Spaghetti with Meatballs


Since the days of Café Luna, I have been in search of the ultimate Meatball recipe. In Italy, food is very regional and in Tuscany, where I come from, we do not eat meatballs with pasta. To be exact, we have a meatball dish, but it is not eaten “with” the pasta, it is a Secondo Piatto and it is served without tomato sauce.  Meatballs with pasta is a traditional southern Italian dish.

Being in California for 20 years, I have come to appreciate that Americans love spaghetti with meatballs.  Recently, after looking up and down the country I finally found what I was looking for and here it is.

One note of caution: this is not a typical two minute sauce. Be prepared to spend at least one hour preparing the sauce. But what would be better time than the Christmas/New Year vacation to spend time cooking together in the kitchen!!

 For Meatballs

1 Pd Ground Beef

2 eggs

2 medium potatoes

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon thyme

1 garlic clove crushed

A pinch of nutmeg

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

2 cups of breadcrumbs

2 cups canola oil

For Tomato Sauce

1/2 cup good olive oil

2 garlic cloves crushed

1 cup of finely chopped parsley

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

1 can tomato sauce

1/2 teaspoon salt


Peel, cut and boil the potatoes. Transfer them in an medium bowl and mash them while still warm.

Add ground beef, Parmesan, thyme, garlic, nutmeg, salt and pepper.  Mix with your hands.

In a large plate pour breadcrumbs. Make 1 inch balls with the meat and roll in breadcrumbs until coated all around.

In a large deep pot pour the oil and fry a handful of meatballs at a time, for about 2 minutes making sure they are fried on all sides.

To make the sauce in another large pot pour olive oil, add garlic, parsley and pepper flakes, sauté for 2 minutes (being careful not to burn the garlic) add tomato sauce, salt and cook for 10 minutes. Add meatballs and cook for half hour.

Cook spaghetti al dente, drain, add pasta to the sauce, sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan and serve immediately.

Buon Appetito e Buon Anno.

Rima, Cook with your heart and… Happy New Year!!

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