Monday, July 18, 2011

Weeknight Spaghetti & Meatballs

Confession time.....for most of my life I was afraid to make spaghetti & meatballs. It's true, this is the type of shame I carry with me on a daily basis.

I think maybe I've been traumatized by all the stories I've heard about Italian Grandmothers lovingly toiling over huge pots of red gravy for hours; stirring, tasting, seasoning, etc. The truth is, if I made Italian wine in my basement or grew tomatoes for my sauce in my garden in Queens, I think I might feel the same way because sometimes it's about the process and the memories. Who can compete with that level of dedication?

However, I managed to overcome my fears and made some very delicious meatballs the other day. Sometimes it's the small victories in life. Not to brag or anything, but the sauce was so delicious that I may have been taking little spoonfuls everytime I passed through the kitchen for the rest of the night.....please don't judge me (even if I used my fingers a few times).

End result: I had a delicious dinner, my man had a delicious dinner, everyone wins, I'm so proud of myself! Huh, maybe the Grandmothers won't rise up and chase after me with wooden spoons after all!

*Bonus wine pairing recommendation: I enjoyed my spaghetti & meatballs with a nice glass of Chaddsford Winery Merican. We're kind of obsessed with the Chaddsford Winery and my man never misses an opportunity to show off his vintners club frequent buyer card.....because we're giant nerds and love that kind of thing. Not to worry though, there will be lots more babbling on about wine as get closer to our wedding in a Pennsylvania winery/bed & breakfast next year!

Spaghetti and Meatballs
1 lb ground meat
1 egg
¼ c. breadcrumbs
1 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. nutmeg
1 tbsp olive oil

1 shallot, chopped
¼ c. red wine
28 oz. crushed tomatoes with basil
 15 oz.  diced tomatoes
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp crushed red pepper
2 tsp. sugar
1.       Combine all meatball ingredients except for the olive oil in a large mixing bowl. Form the meat mixture into balls using your hands (it should make about 12 meatballs). Be careful that you don’t handle the meat too much because that will result in tough meatballs.
2.       Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven on the stovetop and brown the meatballs in the oil. Remove the meatballs to paper towel lined plate to drain.
3.       Reserve 1 tbsp of the oil and meat drippings in the dutch oven, add the shallots and cook until softened (about 5 minutes). Turn off the heat, add the wine to deglaze the pan and cook off the alcohol.
4.       Add the remaining ingredients to the pan along with the meatballs and simmer for approximately 30 minutes or until ready to serve.


  1. Actually it's the frequent buyers card. Only 6 more cases to get in the vintners club

  2. I made some homemade meatballs the other night and they came out a bit dry :-( My recipe was very similar to yours but I baked them at 350 for 30 minutes and then I let them sit for about 10 minutes. Where do you think I went wrong? Dry meatballs make me sad, haha.

  3. BTW, I have the same bamboo cutting board!

  4. @elbrooklyntaco: usually browning the meatballs instead of baking them helps to retain some of the tenderness. When I brown mine, I try to leave them a little bit pink in the center and let them cook the rest of the way in the sauce. Also, make sure you avoid handling the meat too much while your forming the meatballs. For some reason when you handle the meat too much (hehe, handle the meat) it makes the meatballs a bit tough.

    I totally love that cutting board! It was a gift a few years ago and I definitely abuse it but somehow it keeps coming back to life anyway...LOL!