put a timer on for 8 to 10 minutes, or according to package directions for al dente pasta (cooked but still a little firm). Drain.

6 Serve: To serve, place thin layer of sauce on plate, add pasta, add sauce and meatballs, and then sprinkle with grated Parmesan-Romano cheese.