Spaghetti and meatballs is practically a weekly event around here. Everybody in my family loves it, it requires no sides, and we always have leftovers for lunch the next day. I’m not crazy though. I don’t actually make spaghetti and meatballs every week. I only do that once every 3 months.
My husband and I usually take a morning on a weekend and make a huge batch of this for the freezer. The recipe below is from Rocco Dispirito’s mother, Nicolina, and is meant to be one meal. It’s the best recipe I’ve ever found and freezes beautifully for up to three months. I usually triple the sauce and quadruple the meatballs, so make sure you have a LARGE stockpot on hand if you decide to do this. One trip to Costco covers the meatballs, and then some. All leftover meat gets frozen in one pound increments for recipes like this Lasagna or this Super Skillet Pasta. Over the years I’ve made minor modifications and they can be found in brackets.
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
3 tbsps extra-virgin olive oil
2 28–ounce cans tomato puree (I puree whole tomatoes in my blender, San Marzano are the best)
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup chicken broth
2 1/2 cups water
1 tsp sugar
Crushed red pepper
In a 4-quart Dutch oven (large stock pot if multiplying recipe), cook the onion and garlic in hot oil over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes or until tender but not brown, stirring frequently. Stir in the tomato puree, crushed tomatoes and the tomato paste. Stir in the water, broth, sugar, and crushed red pepper. (Hold back a cup and a half of water if multiplying by three or it’s too thin). Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover; simmer 1 hour. Season to taste with salt and, if desired, additional crushed red pepper. Sauce should be thin,but not watery, and very smooth. Makes about 9 cups. (You can freeze marinara on it’s own without meatballs for use with pastas or with a Chicken or Veal Parmigiana recipe).
1/3 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup coarsely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, peeled
1/4 cup torn flat-leaf parsley
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 pound ground veal
1/3 cup plain dry bread crumbs (I use a combination of Panko and Italian bread crumbs, and I find you need a little more than called for, for it to stick properly)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
In a food processor, combine chicken stock, onion, and garlic. Process until pureed. In a large bowl, combine onion mixture, ground beef, ground pork, ground veal, eggs, bread crumbs, parsley, 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, 1 teaspoon salt, and crushed pepper. Using 1/4 cup mixture per meatball, form 12 meatballs. (Pleasantville note: 1/4 cup is WAY too big in my opinion. Use your hands and make them big, but not THAT big. About 2″ round is good). In a large skillet, cook meatballs (working in batches, if necessary in hot oil over medium heat 10 minutes, until browned, turning occasionally. Drop meatballs into hot marinara sauce, one at a time. Stir gently. Cover, simmer for 1 hour. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Serve meatballs and sauce over hot pasta. Sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Makes 6 servings. (I freeze different portions of this. I freeze a large one for company, most for meals for 4, a couple of meals for 2 and a couple of smaller one with less sauce, more meatballs for Meatballs Subs.)
Mmmmmmmeatballs! This mmmmmmmeal looks ammmmmmmazing!