We decided on having spaghetti and meatballs for our Valentines dinner about a week ago, and I have to admit that I had NO IDEA what I was getting myself into. I have never made authentic spaghetti and meatballs (or as close to authentic as this Midwest girl can get), so I was excited to find a recipe that I thought I would like. I settled on Ina Garten's recipe, staying fairly faithful to the recipe with the exception of swapping an extra half pound of ground pork for the veal. I know how veal is produced and I cannot eat it--I'm sorry, but it's just my opinion. So, here is Ina Garten's "Real Meatballs & Spaghetti" from Barefoot Contessa: Family Style.
1/2 pound ground veal (I substituted 1/2 pound ground pork for this, using an entire pound of pork for the recipe)
1/2 pound ground pork
1 pound ground beef (I used lean beef)
1 cup fresh white bread crumbs (about 3-4 slices, cut the crusts off)
1/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs (I used Italian seasoned bread crumbs)
2 TBSP chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsp kosher salt (I used only 1)
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 extra-large egg (I used a large egg), beaten
1 TBSP olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion (I used 1 large one)
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic (I used 2 small cloves)
1/2 cup red wine (I used Middle Sister--love that wine!)
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt (I omitted this)
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
Place all meatball ingredients in a large bowl, gently mix together. Add 3/4 cup warm water to the bowl, mixing lightly. Form the meat mixture into meatballs--I got 20. Meanwhile, pour equal amounts of olive oil and vegetable oil into a frying pan and heat up. When hot, add meatballs in batches, frying on all sides. Remove and drain on paper towels. Discard the oil, but do not scrape out pan.
Add olive oil to the same pan. Saute the onions until tender and translucent. Add garlic and cook for one more minute, then add wine and cook on high heat, scraping up all the brown bits in the pan. Cook for about 3 minutes, then stir in the tomatoes, parsley, salt and pepper.
Return the meatballs to the sauce, cover and simmer on the lowest head for 25-30 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through. I didn't have a lid to do this with, though, so I put it in in a 13x11 inch pan and baked it in the oven.
Serve over hot spaghetti and cover with fresh Parmesan cheese.
VERDICT: I liked the flavor of this, but would have preferred less garlic. Overall, a winner in my book.